Slave Chambers
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Zanzibar's Dark Past: The Slave Market Memorial
My guide leads me underground into a dark, damp, stone-walled holding cell which, I am told, was reserved for women and children only. The atmosphere is oppressive and stifling and my mind wanders to imagine what these poor souls must have felt, in our not-so-distant past, as they were ushered, fearful, silent, and waiting to be auctioned. This is all that remains today of an original fifteen holding cells, a grim relic of the sordid East African slave trade. As I escape the chilling chamber where so many suffocated and starved, I surface outside and spot a memorial, erected in 1998, an unapologetic, sobering monument depicting four slaves wearing original neck collars and chains, their expressions beaten and devoid of hope at becoming nothing more than a commodity. I am told that the Anglican church was built, symbolically, on the site of the slave whipping post, where a slave’s value was determined by whether or not he cried out in pain. In my opinion, being accompanied by a quality official guide will really enrich your understanding of this incredible Zanzibari monument and bring it to life.
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