Light shed on West African museum project

Guest speaker advocates devolopment of the Ghana National Museum of Slavery, cultural importance

By Jason Sykes, Staff Writer

Humanities professor Fritz Pointer switched up his usual class curriculum on Oct. 14 to do something that could have an impact on the world.

Guest speaker Alan Dones, CEO and managing partner of Strategic Urban Development Alliance, LLC, shed light on his recent project to help develop the Ghana National Museum of Slavery in Africa.

The project involves 15 West African countries and is geared toward the preservation of many ancient artifacts, documents and the accurate interpretation of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade.

“This is a chance for us to tell our journey,” Dones said. The museum will tell stories of the past through more than just artifacts and will include educational videos and traditional music selections.

The development of the museum is going to take about 10 years, he said, and the overall production of the entire project is estimated to cost $200 million.

Dones said actors like Danny Glover are doing voice-overs that will be telling the stories at each audiovisual station within the museum. President Obama and his family have visited the site of the museum.

Along the celebrities who are participating is the Google Earth department that is mapping out what each part of the building is going to look like. Also, the Chinese government is donating $17 million to the construction process, Dones said.

He said he wants to “educate the younger population” and wants to allow all people to know that our cultures go everywhere because they travel with us. This will be the first museum containing  more than just the African-American side of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, he said.

The museum is going to have more than the traditional facts and is going to talk about how people of all colors were brought along as well. It will even mention the European ship builders that were brought along just because they were driving. The museum would be with us for hundreds of years, he said.

Dones’ company has been involved in many different projects such as the Oracle Arena in Oakland, among other things.

The government of Ghana approached the CEO and his company and asked him to contribute and use his skills to help develop the museum.

Although the construction of the museum will take roughly a decade, it is an important project in the making.

“There will be no wasted time,” Dones said.

It will educate everyone around the world and it makes a difference because it is in Africa, the Cradle of Life where the majority of people came from, he said.