Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Article excerpt

Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. By Manu Herbstein. First EReads publication, 2001 [self-published; available through Amazon.com]. Pp. 456. $21.95 paper.

Ama is a sweeping story of Africans caught up in the Atlantic slave trade. Grafted by Manu Herbstein, a native South African who has been a long-time resident of Ghana, the book is more carefully researched than some more widely acclaimed novels dealing with Africans in the Diaspora. Set in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the book tells the story of Ama, a girl from what is now northern Ghana who is kidnapped by a Dagomba raiding party and taken to the Asante capital of Kumasi, then to Elmina Castle on the coast and, eventually, to a slave plantation in Brazil. In her travels she is taken as a lover by a young Asantehene and, later by the Dutch director general of Elmina Castle. During the middle passage, Ama's story intersects with that of Tomba, whose adopted father was a great general of the Jalonke in the Futa Jalon who was defeated in battle and consequently fled to live his life as a hermit in the forest. Living a solitary existence, Tomba raids slave caravans for food and weapons. In time he gathers a group of escaped slaves around him and establishes his own settlement. …

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