“From the Slave Dungeons of Cape Coast”


A Nigerian Presbyterian Reflects on the Global Slave Trade

Elmina - Door to dungeon where recalcitrant men were kept without food and water

[ezcol_1half]What madness
Extreme inhumanity
Not accidental
Not mere mistake
Planned and executed
In utter wickedness.

Humans turned into goods
Packed in tins
Stored in darkness
Without sunshine
Without rain
Utter insensitivity.

Sorting of sorts
The weak and the strong
To utilities
Without a voice
Without a will
Utter shamelessness.

Persons without hope
No sense of smell
No need for sight
Day and night alike
All dead to pain
Pain of body and soul
Utter wastefulness.

No sight for sign
No feelings for touch
Differences in language
Varieties of people
Yet sharing as one
In utter painfulness.

Something better than life
Better than hopelessness
A futureless morrow[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]A never forgotten past
A welcoming death
Buried in certainty.

Everyone is quiet
Some in indifference
Others in ignorance
Or wrapped in pretense
Or covered in religion
Endless sufferings

Ruthless rape
Of the bodies
Of the minds
Ripping off dignity
Stealing humanness
Until nothing is left.

And for what?
Want of money?
For more money?
Or simply selfishness
Condemnations of yesterday
Colours of slavery today.

Say a prayer
Commit to change
Take an action
In memory of our ancestors
Who passed through living death
Through the Slave Dungeons of Cape Coast
Into the misery of a new world.

Jessie Fubara-Manuel
Cape Coast, Ghana
(WARC Assembly)
August 3, 2004[/ezcol_1half_end]


Author Jessie Fubara-Manuel
Author Jessie Fubara-Manuel

AUTHOR BIO: Jessie Fubara-Manuel is the secretary of the Tumekutana Gathering of Reformed Women in Africa. She is a poet, an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, and a human resources consultant. She has worked with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA) programme.

Used with the author’s permission. Originally published in:

Fubara-Manuel, Jessie. Besides the Water Brooks: Poetic Reflections from the Heart.
Calabar: PresbyPress. 2008.

Read also: Janet Guyer’s reflection on visiting the Elmina Castle during the Tumekutana Gathering in 2015.

Read more articles in this issue Call to Confession: Race, White Privilege and the Church!

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