Black Gold of the Sun: Searching for Home in Africa and Beyond
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At the age of thirty-three, Ekow Eshun—born in London to African-born parents—travels to Ghana in search of his roots. He goes from Accra, Ghana’s cosmopolitan capital city, to the storied slave forts of Elmina, and on to the historic warrior kingdom of Asante. During his journey, Eshun uncovers a long-held secret about his lineage that will compel him to question everything he knows about himself and where he comes from. From the London suburbs of his childhood to the twenty-first century African metropolis, Eshun’s is a moving chronicle of one man’s search for home, and of the pleasures and pitfalls of fashioning an identity in these vibrant contemporary worlds.
reached out to snatch it back. Maybe it was the eagerness of that action or the glint of triumph on my face, but something made him hold on to the report. He peered closer at it and frowned. Then he held it up to the bulb, exposing the shadow of the original grades. My mouth turned dry. I couldn’t move. Downstairs, I was aware of a Road Runner cartoon playing on television. A police car raced by outside with its siren on. My father looked down at me. ‘So,’ he said. ‘I see.’ And that was it.
to the company in Holland, arguing that a wife would help secure him against ‘the seductions of Satan’. It took two years for him to receive a reply. In 1745 a young red-haired woman named Antonia Ginderos arrived on a ship from The Hague. She announced herself as Capitein’s fiancée. Without his knowledge, the West India Company had arranged a bride for the vicar. Although they’d never previously met the couple were married at the castle by de Petersen shortly after her arrival. In a letter of
belonged, why come to a country where I’d lived for only a few years as a kid? Perhaps because the truth of a place doesn’t lie in the minutiae of childhood so much as in understanding the hold that the past maintains over the present. Going home is easy. The hard part is what happens after you arrive. The wild spree of Horace de Graft Johnson – Escaping the past – Death and marriage on the Gold Coast – Great-uncle Nana Banyin – The two sons of Joseph de Graft – The Negro Prince of Prussia
the arc lights, the roof of a parked car stood open. A group of the women was dancing to the music uncoiling from its radio. As I rode by in Kobby’s car I spied them for a frozen moment. With almost unbearable poignancy, their levity struck me as belonging to another, more benign place, quite distant from the forecourt and the gaze of the pimps who stood in the shadows, regarding them with contempt. As we ascended the hill the street became darker and more still. We passed a scattering of
the chariot race in Ben Hur, the flaming ship taking Tony Curtis to Valhalla at the end of The Vikings and Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, borne into Rome on a golden sphinx. As it rose from her bed, Esi’s voice was grave. She talked about the pictures as if she’d lived through ancient times and was recalling now those former years. As if she’d already seen too much at ten years old. ‘When we first went back to Ghana Mum and Dad took us to see a fortune-teller,’ said Esi. ‘He was an old man with