Skip to main content

tv   Empire and Me  BBC News  July 16, 2022 1:30pm-2:01pm BST

1:30 pm
the met office to cover parts of england during monday and tuesday. it is a fairly extensive area, as well, that is at risk of seeing potentially temperatures up to a0 degrees, stretching from london all the way up towards manchester and leeds. on top of that, we have an amber extreme heat warning for the whole of england, wales, and also parts of southern scotland, as well. now, it does look likely that that heat is going to continue to push up from europe. in western europe, we have seen temperatures way above the average for the time of year. in spain and portugal, we have seen temperatures peaking in the mid—40s, that will push its way a little further north across the uk on monday into tuesday. for the here and now, we have got some cloud around across scotland and northern ireland. this cloud will be thick enough sunlight, patchy rain to the north—west of the great glen and part of northern ireland as we go through the day to day. elsewhere,
1:31 pm
it is right settled and sunny, so those temperatures are going to start to climb through the afternoon. not quite as one further north and west with the cloud, perhaps temperatures are generally around the high teens, elsewhere because he temperatures peaking into the high 20s. as we move through saturday night into the early hours of sunday morning, we keep those clear skies across england and wales. those weather fronts continue to drift away steadily eastwards, and so that does mean that first thing in the morning we will have some rain to clear away through eastern scotland, and also to the north—east of the pennines, as well. a rather grey, gloomy start here, but eventually brightening up into the afternoon. elsewhere it is all about the dry, settled and increasing heat that we are likely to experience. some places because see temperatures into the low 30s, that is into the 90s in of fahrenheit.
1:32 pm
it is monday when the extreme really threatens. the potential to have a significant impact on our infrastructure and other lifestyle, with temperatures at around a0 degrees. tuesday will be another very hot day, increasingly humid, as well. that could trigger some thundery breakdown on wednesday, once that happens, it will be a little fresher. hello this is bbc news. the headlines: fires continue to burn out of control as parts of france, portugal and spain endure record breaking temperatures. thousands of people are evacuated from their homes. the uk government will host an emergency cobra meeting later today after the first national heatwave emergency was declared in the uk. the race for conservative party leader — and next prime minister — continues as the five remaining candidates battle it out in the first tv debate. president biden tells mohammed bin salman — saudi arabia's crown prince — that he holds him personally responsible for the murder of the dissident journalist jamal khashoggi.
1:33 pm
politicians in sri lanka begin the process of choosing a new president after mass protests drove ex—president rajapaksa to resign and flee the country. and an unprecedented win — ireland make history with their first—ever series win in new zealand. now on bbc news, de—graft mensah travels to ghana, the country of his family's heritage, to find out about the legacy of the british empire on the country and its people. i'm de—graft mensah, broadcaster, presenter, and proud british ghanaian. i'm going to be leaving behind my dayjob and heading to west africa for the first time since i was nine. the murder of george floyd and the antiracism protests that followed led people to start to question britain's history, as well as its actions abroad when it had an empire. and it led me to want
1:34 pm
to find out more. i know that ghana used to be part of the british empire, so i want to discover what that meant for the country. i want to learn why britain made ghana part of its empire, how it affected the ghanaian people, and what impact it had on my own family. i have made the 3000 mile journey to accra, the capital of ghana, somewhere i have not been since i was a kid. you know what, it feels so... it feels comforting because i am seeing people that look like me, that talk like my family, and i am seeing just, like, loads of people on the roadside selling, it is vibrant.
