Maison des Esclaves
Barack Obama visited la Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves) in 2013. His predecessor, George W Bush, did the same in 2003 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Situated on Ile Gorée, an island 3km (1.86mi) off Dakar’s southern tip, a visit to this pastel-coloured museum is almost a rite of passage for dignitaries and tourists alike. That’s because la Maison des Esclaves is the last remaining slave house (of around 30) on an island that UNESCO claims was “the largest slave trading centre on the African coast” between the 15th and 19th centuries. Built in the 1700s, it has been preserved to show the brutal barbarism of the slave trade. The cramped squalid conditions in which its forced inmates were kept. The chains that bound necks, ankles and feet. The gut-wrenching tools that dished out punishment. And the infamous Door of No Return from which an estimated 20 million Africans said goodbye to their homeland. Quite simply, the museum is a blunt, uncensored look into one of mankind’s greatest tragedies.