The Gambia River; of slave islands and desolate creeks

The Gambia River was calm as we motored against the tide towards James Island. Dolphins followed along the boat in the heat, and the river was so wide we could barely make out the land on both sides. In the afternoon we anchored in lee of the tiny island, which is the place from where the slaves were shipped out from the Gambia. The island has been renamed to Kunta Kinteh Island, named after the main character in the famous “Roots” novel by Alex Haley. According to the novel, Kunta Kinteh lived in the village Jufureh on the north bank of the Gambia River not far from the island, and was sold as a slave from the island. Despite of the fact that the historic accuracy of the novel has long ago been disproved, the Jufureh village are now making good money from the tourists by arranging “Kunta Kinteh history tours”, and for example presenting the visitors to the last living descendant of Kunta Kinteh. Can’t really blame them, it’s a cool story either way. Continue reading