Mrs Trump makes emotional visit to Cape Coast Castle

BY: Kate Baba Hudson
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, the Omanhen of the Oguaa Traditional Area, presenting a gift to Mrs Melania Trump. Picture: Emmanuel Quaye
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, the Omanhen of the Oguaa Traditional Area, presenting a gift to Mrs Melania Trump. Picture: Emmanuel Quaye

The second and final day of US First Lady’s visit to Ghana was marked with an historic and emotional tour of a former slave trading fort in Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana.

Mrs Melania Trump, who is on a maiden solo tour of Africa promoting her children’s welfare programme, said she “will never forget” her visit, calling it “very emotional” and “really something that people should see and experience”.

She said the "dungeon is really something that people should see and experience" and "what happened so many years ago is really a tragedy".

The highlight yesterday was her tour of Cape Coast Castle, a major outpost on the Atlantic slave trading route.

She first paid a courtesy visit to a local traditional ruler, Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, meeting him in Obama Hall, named after former US President Barack Obama.

After being shown around the castle and given a history lesson about it, Mrs Trump said: "It's very emotional. I will never forget [the] incredible experience and the stories that I heard."

Meanwhile, Kate Baaba Hudson reports from Cape Coast that before she was led to the castle, the Omanhen had told her that she would come face to face with what some human beings did to their fellow human beings many years ago.

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Mrs Trump, who was accorded a warm welcome to Cape Coast, told the Omanhen that she was very happy to be in Ghana and to be able to visit Cape Coast.

“Thank you very much for the warm reception given me,” she stated.

Significant visit

Osabarima Atta described the visit of the First Lady to Ghana and Cape Coast in particular as very significant, wonderful, impressive and colourful.

He said a visit to the area by no less a person than the wife of the President of the USA made the people feel very important.

The feeling, he said, came with a certain responsibility and the people would live up to that in various ways.

Present at the palace were other chiefs of the Oguaa Traditional Area, as well as some queenmothers dressed in very colourful Kente.

Mrs Trump was there to officially announce her presence in Cape Coast and seek permission to visit the Cape Coast Castle.

She was accompanied by staff from the White House in Washington and the US Embassy in Accra.

Osabarima Atta told the US First Lady that the people of Cape Coast were mainly fishermen and peasant farmers.

Education and tourism

Osabarima Atta noted that Cape Coast was the cradle of education in Ghana and also attracted many tourists, who usually wished to visit the castle.

“We are very happy to have you visit us. We are sure this will be a memorable visit and we hope you’ll come back to Cape Coast,” the Omanhen stated.

He commended the staff of the US Embassy for their cooperation in preparations towards her visit.

Talking to journalists after the meeting, the Omanhen said the people were committed to improving sanitation in the area.

“I am happy to announce that the issue of sanitation in Cape Coast, which has attracted media headlines in recent times, is being addressed,” he said.

Regional Minister

In his remarks, the Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, said Ghana was honoured with the visit by the US First Lady.

He noted that the visit underlined the deep bond of friendship between Ghana and the USA.

“The people of Cape Coast feel proud that you are here and this will go down in history that a US First Lady once visited Ghana and called on the Oguaa Chief and his people,” the minister said.

The visit

In attendance were the Anglican Bishop of Cape Coast, Bishop Victor Atta-Baffoe; the Queenmother, Nana Ekua Nyaniba I; the Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Madam Sharon Cromer; the Deputy Central Regional Minister, Mr Adjei Baffoe, and the Oguaa Tufuhen, Nana Kwame Edu VI.

The police were there in their numbers to ensure security, while there were also personnel from the American Secret Service.

On arrival, the First Lady was presented with a bouquet by seven-year-old Afia Boakye-Yiadom of the University of Cape Coast Primary School.

There were cultural performances by the Apam Kor Cultural Troupe.