Melania Trump became emotional as she visited a 17th Century slave trading outpost in Ghana on Wednesday on the second day of her solo tour of Africa.
The First Lady arrived at Cape Coast Castle in the early afternoon after a two-and-half hour drive from the capital Accra where she stayed on Tuesday night.
First, she sought permission to tour the UNESCO site from the local Fante tribe whose young members gave her a warm reception.
She then spent around an hour at the castle, touring its dungeons and walking through the sacred ‘Door of No Return’ which thousands of slaves passed through in the 1800s before boarding cargo ships which ferried them across the Atlantic.
Speaking after the visit, Melania said she it was a ‘very emotional’ experience.
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First Lady Melania Trump hugs a young member of the Fante tribe as she seeks permission to visit the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, a former slave trading outpost, on Wednesday morning
Melania spent around an hour at the castle which was used in the 18th Century as a slave trading outpost. She was somber as she toured the site and described it afterwards as a ‘very emotional’ experience
‘I will never forget (the) incredible experience and the stories I heard.
‘The dungeons that I saw, it’s really something that people should see and experience,’ she said.
For 10 minutes, she stood in what was used as a cramped dungeon to keep male slaves before they were ferried over the Atlantic.
Dressed down in a pair of slacks, a $595 Veronica Beard military jacket and a pair of $50 Zara faux-snakeskin loafers, she was somber as she walked through the crumbling site.
Before going to the castle, Melania sought permission for the visit from chiefs of the local Fante tribe. She was more dressed up for their meeting in a pair of pointed stilettos and with a thick brown leather belt around her $595 jacket
A young member of the tribe presents the First Lady with a bouquet of local flowers before she leaves for the castle tour
The coastal castle is one of dozens that was used along West Africa’s Gold Coast to house and then trade slaves across the Atlantic in the 1800s. The First Lady was given a private tour on Wednesday morning
President Obama visited the castle in 2009 and said it was an example of the evil humans are capable of.
It was originally built by Dutch and Swedish tradesman but was captured by the British in 1664.
At any given time, 1500 slaves were held in horrifying conditions inside. Men and women were held in separate dungeons, crammed in by the hundreds with nowhere to go to the bathroom or get fresh air.
They spent between six and 12 weeks in the castle before being shipped to ‘the new world’.
Obama and other former US presidents also visited Elmina Castle, another of the slave trading outposts and what is considered Ghana’s official ‘Door of No Return’.
Melania and museum director Kwesi Essel-Blankson tour the castle on Wednesday morning
The museum director points out a grave in the courtyard of the castle as the pair continue their tour
Melania and museum director Kwesi Essel-Blankson talk at the ‘door of no return’ on Wednesday. The First Lady described it as a ‘special place’
The door is what slaves used to walk through to board boats to be taken onto cargo ships and ferried out of Africa to work for white slave masters overseas
The First Lady was given a tour by museum educator Kwesi Essel-Blankson. She described the visit as ‘very emotional’
The First Lady lays a wreath at the castle during her visit on Wednesday morning
The First Lady takes a moment to reflect in front of a wreath at the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana on Wednesday morning
Melania signed the visitor book before leaving the castle. She spent an hour at the site in total
Melania, who has so far spent her time in Africa visiting children in schools and hospital patients, added that it was a ‘special place’.
Melania wore a pair of $50 Zara faux python loafers for the castle visit after changing out of a pair of high heels
Her visit to Ghana has not been met with the same enthusiasm as Obama’s was in 2009.
Locals said on Tuesday that ‘you wouldn’t know’ about Melania’s trip unless you were ‘following the news’ whereas residents packed the streets and stood on rooftops to catch a glimpse of Obama – ‘the son of Africa’ – nine years ago during his visit.
‘The interest is very, very muted and subdued.
‘There are a lot of people (in Ghana) who are extremely indifferent about this visit,’ political commentator Etse Sikanku told AFP.
With Obama, he said ‘it was like a big party, everybody was into it, people stood on rooftops, everybody wanted to see Barack Obama, the son of Africa.’
Melania described the castle as ‘something that people should see and experience’. The site was where slaves were held before being shipped out of Africa
During the visit, she also met members of the local Fante tribe. She is pictured touring the castle with museum director Kwesi Essel-Blankson
The castle is now protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site and been drawing high profile visitors, including President Obama who visited during his presidency in 2009, for years
The First Lady dressed down for the occasion in some beige pants, a khaki jacket and a pair of $50 Zara faux snakeskin loafers
African security officials lined the walls of the fort on Wednesday morning as the First Lady toured it
Melania’s trip is to promote her Be Best campaign and reiterate the US’s commitment to distributing aid in Africa.
Her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said on Tuesday: ‘[Melania] is hoping to visit the countries to learn what their challenges are, and also see where the US is having a positive impact or results.
‘To that end, our office has been working closely with USAID [the United States Agency for International Development] and each stop will focus on one or more projects they have been working on within each country.
‘The visits will include stops having to do with education, healthcare, some conservation and tourism–and as with all that she does through her initiative Be Best, the well-being of children will be her focus.’
She will return to Washington DC on October 7.
President Obama is pictured visiting the same site in 2009 with his family during his presidency. Locals said there was more excitement about his visit to Ghana than there has been for Melania’s