As African Americans descendants of the African Diaspora, how many of us are knowledgeable about our history, our heritage. Do you know where your family genes are derived from? Do you know the journey your DNA took to get here? Well thanks to the work of Dr. Lisa Aubrey, an Arizona State University professor and University of Yaounde Fulbright Scholar, and Alain Kenfack, an international journalist and magazine publisher, this information is closer than you think, as they have uncovered and revealed more telling evidence of the astonishing journey Africans took to impact this nation of ours.
Dr. Aubrey’s and Kenfack’s discoveries in Cameroon identified the remains of a port call Bimbia that played a key role in the Maafa, a Swahili term meaning “disaster” or “great tragedy”, otherwise known as the transatlantic slave trade. Many Africans were taken from Cameroon to over 30 different countries outside of Africa. Through DNA testing and traditional genealogical research, many people of African descent possess roots that trace their ancestry beyond slavery to Cameroon, including many in the Seattle area.
Aubrey and Kenfack are bringing a fascinating exhibition about Bimbia to Seattle this week. The exhibition, which will held Aug. 24 – 28 at First AME Church – 1522 E. Pike in Seattle, will shed light on this long forgotten site. The exhibition will include films, artifacts, images and research snapshots, listings of slave ships and their destinations and more.
The discovery of the enslavement site of Bimbia marks a new phase in the study of the history of the Maafa. It was Dr. Aubrey’s research that convinced the Cameroonian government that Bimbia did in fact exist as an embarkation site. They also now know that hundreds of European Slave ships forcibly whisked away Africans of various ethnic backgrounds from Bimbia, as well as embarked in Cameroon territory and shipped them as human cargo across the world.
Bimbia will be declared a National Cultural Heritage site by the Cameroonian government in 2017. Activist are hopeful that Bimbia will also become a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.
Mr. Jean Ndoumbe, a photographer and film documentarian, worked closely with Dr. Aubrey and Kenfack in producing Bimbia on film. One of his films, Journey to Bimbia, captures their recent trip to Bimbia.
The exhibit is made possible by First African Methodist Episcopal Church (Seattle), Sarah Allen Sisterhood (SAS), Women’s Ministry, Seattle Limbe (Cameroon) Sister City Association (SLSCA), the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) and other community entities.
For more information on this project and how you can contribute, visit the SLSCA website at www.seattlelimbe.org.