Sunday, 19 June 2011

Two Elmina fishermen

Today I prepared entries I6599 and I6600 to the Gold Coast DataBase, completing another set of 100 individuals. It seemed fitting to pay the two men behind the entry numbers hommage. Not because they are historically significant individuals, but rather because they are ordinary men who represent the Longue Durée of Elmina history.

Through their occupation and their death they are representative of the history of Elmina as a whole, and do they remind us of the economic basis of the town throughout the ages - fishery - and the personal and social perils so closely connected with that industry.

Kwamena Esson and Kudjo Koem were both (canoe) fishermen, the first from the small village of Ampenyi, several kilometres west of Elmina, and the latter from Elmina town. Both drowned off the coast of Elmina, during their work, only a day apart. From the registration in the Dutch death register it is unclear if it concerned two separate incidents, or whether we are dealing with one accident - a capsized canoe? - with both men on board, but the bodies found on two consecutive days.