Sierra Leone was the mid-point of ‘Amistad’ schooner historic 14-month voyage dubbed the Atlantic Freedom Tour and with the mission achieved, the boat left over the weekend for Dakar, Senegal.
In Senegal, Amistad will join in an international remembrance event with the people of Goree Island, Dakar.
Amistad will briefly call at the historic islands of Cape Verde before beginning its return transatlantic crossing along the route of the infamous middle passage.
Since the schooner left its home port in New Haven, Connecticut in the US, in June, the boat made its first transatlantic crossing from Halifax, Nova Scotia to England, calling on the ports of Liverpool, Bristol and London as part of an official commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in the former British Empire.
After stops in Lisbon, Portugal and the Canary Islands, the Amistad majestically sailed into Freetown harbour in December, where it was welcomed by thousands to see an international symbol of freedom and justice touching on the shores of Sierra Leone, the homeland of the original Amistad captives and the place many returned after their slave ordeal.
As it docked at Sierra Leone’s Government Wharf, thousands visited the ship, many of them young school children from Freetown educational institutions and the city’s outlying towns, where the story of Amistad is recognized in songs and art as a part of national folklore and pride.
The historic competition of the final leg of the voyage will come with the arrival of the boat in Barbados.
The Amistad’s crew and student’s crew and students will conduct programmes and as part of the international programmes to convey the rich heritage and culture of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora.