Transition 114 - Featured Article
Castles: Slave Forts, Tourist Resorts, and the Burden of the Past
by Jonathan Roberts
The surreal, tragicomic tale of a British ex-pat whose dream is to convert a Ghanaian slave fort into a five-star resort, proving yet again that truth is stranger than fiction.
When Robert Fidler fixed his eyes on Fort Metal Cross, he saw an opportunity to rebuild it according to his own vision, without the "red tape" he had encountered in the UK. He applied to the government of Ghana for a twenty-year lease on the building, and, in 2001, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board gave him permission to begin his project. Fidler took up residence in the former District Officer's tower, furnishing it as a home and office for his contracting business in Ghana. Since then, Fidler has spent more than £20,000 renovating Fort Metal Cross. Fidler's stated goal has always been to enhance the site for tourists who want to visit what he calls a "British castle in West Africa." But initially, his plans were impeded by the fact that Africans, Ahanta-speaking folks from Dixcove, happened to be living on the heritage site.
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