1:35 pm
but ultimately, the goal is finding out what the british empire was all about. before i start to get to grips with ghana's history, right here is this, the freedom and justice arch, and it was built as a massive celebration for the ghanaians — to remind them of their independence from the british empire. so, when it comes to my personal knowledge of the british empire, i know as much as i was taught in school. i know that we had an empire, it ruled countries all around the world, but growing up, it was sort of told to me as something to be celebrated. i want to know whether the empire
1:36 pm
is something to be proud of and what living under the empire was like for everyday ghanaian people, like my own family. so, to get started, i am heading away from set to and travelling —— so, to get started, i am heading away from accra and travelling to a rural community along the coast. it's where a lot of my family were born and it's where my gran still lives today. if i am exploring the british empire and how it has affected ghana, i, in a sense, and right in the middle of that story. i have got the british side to me and the ghanaian side to me, so what better way to explore the ghanaian side to me than to actually meet one of my family members who was around at that time, but also who i directly come from? it's weird because i have not seen her in the flesh since i was a little kid, and i would i have become a full grown person, so i am really excited. i am really excited. hello, grandma. hello.
1:37 pm
i will be chatting to my grandma with the help of a translator. first, she wants to know about myjob. i work for the bbc as a journalist, and i present a tv programme. i am still quite young, so i am not thinking about marriage. so, when you were younger, what were the attitudes from people in ghana towards the british? did people like being ruled under them or were people sort of resentful against them?
1:38 pm
do you think that the british being in control of ghana, do you think that was a good thing that happened or a bad thing? what were other members of ourfamily doing? what kind ofjobs did people have? it was great to see my grandma again, and i have learned loads —
1:39 pm
that my family have farmed here for as long as anyone can remember. although helping my cousin george on the farm has shown me that i have not picked up the farming gene! hey, guys, move! i'm trying to feed you. i've learned that my grandma is pretty positive about the british, but i thought it was really interesting that my grandma also raised the topic of slavery. my family lived near the coast, and i know that trade in enslaved people did go on here, so i want to know more. nearby, a historian has information for me about the relationship between the people living in this area, known as the fantes, and visiting europeans. so, i wanted to chat to you to get a greater understanding of what was happening in ghana during the empire, but also what my family were doing. apparently you have all the knowledge, so fill me in, what's going on? so, within this area, it was what we call the british domain. 0k. so the british were occupying here. in this very area? in this very area.
1:40 pm
0k. so, let me get this straight, then, because how i always envisioned the empire, i envisioned that the british came over and just captured everything and said, "this is ours". let me correct and impression here. —— let me correct an impression here. the europeans didn't come and then grab everything. first, they signed agreements with the locals. 0k. so it was not that they came and just grabbed. yeah. so, i guess that answers how the british became in control of certain areas of ghana, but i still don't quite understand where my family fits into all of this. so, back in the day, mostly they were engaged in farming and then fishing. because the fantes do two things — fishing and farming. and then selling to the british. 0h, 0k. but whilst europeans had first arrived in the area to trade in goods like gold or foodstuffs, over time trade became far more sinister through the buying and selling of enslaved human beings — something known as the transatlantic slave trade.
1:41 pm
i have a document here. the young man you see, this gentleman was from a place close to your hometown, enyan abaasa. enyan abaasa, yeah. amazingly, he wrote about his experience, and i am holding a copy of his first—hand account. this is heartbreaking. i didn't want to go into the forest. i was worried that something bad might happen to us there. but one of the other children heard i planned to stay after a couple of hours, we were approached by a group of men that pretended they meant as no harm. but before too long, the used weapons and kidnapped us. i was taken on a long journey away from my home and family. eventually, my captors took me to a castle on the coast. i can't remember its name.
1:42 pm
i asked the man why i was here, and he replies, "to learn the ways of the white man." he handed me over to the guards from the castle. in return, he was given a gun, a piece of cloth, and some lead. this made me cry bitterly, and i was taken to a prison for three days where i could just hear the cries of other prisoners. a vessel arrived to take us. it was a most horrible scene. there was nothing to be heard but the rattling of chains, the smacking of whips, and the gruesome cries of our fellow men. i was brought from a state of innocence and freedom and converted to a state of horror and slavery. reading this, it's hard.
