Gberefu Island Badagry; A Beautiful Island With a Dark History
Gberefu Island is located in the Badagry area of Lagos state south-west coast of Nigeria. Gberefu Island is a beautiful coastal settlement with green luscious vegetation, tall coconut trees, and a beautiful sandy beach. Hidden beneath the beautiful Gberefu Island is a dark history, a history that tells of the many misfortunate Africans who left the shores of this continent to a faraway land never to return home.
Gberefu Island is nature’s beauty, but behind the beauty of this island lies an ugly past. This island was once a slavers bay and a sailing point where thousands of black Africans were shipped out. Those who have appreciable knowledge of history about the trans-Atlantic slave would know the importance of this island.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, hundreds of European ships would arrive and berth at the coastal shores of the Island. This was the period of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. During this time of flourishing slave trade, Gberefu island was the gateway where thousands of Africans most around the Bright of Benin were transported in chains out of Africa to the new world (American Sugar plantation) never to return to their homeland again.
The Journey to the New World
The island was a major slave port in Bight of Benin, it is reported that many Africans were transported out of African via this port. Many lost their lives during the journey to the New World. The journey was never comfortable as these Africans were packed together in tight ship spaces with little or no food and water for the journey that takes months. Those who died en route to the New world were thrown into the sea to become food for the creatures of the sea.
While those who survive this gruesome journey are sold on arrival at various ports in the New World (New indies and the American.) where they are made to work in various plantations.
A visit to Gberefu Island
A visit to Gberefu island takes you on a journey to the past to have a feel of what Africans went through during the period of the slave trade. On arrival in Badagry, the first stop to the island is the Seriki Faremi Williams Abass slave museum. The Museum houses prison cells and torture instruments. Visitors are taking around the slave cell by a curator, who tells the importance of the Island and how Africans went through a horrendous journey.
After a stroll around the Abass Faremi Williams Museum, visitors proceed to the boat jetty, from here, visitors board boats for a 15minutes boat ride to the Island, following the same route which takes them straight to Gberefu island. On arrival on the Islands jetty, visitors would follow the same path as the Africans who were shipped out. There are insinuations that if you listen carefully you can still hear the screaming and weeping of Africans as they went through this journey of horror. This walk leads you straight to the Well of Attenuation.
It is believed that a drink from the Well of Attenuation would wipe out the memory of the Africans, and they forget about their homeland and family. After a drink from the Well of Attenuation, they are marched to the coastal beach known as The Point of No Return to be packed into waiting ships, which take them to faraway foreign land across the Atlantic.