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SCARIFICATION AND TATTOOING IN BENIN: THE BÉTAMARRIBÉ TRIBE OF THE ATAKORA MOUNTAINS | | LARS KRUTAK
Surf pounding the Slave Coast of Ouidah The Python Temple of Ouidah THE YEAR IS 1680, and massive surf is pounding the beach shore at the bustling African slave port of Ouidah. A fleet of European ships waits offshore for thousands of newly captured slaves that have just been sold at the auction block under the "Tree of Forgetting." Having been branded, chained, and gagged by their new owners, the captives are ordered to circle the Tree several times to erase any and all memories of their homelands, families, and previous identities. An overseer cracks his whip, and each slave is led into the darkness of a cramped holding cell near the beach that for many will be their last memory of Africa. Between 1680 and 1880, this scene played itself out almost every day in Ouidah, the capital of Africa's "Slave Coast." The voyage from Africa to the Americas was called the "Middle Passage" and on average approximately 15% of the human cargo died en route. A typical crossing lasted somewhere