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Poku on Ashanti Role in Slave Trade


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Poku on Ashanti Role in Slave Trade (length: 1 min 10 sec)
At the court of the Asantehene (Ashanti king) in Ghana, Gates interviews Oheneba Adusei Poku, the Asantehene's son as he explains the Ashanti role in the transatlantic slave trade. Read Transcript

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Video Transcript

OHENEBA: The whole slavery episode was an unfortunate error in the history of Africa, and for that matter of Ashanti. I would say it depleted the human resources of the empire, what perhaps the empire could have achieved, you know, was lost through this trade, you know. So much as we, as I said, do have regrets, you know, that error in our history, you know, perhaps it was a sign of the times and we couldn't have done otherwise.

GATES: But do you think the Africans understood how horrible the Transatlantic slave trade was?

OHENEBA: No, no, no, no. I mean, I don't think they knew. I mean if they had known, you know, known about the horrible stories that is going through when they were being transported, not only from (Maquist), but through the Transatlantic, through (Gorea) and then the Trans-Atlantic route from the States, I don't think they would have continued doing it, you know. I mean, besides there was no means of knowing, you know, the brutalities that they underwent.

GATES: Perhaps the people round the castles might have seen how horrible it was.

OHENEBA: Yes, they might have seen some aspect of it, but those of us, who were in the interior, you know, had no means of knowing, you know, except through a few stories here and there, you know. But if they had known I'm sure that they wouldn't have continued doing it.

GATES: It's hard to, to turn down such a huge source of profit. You know the motivation of human beings

OHENEBA: Well that's it, that's the human factor in trading, the profitability of it. But it's happened and now I think most people are very sorry that it had happened, you know, naturally, yes.

GATES: Especially the slaves.

OHENEBA: Well, hope so. Yes. Yes.

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