The Marina Project is a vast tourist and memorial complex. That currently constructed. In Ouida which is a town on the coast located in the Republic of Benin in West Africa. The country hopes to promote its tourism as a top tourist destination. For the Afro-descendant population who are part of the diaspora. The proximity of Nigeria with its 220 million potential visitors. Make the tranquil and compact Benin an ideal place to host large-scale tourist attractions.
The development of the waterfront situated in the former main slave port of Benin. Bight of Benin. In the region, more than two million slaves Africans left in the transatlantic slave trade. In it peak between the 1790s and the 1860s Ouida ruled by the Dahomey kingdom. Dahomey.
The new complex will feature an spa hotel as well as a life-size model. Of a slave ship the memorial garden. A market for craft as well as an indoor arena to host performances of vodun. Vodun a faith practiced in Benin as well as among descendants. Of slaves Africans across Africa, the US, Haiti and beyond.
Local Version Project
The popularity of the local version in The Hollywood movie The Woman King revealed. A significant interest in this historic period that often left out of the school curriculum.
The Marina Project could lead to an knowledge of transatlantic slavery. It also raises numerous questions. Its design and its scope it exemplifies the contested direction of the slave tourism. The sale of heritage could diminish the impact of the painful times. Culture as a spectacle created by the tourism industry usually received with disdain.
Anthropologists as well as well-travelled tourists often regard the concept of tourist dances. As particularly uncool in the words of US academic Edward M. Bruner. However an anthropologist friend of mine Paula Abron argues that heritage tourists could also be pilgrims. And their experiences with culture in commerce could be genuine and intimate. She states, Africa became a place of worship and commerce amazing, authentic and stunning.
The Marina Project also contested for a variety of reasons. There those who believe that the massive tourism could negatively impact. The area that known as a unique eco-system and biologic. The issue is that there is also the development of a massive beach resort. In the vicinity, called the d’Alene resort of Club Med.
There are numerous sites that are part of the slavery heritage in Benin. They range from European forts of Ouida to the palaces of royal royalty of the Kings from Abomey, Porto Novo and ALADI.
As an anthropologist that the current developments are on the fine line of balancing the need for education and memory with a shrewd commerce.
Slavery Education In Africa Project
The slave trade and slavery not adequately taught in the schools. In 1998 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) initiated its Transatlantic Slave Trade education project. Participating countries from West Africa like Ghana, Senegal and The Gambia helped address the problem.
In the beach of Ouida In the city of Ouida, the Door of No Return an arch made of bronze and concrete featuring poignant images of bound bodies of enslaved Africans. It’s among the most famous landmarks of the city and is only one of hundreds. The route between the market and the huge gate adorned with two dozen statues and symbolic stops in honor of the marches of the prisoners.
The UNESCO initiative part of the organization’s flagship Slave Route Project (renamed Routes of Enslaved Peoples), which launched in 1994 in Ouida. It spurred the creation of research projects aimed at researching slavery. It also triggered new memorials to trading in slaves and slavery across the continent and in the world beyond. In Benin it changed the landscape of memorials.
For instance for instance, for instance, the Da-Silva Museum in Porto Novo Benin, Benin’s capital city began operations in 1998. The private institution provides tools (exhibitions and documents, as well as spaces) for pupils in schools to study slavery. Its founder, Urban Karim-Elision da Silva, is an eminent Agudas, a member of the Afro-Brazilian community that is akin to the slave trade and ex-slave returnees.
New Memorials Emerging In A Complex Landscape
My last trip to Ouida during February of 2022 I was there in February 2022 and the Door of No Return and museum were under renovation. The sculptures removed and the road constructed. The museum will revived in the form of an International Museum for Memory and Slavery.
However, this Marina Project, next to the front door is the most stunning among the new projects. A video published by the government lists a number of the buildings. Their names Afro-Benin, Benin Afro-Brasilein, Benin, Caribes acknowledge the descendants of slaved Africans.
The new structures enhance an already complex (and sometimes controversial) policy of the country’s intricate involvement in the trade in slaves. Family members of slave traders and slave traders among descendants of those who enslaved. Their different memories and desires have resulted in different ways of commemorating the past.
Anthropologist C. Ciarcia cites two opposing stances. In Ouida the city where tourist infrastructures at the forefront in the city, forgiveness through the ritual of atonement and memorialization sought out publicly. In Abomey the former capital city of Dahomey and the slave-raiders stories are not as and less apologetic. For Anthropologist Anna Seiderer, the presence of vodun in particular is crucial for visitors who want to imagine and recreate their origins.
Tourism To The Slave Heritage Problems
Tourism based on the slave trade in Africa targets the desires of foreign visitors particularly descendants of enslaved Africans from North as well as South America and the Caribbean region. A number of UNESCO world heritage sites preserve these relics for tourists. Gore island (Senegal) as well as slavery castles (Ghana) as well as Stone Town (Tanzania). It is true that tourism development has always been a part of the slave route plan prior to UNESCO.
The latest developments of Ouida are highlighted on The Benin Revile a grand development program conceived by the president Patrice Talon. Some critics say that many of these projects could be white elephants utilized by only a handful of.
Another common complaint is that the new monuments, museums and other events are designed by foreign experts instead of local talent. The new sites are planned constructed, staged and built by a majority of French or Chinese engineers, architects, and curators.
The Marina Project is one of many initiatives that pay tribute to Benin’s history. Combining objectives of both memorial and commercial does not hinder their ability to impart knowledge about history or provide intimate experiences of remembrance. However, the trend towards luxury cultural consumption seems to be more troublesome.