Diplomatic Corps in Ghana visits the rehabilitated Ussher Fort Slave Museum and Documentary Centre in Accra
On July 5th 2021, shortly after the inauguration of the Ussher Fort Slave Museum and Documentary Centre in Accra, the Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Claudia Turbay Quintero, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) and the UNESCO Office in Accra organized a visit for the Diplomatic Corps to the museum that had been rehabilitated with support from the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust (NFIT) and UNESCO.
Besides the UNESCO Representative and Head of Office in Ghana, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo and the Acting Executive Director of GMMB, Mr. Ivor Agyeman-Duah, the guided tour of the Ussher Fort Slavery Museum was attended by several members of the Diplomatic Corps, including the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Claudia Turbay Quintero; Kenyan High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Eliphas Barine; Ambassador of Lebanon to Ghana, H.E Maher Kheir; Namibian High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Selma Ashipala-Musavyi; South African High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Grace Jeanet Mason; U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Stephanie S. Sullivan and husband Mr. John Sullivan; Zambian High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Richard Mwanza; British High Commissioner Designate to Ghana, H.E. Harriet Thompson; Acting Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Gambo Yusuf Hamza; Charge d’Affaires of the Canadian High Commission to Ghana, Madam Annika Allman; Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Libya to Ghana, Mr. Mohamed M.O. Melad; Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Zimbabwe to Ghana, Mr. Eddison Sithole; Third Secretary at the Turkish Embassy, Madam Şeyda Nur Ergün; and the Assistant to the Head of Mission of the Embassy of Peru to Ghana, Madam Sherrita Obema Nartey.
In his statement, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, declared that the visit was historical and stressed the need for solidarity and shared responsibility among the countries in safeguarding outstanding properties such as Ussher Fort, one of 28 components of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions. The Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Claudia Turbay Quintero seized the opportunity to congratulate GMMB on the successful inauguration and proposed the agency to open up for more elaborate guided tours of all the components of the serially listed property that would allow more visitors to learn about their turbulent history. Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo went on to explain that UNESCO welcomes the sustainable adaptive reuse of world heritage sites that bring new meaning without negatively impacting the Outstanding Universal Value.
The Acting Executive Director of GMMB, Mr. Ivor Agyeman-Duah thanked both UNESCO and the Netherlands for their support with the rehabilitation and restoration of the Fort’s museum which had been in urgent need of repair. He also extended his gratitude to the Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Claudia Turbay Quintero for mobilizing the visit of the Diplomatic Corps.
Ussher Fort has a rich history of having been a trade post, slave dungeon, a police post and a prison. It was also used for military detention and a refugee camp for both Liberians and South Sudanese in 2005. It was later transformed into a museum of slavery that was temporarily closed in 2014. Today, the museum allows visitors to learn about a dark chapter in the history of the European-African encounters. It was first opened in 2007 by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture with support from UNESCO and aims to highlight the history of the transatlantic slave trade in Ghana until the British abolition of slavery in 1833. The collection is varied and includes items once used by captors on victims. There are weapons, African household items and a model of the St. George’s d’Elmina Castle. The museum also contains paintings of key abolition figures such as Harriet Tubman.