Routes of no Return? CCAF visits the Dahomey Kingdom
Having recorded a successful outing with the first edition of Africa Memorial Day 2022 (AMD2022) on African soil, Correct Connect Africa Foundation (CCAF) is already preparing for the 2023 edition. The theme for AMD2023 is The Routes of No Return. The routes of no return reflect the different doors of no return that marked the history of the Slave Trade in Africa and West Africa in particular. The theme has a double significance, first is the historical doors of no return, Goree Island in Senegal, Elmina Castle in Ghana, Quidah in the Republic of Benin, and Gberefu Island at Badagary in Nigeria, which has become ideological; and the second meaning resides on the resolve we have made as a people not to return to these routes.
In line with the preparation for AMD2023, representatives of Correct Connect Africa Foundation (CCAF) embarked on a seven-day educational trip to the Republic of Benin. The idea is to bring CCAF members to a direct consciousness of the reality of the Slave Trade, a dark era in African history. Quidah in the ancient Dahomey kingdom represented a location of note in the history of the Slave Trade in West Africa. Quidah is the town where the Door of No Return situates. It means when the Slaves go through the door, they can never return to the slave dungeon. They are either shipped to Europe or America.
Quidah was a suitable starting point to initiate preparation for AMD2023 with the theme: Routes of No Return.
Apart from the Port of No Return at Quidah, we visited other intriguing cultural sites like the Python Temple in Port Novo, the Royal Palace in Aladah, the Underground Villages in Agongointo, and the Royal Palaces in Abomey; all sparked with scintillating histories of the once Dahomey Kingdom. We crowned the visit with the art exhibition at the Presidential Villa in Cotonou.
The appreciation and preservation of the cultural heritage of the Beninese people reflect in different aspects of their modern life.
The infusion of traditional and religious beliefs goes side by side.
We could observe the high esteem the Beninese accord to the preservation of their cultural and traditional beliefs and the celebration by the Beninese artists in paintings, sculptural works and music.
As we work towards actualising the theme for AMD2023, CCAF members must stimulate their minds with new knowledge about their Continent. The awareness of who we are as Africans would enable CCAF members to create the right mindset in preparing for AMD2023. The acknowledgement and appreciation of our cultural heritage would ignite hope for a progressive future equipped with knowledge of our cultural heritage from a global perspective.
The experience spiked an awakening, establishing in the mind of CCAF members the reality of who we are as Africans, kings and queens of the motherland.