Atorkor Slave Monument (Atorkor, Ghana)
Transatlantic Slave Trade
The memorial is located in the coastal Ghanaian district of Anlo, once known for its substantial involvement in the slave trade. A high-walled circular enclosure with a small wooden door, which serves as a narrow entrance, leads the viewer to the central feature of the memorial: a life-size sculptural group of a tall European slave-trader brandishing a whip over two kneeling African figures. The African figures, dressed in traditional garb, are chained at the neck. The interior walls of the monument are embellished with a narrative frieze illustrating a popular local legend. The narrative frieze of the memorial tells the story of a popular white trader who lived in Atorkor (a small village located in the district of Anlo): As the story goes: “One day, the Trader announced a dancing competition for the best dancers and drummers amongst the youth on his ship. The best dancer in the village was a beautiful young girl, but her parents forbade her from attending the party, as she had not completed her chores for the day. All the other young people in the village went to the dancing competition on the boat, where they were plied with rum before being shackled and sold into slavery.” As artist and educator Senam Okudzeto notes, “There are many versions of the story. This particular one corresponds with the official government version and was sourced from a website put up by the present chief of Atorkor, Samuel Adjorlorlo, who runs the Atorkor Development Foundation (ADF), an NGO for the development of the region” (see bibliographic citation).