The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has organized tree planting exercise at Pikworo Slave Camp in Paga in the Upper East region as part of activities to mark this year’s emancipation day.
This year’s celebration, which is on the theme; “Emancipation, our Heritage our Strength” and a Sub-theme; “Leveraging our Resilience: Black Lives Matter”, seeks to bring back memories of the obnoxious slave trade that happened 400 years ago.
Mr Henry Yeleduor, the Regional Director of Ghana Tourism Authority, said the exercise was being carried out across the country under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in collaboration with Metropolitan and District Assemblies and the Forestry Commission in place of the usual enactment of crossing of River Pra, which was held annually at Assin Praso in the Central Region.
He said his office chose Pikworo Slave Camp because of its historical relation to slave trade, “we are told Paga was one of the main camps in the Upper East Region from where captives were being transferred to Salaga, a major slave trade market.”
“Apart from beautifying the tourists’ site, the trees will also serve as a memorial for the times we could not go about with our normal activities due to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus,” he added.
Mr Yeleduor said other activities to mark the day would include; Reverential night at Cape Coast Castle and healing ceremony at Assin Manso.
Mr Agyemang Dominic, the Forest Range Manager in charge of the Kassena Nankana West District, commended GTA for incorporating tree planting exercise as part of activities to celebrate the emancipation day.
He said prior to the exercise, his outfit studied the terrain and recommended some tree spices such as; Mahogany, Teak, Cassia, Papoa, Terminilia and Cashew that would be suitable for the environment.
Mr Aaron Azumah, Interim Site manager for Pikworo Slave Camp, commended Ghana Tourism Authority for the project, saying it was long overdue.
He said the Pikworo slave camp attracted close to 500 tourists in a month but had no infrastructure hence making the place unfriendly to people with disabilities.
Mr Azumah appealed to government for infrastructural development, especially a museum to help preserve the relics for historical purposes.
The Pikworo Slave Camp located three kilometers to the West of Paga Nania, was founded in the year 1704 and closed down in 1845 when slave trade was abolished.
It was originally established to serve as a slave transit, where slaves were auctioned and later resold in a major market in Salaga in the then Northern Region.
The facility, which serves as one of the major tourists’ attractions in the Upper East region, features trees, where slaves were shackled, bowls carved on rocks for their feeding, with their source of water flowing from a spring.
Other interesting features include; the slaves’ cemetery, the watchtower and the punishment rock, where recalcitrant slaves were punished.