Goree Island

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Goree - The Island of Memories

There are a few websites that I found that give excellent descriptions of Goree Island and the history of the slave trade in the Senegal region of West Africa. Please visit them for more information: http://www.au-senegal.com/decouvrir_en/geo_goree.php and http://webworld.unesco.org/goree/.


In the actual Slave House on Goree Island, there is an old man who is a part of history himself. He is the Conservator of the museum in the Slave House. We have heard many times of African Griots, keepers of the history, who tell the stories from one generation to another. Well Babacar Joseph Ndiaye, is one such man; a famous decorated soldier and the “oral guard of the history” of the Slave House of Goree. Please visit this site for an indepth profile of this fascinating man, who gives such an emotional account of the history of this house. I will definitely be working to add the video I took of him to this website.   http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.afrik.com/article9804.html&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=3&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dboubacar%2Bjoseph%2Bndiaye%26hl%3Den

Update: Mr. Ndiaye died in 2009. Evidently he became severely ill and some people who knew this took up a collection to help with his hospital bills. But I will always remember meeting this great man, and spending just a few minutes with him in "his" world, as his goal in life was simply to protect the history...tell the stories...and help us to remember.

It's just 4 miles off the coast of Dakar

A beautiful, picturesque island

Quiet, peaceful, a place to contemplate life and love (there's my love, Pierre)


A memorial has been built here.

Classic tourist!

At first sight of this huge cannon, it was clear this was not your regular tourist attraction.

Quietly nestled among the beautiful views, the artist's huts, the quiet vistas, were remnants of a brutal and violent past.

But actually these were used for good, when the French and British took over to stop the slave trade.

The island is also home to many people, several schools, a beautiful church, many artists, and of course tourists.

Here is the famous conservator and commemorated soldier, Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye. It was an honor to meet him and get this picture.

There were many pictures and posters in the museum, this one in honor of Mr. Ndiaye.

Then we began going through the rooms of the Slave House. The slaves were herded onto boats at Dakar and shuttled over to island, just 4 miles away. Here they awaited the ships that would take them to America or the West Indies

These next pictures show the cells the slaves were kept in. This one had just this little slit in the back for a window.

Most had no windows at all.

Some were very small, but I'm sure the people were packed in like sardines.

These were all for adults.

The entrance to this cell is marked "Enfants" (children), with a handwritten note designating it for "the innocent children". Others have added more personal notes.

Some cells had bars over little windows that faced out into the entry area.

This was for either more children or the young girls.

This is the cell for the children.

I wish now I had not gotten into this picture. Everyone wanted to just stand here for a few minutes.

And here was yet another one.

Mr. Ndiaye has written this which essentially means, From this door for a voyage without return they went. This doorway is known as being the gate of the trip from which no one returned.

What you can't see is off in the distance beyond the water is Dakar's shoreline. After the boats picked the slaves up from Dakar, they dropped them here and they were herded through this doorway. This was essentially one of their last views of their homeland, and the beginning of their nightmarish journey.

This one is written in what we here in the US might describe as a "slave"-type, broken English dialect. Click on it to enlarge it and as you start to read, you'll recognize this very familiar passage.

Then we went upstairs to the rooms where the keepers stayed. The area is now another part of the museum that has some artifacts, historical information, and displays like this one, a poem in French about slavery.

Outside the slave house, this sculpture has been erected to symbolize the breaking of the chains that held a race of people.

This one seems to be describing some of the resistance and sabatage to the slave trade.

Along with this plaque. The sculpture is called "The Liberation from Slavery".