Salaga Slave Market is a place deep in the heart of the Northern Region of Ghana where
few ever make it, but it is here where a slave’s journey truly began. If the source of slavery is ever to be totally understood, then we must admit the truth in the words of W. E. B. Du Bois, “Most men today cannot conceive of a freedom that does not involve somebody’s slavery.”One hundred and twenty kilometers to the southwest of Tamale is Salaga, the capital of the Gonja East District which used to be the biggest slave-trading center in Northern Ghana.
READ ALSO: Top 10 tourist sites in Ghana
The original slave market was moved south from Salaga to a settlement called Kafaba. Unfortunately, much of Kafaba is now under the Volta Lake. Salaga Slave Market has a pond called “Wonkan bawa” (a Huasa word meaning “the bathing place of slave”) and a young Baobab tree in what used to be the Slave Market. This existing Baobab is a replacement for an original tree to which slaves were chained and displayed as wares for sale.
Merchants from farther north and the forest regions of the south would come and barter salt, cola nuts, cowries, gold, and Europeans drinks for slaves. This historical market presently doubles as a public transportation terminal.
Salaga Slave Market was an international trade center and had seven other markets. Wells, which served as water supply sources for the township, and the large migrant trader population and relics such as slave chains can also be found in Salaga. Slave dormitories and other transit housing have been demolished and replaced with new residential dwellings. The chains and other related artifacts are in private possession of some residents and there are few sites of the slave market available to visitors.