6 June 2019

Cameroon: 'I Am Very Impressed'

interview

Prof. Milton Guran, Anthropologist from the Federal University of Fluminense in Brazil.

Could you state the objective of your visit to the Bimbia Slave Trade Village?

I was invited by Cameroon government with the support of Brazilian government to share our experience and expertise in world patrimony. We just succeeded in classifying the most important place at the other side. The place where slaved Africans arrived in America which is call Cape de Vallongue walls in Rio de Janerio. I think that something between 500 thousand and one million enslaved Africans got into Brazil through this Vallongue Walls. I am very impressed about this Bimbia Slave Trade Village and this is the most completed site of slave trade memory I have seen in Africa. May be Mozambique is so important. There are also more important sites like Gold Coast, Gole etc. These are very big constructions from Europeans but here in Bimbia it is a unique African site.

There are so many qualities that this slave trade village has that make it stand out. Could you give one quality that makes it different from others in Africa?

I have been to Benin, Ghana, Angola, Senegal but I never find something like this. With the ruins here we can feel how strong and big the slave activities were. I am sure that archaeological research will reveal very important information about the slave trade and memory. We have seen the ships that went to Brazil and we have more than half the population which is Afro Brazilian. We are talking about 110 million people with a lot of Cameroonians there. This is very strong for a Brazilian like me.

What is that one strong message that you will tell the world as you leave this place?

The strongest message is that slave trade is a crime against humanity and it is still going on. It is not finish. The slaving of Africans to Americans is finished. But there is more into slaving now. There are women, children and workers slavery which is still ongoing in the world. This is why it is very important to classify Bimbia as a memory place, a world heritage. It will help everybody to never forget that slave trafficking is a crime to humanity.

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