NEW SLAVERY THEME PARK: HUMBLE TRIBUTE OR MONEY MAKER?

Wayne M. Gore - May 18, 2009
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A rather curious development project is currently under way in Badagry, Nigeria. Not only is it to become a multi-billion theme park commemorating former slaves, but also, will be dedicated to the Jackson Five.  Marlon Jackson, a former member of the world famous Jackson Five band and a brother to the legendary Michael Jackson has become associated with a rather curious development project. To commemorate all the slaves taken from its shores, a magnificent theme park is to be built in the port of Badagry, Nigeria. It is not to be an ordinary theme park though. The developer has revealed an intention to invest an incredible $ 3.4 billion into this project.The location is not just a randomly picked place. In fact, Badagry has been known as the major slave-trade port. Between 16th and 19th century, more than 10 million Africans were forced to leave their homes to be shipped away and enslaved for years. A replica of an old slave ship is to become part of the museum, which will be dedicated to a faithful portrayal of the slaves. African beats and sense for rhythm have had a massive influence on music, especially in the 20th century. This aspect is also celebrated in the museum, and part of the exhibition are holograms of the Jackson Five. Strangely enough, even though the project partially commemorates slavery in a humble and educational way – featuring exhibitions, a memorial, the slave ship, it is partially a luxurious resort. A golf course and multiple casinos as well as a five-star hotel will also become the major attractions here. The developer presents the Badagry Theme Park project as an attempt to raise awareness as well as attract those African Americans who wish to trace their roots and return to visit their homeland. As a secondary goal, the tourist flow is meant to increase massively in Nigeria, to some 1.4 million visitors in the first year only. The project critics point out that even though the cause seems noble, the theme park is about to become yet another money making business with no other objectives. Hopefully, the future months will reveal the real benefits of the theme park.

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