Save the house of slaves from ruin!

It is simply more than two centuries of history that is being disappeared before our eyes and powerlessly!

Cape in this folder to this tourist site, emblematic place, charged with emotion where, between 1830 and1852, our ancestors were conveyed like sardines, towards the other side of the Atlantic, on behalf of the slave trade.

"Unfortunately, today, this house is suffering like a grandmother abandoned by her children and grandchildren, it is in total ruin, and if we don’t take care, it will disappear in a few years", said the guides, immersed in deep sadness.

On the site, only some vestiges still testify of this long and moving slave history.

The story of the house told by the guides

The slaves house of Agbodrafo built around the 1830s by the Portuguese slavers stretches over an area of 21.60m long and 9.95m wide. It contains 6 bedrooms, a living room and a corridor to three sides (east, west, south) and 1.5m high.

The site was used at the time to accommodate slaves before boarding. It could hold up to 100 slaves in the basement under the foundation. Everything went into total secrecy because it was the time when voices rose for the abolition of slavery.

Some slavers were not ready to put an end to this traffic on the west coast, so they built this house in the middle of a large forest 1.5km from the coast. At the time, British ships crisscrossed the coast to fight and stop the slave ships that continued in the trade.

The house of slaves being lost in the forest, escaped the control of the British overseers. The procedure was so simple! The slave traders went to the far north of Togo to buy slaves in Tchamba, Sokode, Atakpame, Notse, Tado and in the Mono Valley etc.

The slaves bought were grouped together in a market called Blokotissime behind Lake Togo in the village of Dekpo where trade was carried out.

The slaves were then brought back to Woold Home and passed on all fours through the openings at the bottom of the foundation to access the cellar which was about 1.5m high, corresponding to the hold of the boat.

In this position, the slave traders already taught the slaves how, they were going to stay in the boat during the long journey.

The slavers lived so well. Back from the purchases, they settled in their room upstairs, the bed well erected. The slaves themselves slept on the floor without a mat or blanket, still chained. In the night, the slavers made the choice of some female slaves in the cellar to sexually abuse them.

Thus, after several days in the cellar waiting for the arrival of the boat, the slave traders brought out the slaves for the last bath around a well today called GATO-VOUDO or "Chained Well" in the village called Nimagna near from the city of Lome.

There, they forced the slaves to walk seven times around the well, so as to forget the way to the house even if they wanted to run away. After this stage, they were then recovered in the rowboats and brought back in the boat for the final destination.

On January 1, 1952, the British Crown had demanded the signing of the Abolition Treaty and after the signing of the Treaty in Lagos, Nigeria, it had sent abolition rod to all the kings on the coast.

According to the testimonies, Togo received three rods for the kingdom of Glidji, the locality of Goumoukope and the city of Porto-Seguro (Agbodrafo). Porto-Seguro, meaning safe harbor, was the name these human merchants from Portugal had given to the locality as soon as they arrived because they felt at peace.

The rehabilitation, an imperative!

This house, formerly located more than 1.5 km far from the coast, is today face to face with the ocean. Right now, it is estimated less than 300m from the coast due to galloping coastal erosion.

"We are simply caling to the government and all good will to come quickly to bring a restorative hand to save this house from daily ruin and coastal erosion. The disappearance of this house would be a detriment not only for Togo but also for all Africa", say residents.

Some of the resource people interviewed said that all the initiatives taken so far for the rehabilitation of the site have never resulted because of lack of resources.

The government has no doubt realized the condition of the building whose rehabilitation is urgent. The Togolese Minister of Culture and Tourism Kossivi Egbetonyo has also mentioned this week with Antonio Carlos Menezes de salles, the ambassador of Brazil in Togo.

Brazil wishes in particular to support the rehabilitation of this Afro-Brazilian architecture building. Normal, because, built (1830-1835) by Portuguese slavers.

In a note from Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs entitled "Agouda Architecture in Benin and Togo", Brazil intends to rehabilitate old villas, walls and porticoes in both countries.

"These are certainly the most visible elements of the important historical and social phenomenon that made the return to the West Coast of Africa of a few thousand Africans and their descendants after a long stay in Brazil. A patrimony that unites Brazil and Africa in a permanent and moving way", written in the document.

"Once restored, the villas will make cities more beautiful and more attractive to visitors, boosting urban life and the economy, and a virtuous circle will be created in which the collective interest in conservation will ensure the preservation of the historical memory, by offering a better quality of life to the citizens of today and to future generations", added the Ministry of External Relations of Brazil.

Like other tourist sites abandoned, the government has to do much to mobilize the necessary resources for their rehabilitation. This is for duty to remembrance, but also for the economy because tourism remains a sector that attracts major currencies to finance the development of states.

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