An encounter with Anago at Seriki Abass Slave Museum
TOUR Guide is not a layman’s job, it is an art that requires good knowledge and understanding, just like every other person in their fields, tour guides are also professionals. What distinguishes a professional tour guide from a quack who only finds himself in the job because of survival is easily noticed, via his approach, disposition, charisma and even the appearance. A recent encounter with James Anago Osho at the Brazilian Baracoon in Badagry reveals him as one of the few professional tour guides in Nigeria who is proficient in the job through passion and determination to do better
To Anago , “all these things and especially the contributions of my father who always forced me and my brothers to read history and story books in our quest for knowledge about African history, Culture and tradition made me to develop more than passing interest in this act.” Anago Osho, a middle-aged man is many in one; he is a creative artist, historian, tour guide, drummer, dancer, artisan, writer and all these entire he does excellently. In Badagry , Anago is always there sharing his experience and educating people especially on African peoples, culture and history whenever the opportunities beckons. One is not sure whether Anago studied tour guide and history in school, but it is obvious from his approach and explanation, that he has mastered the modern technique of conducting tour and tourists.
To him, his love for the job is borne out of the zeal to inform the world the truth about African countries and people and at the same time change the mindset of the whites especially the western world on their “obnoxious views and perception about Africans’ history and culture.” Telling us who is a tour guide, Anago said “a tour guide is an ambassador who should relate with tourist in a manner that ginger interest in them and also do everything politely to satisfy their curiosity. The way I approach people is to make everybody happy and enthusiastic about what they came for, the relationship between a tour guide and tourist must create an impression throughout the stay and a memorable experience.
“All tourists are the same, but it is important for a tour guide to study and observe what really interest a particular client. A tour guide must be psychological in his approach and sociological in briefing. He must take into cognisance the feelings of his clients.” Conducting Tribune Tourism Magazine round the Seriki Ifaremi Abass Williams National Museum popularly called Brazilian Baracoon, Anago painstakingly explained in details, the historical background of Seriki Abass, how he was captured, sold, gained freedom and established a slave camp where captured slaves were kept before being sold to the slave masters especially Portuguese.
“Seriki Abass according to him was born in Joga Orile in Ilaro district, Ogun State. A Dhaomian who named him Abass and later sold him to another slave trader who changed his name to Williams captured him. “Williams made him a domestic slave in Brazil and this gave him the opportunity to learn how to speak and write English, Dutch and Spanish. “His ability to communicate in these languages coupled with his local language (Yoruba) gave him an edge over other slaves so he was returned to Nigeria where he was empowered to help his masters in the slave business, which he did successfully during his lifetime. “He first settled at Ofin, Isale Eko and later moved to Badagry, upon his return to Badagry, Seriki Ifaremi Abass usurped the power from the aborigines and dominated the area because of his influence and wealth, which he had acquired and became the paramount ruler of the community in 1895.
“In order to expand his business, frontiers Seriki Abass also founded Ayetoro and later Idogho. “Seriki Ifaremi William Abass was of great influence during the era, he married 28 wives with 144 children and lived in a compound with about 40 rooms and different sections, in his compound were rooms with small windows where slaves were kept before onward transmission to foreign lands. Anago explained and displayed how Nigerians were tied and subjected to inhuman treatment and sufferings during the unholy period which left one with a deep thought and a feelings for the lost souls who were helpless during the period. The descriptive expression and explanations painted clear picture of the event that transpired during the period.
Climax was reached when he showed an old, tattered and giant umbrella, which he said was collected in exchange of 40 hefty slaves, Brazilian plate, tea mugs for 10 slaves, Gin bottle for five slaves, Mirror for 10 slaves and above depending on the size. In addition, many other household items, which were used in exchange for human beings during the dark moment in the history of the blacks race were on displayed. Seriki Abass, an accomplished slave trader was made the senior, in 1914; he was also made the paramount ruler of Western Yorubaland with Egba Corridor by the British and died on June 11, 1919. He was buried in a Brazilian styled mausoleum built in the compound, part of which has been acquired by the National Commission for Museum and Monument (NCMM), but nothing serious to show the presence of the Federal Government at the place apart from the big signboard that shows something existed around the place.
Chief Wasiu Abass one of the great grandsons of Seriki Abass who domicile in the compound said, “the government is not ready to do anything to develop this site as a tourist centre, sometimes ago during the era of President Olusegun Obasanjo some representatives came here to see things for themselves. “They promised to transform this place, but nothing is being done and as you can see what we are having here is a sole effort of the family through. We will not leave this place for government without any concrete arrangement for relocation and compensation”. To Anago, “whatever the situation, we have a monument here and a unique historical one for that matter. We have testimonies, articles and objects of past horrid activities of a race against another race during the dark period in the annals of Blackman history. We should not allow this to rut and ruin. We should make the best of it.”
