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AfroFest founder explores his roots


Thaddy Ulzen, AfroFest co-founder and the original host of CKLN's Sounds of Africa, recently realised a great dream with the opening of the Elmina Java Museum in Ghana. The museum in Elmina is a gift of the Ulzen family from Ghana. Manus Ulzen was amongst the first Africans to volunteer to serve in the Dutch East Indies Army in 1832. He was wounded in fighting and returned to Elmina. But the Ulzens go back even further. Dutch historian Ineke van Kessel has managed to trace the Ulzen family back to Jan Ulsen who left Holland in 1731.

Ten generations later, Thad Manus Ulzen, now living in North Carolina, USA, wants to ensure that the story that wedded the fate of Elmina with the Dutch and the Ashanti kingdom will never be forgotten. The museum is a philanthropical endeavour that will support tourism and educational projects. The proceeds, the family feels, should be given back to the people of Elmina, where the story started.

For a full report including the Radio Nederlands audio go to www.rnw.nl/holland/index.html

At the opening of the Elmina-Java Museum on 15 February 2003 Manu Herbstein signed copies of his novel, Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade . Ama won the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Best First Book Prize. This was the first time in its 14-year history that this prize had been awarded to a writer from Africa. Part of the story is set in Elmina.
companion web-site: www.ama.africatoday.com

 

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