Discover Africa's Caribbean Connection
by Muguette Goufrani
I've traveled to the sunny Caribbean on several occasions, most recently via American Airlines with a team representing National Geographic and other US and Canadian media. A few years before that, I was completely fascinated by the culture and climate of Martinique and Guadeloupe, where I spent more than a month. Having lived and worked in West Africa as a Travel Agent, I have always been impressed by the cultural similarities between the peoples of those islands and several West African countries, such as Benin, Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire. The historic ties between the Caribbean and Africa are well known, and growing stronger thanks to improved travel links and widening opportunities. As an active member of the Francophone Community, I had an unforegettable vacation in Martinique and Guadeloupe (details on that later).
~ Conserving the Essence of African Culture and History ~
HAMILTON, BERMUDA, March 25, 2002. Captured and dispersed by the advent of transatlantic slavery, Africans managed to retain their traditions and reform their identities in a new world. In celebration of the role played in shaping Bermuda's history, the Ministry of Tourism has launched The African Diaspora Heritage Trail. Free brochures are available for this self-guided tour highlighting sites of historical and cultural significance. Whether it's the sound of drumming and high-pitched whistles that herald the Gombeys, or the stone blocks that constructed the first organized church for Free Blacks and slaves, these sites provide valuable insight into our history.
For more information, contact CTO at the following locations.
Create in the marketplace a greater awareness and understanding of Caribbean tourism.
Create a greater public awareness and understanding of tourism by host countries.
Develop the highest level of skills and professionalism in the personnel serving the Caribbean in tourism and tourism related areas.
Design and develop a comprehensive tourism information system.
Ensure a harmonious interaction between tourism and the social and natural environment.
Give special support to those countries not able to represent themselves.
Foster close links with regional institutions and international donor agencies.
Develop a capacity to assist members in defining and responding to any tourism related need.
Service, retain and expand the membership of CTO.
Develop the strongest possible linkage between the tourism sector and other economic sectors, for example, agriculture, manufacturing and services of all kinds. More than just pink-sand beaches and turquoise waters, Bermuda is a mecca for travelers seeking enriching travel experiences. The African Diaspora Heritage Trail guides vacationers through historic sites linked with the development and progress of people of African descent in Bermuda. A special commemorative plaque to preserve the historical significance of the location is marking each site, and a special brochure has been produced to guide visitors.
Thirteen sites have been identified including the site of the slave ship Enterprise incident which like the similar, better-known Amistad affair, involved the rescuing of slaves seeking refuge and freedom; the historic Slave Graveyard at St. Peter's Church (circa 1612), both located in St. George's (UNESCO's newest World Heritage Site); the Crow Lane site of the execution of Sally Bassett, slave revolt leader; sites associated with Mary Prince, the Bermudian slave who wrote the first account of slavery actually authored by a slave, which played a key role in the struggle to abolish slavery; and Cobb's Hill Wesleyan Methodist Church, built by slaves by moonlight. For more information on the African Diaspora Heritage Trail, visit www.africandiasporaheritagetrail.com.