Zambia, a serene country situated in the southern part of Africa, boasts of historical sites, wildlife and Victoria Falls, which is regarded as the seventh wonder of the world. Funke Olaode was there and recounts her experience. The Zambians were still basking in the euphoria of the country’s 50th independence anniversary when our plane touched down on Wednesday, July 23, in Lusaka for the 3rd African Women’s Economic Summit organized by Graca Machel Trust in collaboration with African Development Bank. It was the country’s winter period, the breeze that blew relentlessly ushered everyone into the beautiful city.
Zambia is the home of the world heritage site, the Victoria Falls and the country is also home to about 12 million people with two million people residing in the capital city, Lusaka. Lusaka is predominantly a civil service state with a few corporate organisations such as banks and telecommunication companies. Zambia is regarded as one of the most beautiful, friendly, diverse and unspoilt countries on the African continent. Aside from the majestic Victoria Falls, Zambia has more natural water resources than any other southern African country, including a myriad of other falls dotted across the country. The many National Parks offer great opportunities for observing Africa’s plains game and their attendant predators, whilst bustling urban areas offer a taste of eclectic Zambian culture.
With her tourist sites, a first time visitor would like to have a glimpse of its magnificent sites ranging from the Victoria Falls, game reserves, the National Museum, Kawata Village, one of the largest markets where hand crafts are made ranging from jewellery, bags made with Ankara, artifacts, wood armchair and so on. The hustling and bustling of Kamalla local market to get a feel of how the locals make livelihood with a lot of hard work and entrepreneurship is also a sight to behold.
According to Katarina Leravica, a media consultant and a Yugoslavian who was born and raised in Zambia, Zambian is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world not because of Victoria Falls or its wildlife but because of the people. “Zambians are warm people and friendly. If you look at Zambia on the map, it always looks like a smile in the middle of Africa; generous, kind, community driven. I love and I’m proud to say I am Zambian.”
The Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is about 500 kilometers away from Lusaka. It is the one of the tourist sites that puts Zambia on the global map as the Seventh Wonder of the world. The Falls present a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Named after Queen Victoria and located between Zambia and Zimbabwe boundary, it was discovered by a Scottish missionary and explorer, David Livingstone in 1855. It is incredible and it is something that everybody that has opportunity should visit and see and hear the magnitude of the nature of Africa.
Zambia National Park
Zambia has one of the most wonderful game reserves in the world. The reserve is about seven hours by road and less than two hours by flight to the capital city. This park provides pristine sanctuary to a wide variety of wildlife, and boast of some of the best game viewing opportunities in the world. From the North and South Parks on the hippo and croc-infested Luangwa River and to the wide expanse of the Lower Zambezi. South Luangwa National Park in Eastern Zambia Luangwa River, is a world-renowned wildlife haven. It supports large populations of Thornicroft’s giraffe and herds of elephant and buffalo often several hundred strong, while the Luangwa River supports abundant crocodiles and hippopotamuses. It is one of the best-known national parks in Africa for walking safaris.
Founded as a game reserve in 1938, it became a national park in 1972. The reserve is surrounded with beautiful chalets that make tourists feel like home. There are lots of animals such buffalos, elephants and lions. The most interesting thing about that park is that you can be in the middle of the game park and see animals grazing or seeing antelope coming to your chalet or lions moving around. It is quite incredible.
The National Museum
Lusaka National Museum which started as a national political museum is now a cultural history institution specializing in ethnography and art, archaeology and history. Located on Presidential Avenue in Lusaka, it was commissioned by President Titus Chiluba and officially opened its doors to the public on October 25, 1996. The Museum is like a mini archive that gives an insight to the Zambia of old before modernisation. The Museum has two galleries, one on the ground floor of the museum building and the other on the upper floor of the building. The lower gallery is a temporary exhibition space in which temporary exhibitions on various themes and contemporary art are exhibited. The upper floor tells Zambia’s history and development from its prehistoric past to its contemporary way of life. Here, is a village square which designs focus on Zambian lifestyle, their root, where they are coming from before modernization. The purpose of the village square according to the tour guide is to teach people and also promoting traditional root.
In Zambian culture, parents don’t communicate with their children in those days because it is believed to be a taboo. The elderly people communicate with their children through folk tale. The upper gallery also hosts children’s corner through which the museum introduces the young Zambian’s heritage through various practical educational activities. Also, there is Nachikufu Café which was discovered to have been used by the bush man in the Northern Zambia in those days.
One thing a tourist cannot miss outside the massive National Museum is a gigantic statue. Called Anti-Retroviral man, it was erected in memory of Winstone Zulu, a young Zambian man who was the first to declare his HIV status in 1989. He was a young bright man and was selected to study Political Science in Russia. At that time, HIV was considered a death sentence and therefore, could not go for studies. Instead of hiding his status, he went on television, radio and travelled all over the world telling his story. In his memory, Art4Art was inspired by individuals like Zulu, who proved that it is possible to be on treatment and lead a fruitful life. Furthermore, Art4Art through anti-retroviral man aims to encourage people living with HIV that not all hope is lost. With my latest adventure, I found out that for lovers of nature, Zambia is a must visit country.