“But rather than wish the memories aside, he uses them to inspire locals to work hard and defend their freedoms. In 1822, the main racial groups used slaves to work in plantations in the Indian Ocean islands. Arabs were the main traders. Mr Mohammed says at the peak of slavery, help was out of the way of Africans.
There was very little the captives could do. This was because their very own African rulers sold prisoners taken in battle to the Arabs, who made fortunes from the trade,” he told The Standard, with a tinge of disappointment in his receding voice.
Caravans started out from Bagamoyo on the mainland coast, travelling as much as 1,000 miles on foot to as far as Lake Tanganyika, buying slaves from local rulers. The slaves were chained together and used to carry ivory back to Bagamoyo.
Slaves, who survived the long trek from the inland, were crammed into dhows bound for Zanzibar, and paraded for sale like cattle at the Slave Market.
The name Bagamoyo means ‘lay down your heart’ because it was here that slaves would abandon hope of freedom.