The Diaspora Have Returned to Tasso Island

“In the 1680s and 1690’s Tasso Island, along with James Island at the mouth of the Gambia River and York Island close to Sherbro, formed the three slaving stations for the Royal African Company.” (Tasso Project 2022) When visiting Sierra Leone, there is much known about Bunce Island due to its popular history. In this article, I strive to remind the reader of the importance and historical importance of Tasso Island, its diaspora, and those that live on Tasso Island today. “Although Bunce Island was to become the long-term British stronghold, Tasso Island remained its principal plantation and factory due to its greater size and opportunities for producing agricultural and other produce.” (Tasso Project 2022)

Tasso Island, a mile west of Bunce Island; provided pure water to the British traders of nearby Bunce Island from the natural spring located near Oku Town. In addition to water, the British also used Tasso Island for their farming. They grew rice, citrus, and many other foods on the island before taking them to Bunce. (Opala, 2007)

Today there are approximately 5000 Temne people living on Tasso Island, yet the Island itself has not changed much, like its neighbor Bunce Island, Tasso Island feels as though it is stuck in history.

Resources Cited:

Opala, Joseph (2007) ‘Bunce Island: A British Slave Castle in Sierra Leone (Historical Summary)’ in DeCorse (2007).

Tasso Ecotourism Project. (2022).

Classrooms lack proper flooring, walls, or even desks. The island lacks electricity, clean water, or proper facilities for relieving one’s self; yet the people are friendly and welcoming.

Completing our visit to Tasso Island in the Spring of 2022, my group of Temne friends and I, also diaspora of Sierra Leone were reminded, ” don’t forget us”, ” we are one”, this is your home, we are your people. Goats were slaughtered and trees were planted as a symbol of our return and rebirth.

The Tasso Collective is dedicated to using our skills, talents, expertise, and resources to help empower our people in our home village of Tasso Island. We are one, this is our home. Tasso Island is in need of very basic necessities to lead a healthy, clean and modest life. As a collective we are working project by project, well by well, school by school, to empower our people, and honor our ancestors.

I implore you to support Tasso Island, support Tasso Island Collectives. Unlike the history of other slave trade locations in West Africa, Tasso has a direct connection to North America and the Americans of African descent taken from Sierra Leone.

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