Since I met Joseph Opala and Amadu Massaly in 2006, when I was first really introduced to Bunce Island in Sierra Leone, efforts to preserve and stabilize its Slave Castle has become one of my passions. As I learned more about its history during the slave trade, I also got to learn about the connection between Sierra Leone and the Low Country of the United States, centered in South Carolina and Georgia.
In January 2017, as Director of Building for Gedeon GRC Consulting, I got the opportunity to go to Bunce Island to do a structural re-assessment of the Slave Castle. In addition to this Rupture Marketing accompanied me to Sierra Leone to film and take drone images of the island and areas in Freetown. We worked closely with the Monuments and Relics Commission (MRC), the statutory body responsible for overseeing all historic sites in the country.
Ms. Isatu Smith, Chair of the MRC was invited to a workshop in Charleston between February 28 and March 4 and so it was an ideal opportunity for me to also visit Charleston and research more about the connection between Sierra Leone and South Carolina.
Arriving in Charleston, the first port of call was Sullivan’s Island, where ships carrying enslaved Africans were moored and a medical doctor would leave from to board the ships to check for diseases and the health of those onboard. If any of the enslaved Africans were found to have any ailment, they were quarantined in “Pest Houses” on the Island.