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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pikworo Slave Camp



 While in Paga we took a slightly more sombre excursion and visited the once-was Pikworo Slave Camp. At 8 cedi’s entry per volunteer it is well worth visiting and learning about if you’re in the area.

Our guide, demonstrating Punishment Rock
During the early 19th Century several hundred slaves were kept at Pikworo before travelling to Salaga market to be sold by infamous slave raiders Babatu and Samori. We were taken around the ruins of the camp; we saw the watch tower, the graveyard and the punishment rock – our guide demonstrated how each area would have been used. A captured slave on the punishment rock would have had their hands and feet tied and forced to face the sun with no water or food, often being whipped; they were often left there to die if they had argued against being sold. 


The "bowls" slaves were forced to eat from
While researching the Feok Festival for our project we have heard a lot of stories regarding Babatu’s reign and final defeat but seeing the real life slave camps made the stories and our interest a lot more real. We saw the holes in the ground that were dug by slaves as punishment and then they were forced to eat out of these, often 5 or 6 slaves per hole – they were never given quite enough food to make them strong enough to resist.  




On a lighter note, we also visited their “entertainment centre” where rock drumming, singing and dancing took place – our rendition of “the lion sleeps tonight” seemed to go down quite well with the local children who accompanied us on our tour although, the locals’ music played on these rocks was impressive – different size rocks beat against different sides of the rocks created different sounds.



- Poppy

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