1:43 pm
to know that somebody who was 13 at the time, who came from very close to where my family are from went through all of this, this is disgusting. it's disgusting. it makes me wonder, would there be moments where my family ever had at the back of their mind that, yes, we are treating, but we too... —— at the back of their mind that, yes, we are trading, but we too... we could be captured. i want to know more about the kind of fort he would have been taken to, so it has been arranged for me to see elmina castle, one of the largest and oldest forts in the area. whilst it is located in an idyllic setting, elmina played a role in one of the darkest chapters of human history. 0riginally built by the portuguese, elmina was used by several european nations to imprison enslaved people
1:44 pm
before they were transported across the atlantic. inside, i am going to be shown around. so, where are we right now? ok, so, this right here was the slave courtyard. this is where the bought and sold the slaves. as in, like, right here? right here. wow. right here we have the largest female slave dungeon. it held about 150 female slaves. 150? yes. once they got in here, this is the floor they slept on. the same floor they had to urinate. the food was poured onto the dirty floor and they had to eat from the dirty floor. because of that, lot the female slaves — the male slaves, as well —
1:45 pm
died. because this place was very, very dirty. it takes... for me, hearing all of that, for somebody to do that to somebody else, that is just plain... it is evil. so i am assuming that when you're in a space like this, you must be in this space thinking, "i might not leave here alive at all, because everywhere i look, there are many different ways i could die." yes. down this corridor is a door of no return. through it, slaves were forced onto ships, ready for transportation. it is almost as if, if suffering here was not bad enough, once you leave past that door, you are just going to suffer some more. so you're going to end up at a plantation, and your suffering does not end here. did the slaves know that?
1:46 pm
i don't think they knew. i don't. when i have learned about slavery in the past, it felt distant. it sort of felt like this is something that happened to people that look like me, but not necessarily peoplejust like me. if i was born in that time, i easily could have been in that situation. and that is something that i don't even know how a human goes through that and survives. it is thought that over 3 million africans were purchased and transported across the atlantic on british ships. those on board facing a life of working without pay in inhumane conditions. 0ttaba, like many of those transported by the british, was sent to work on a caribbean sugar plantation. but unlike most, his story has a positive ending.
1:47 pm
0ttaba was purchased by a merchant who took him to britain, where he learned to read and write, and was eventually freed. 0ttaba was able to record his story in riding, and it went on to help —— 0ttaba was able to record his story in writing, and it went on to help convince the british people of the evils of the slave trade. by 1807, britain, a country which had been one of the world's largest sleeving nations, became one of the first to outlaw largest slaving nations, became one of the first to outlaw the treating of enslaved people, meaning people could no longer be forcibly transported from africa. so, i know there will be some people who think that because britain was leading in the abolition movement that that cleared them of everything. and it is like, you know what, yeah, they did terrible things, but they did help to free the slaves. you can think like that... ..but i don't always think rights clear your wrongs. sometimes the wrongs that you do are so wrong that your rights,
1:48 pm
theyjust don't cut it. i now know that the trade in human beings was key to britain's arrival on these shores, but i want to know what kept britain here once slavery had been abolished and why they ended up expanding their power. so i am heading north, following the path the british took, to kumasi. it is ghana's second largest city, and it is home to the people of the asante tribe. first up, i'm going to a farm on the outskirts, which grows cocoa, used to produce chocolate. i am meeting a historian to tell me what they were up to. here we have the cocoa bean in the pod. and i guess the most important question is can i try some of that? you can. it feels very, like, gooey.
1:49 pm
mm! it tastes quite sweet. yes. so, we know when the british stopped trading in slaves, they did notjust leave ghana. in fact, their growth in ghana continued that they moved to different regions. why was that the case? so, once slavery had ended, they had to move to other areas where they could make money. such as cocoa, i believe. cocoa, kola nuts, gold. they also traded in coffee. why did the british find so much value in products like this? they were selling overseas. it was giving the british government a lot of money. so they institutionalised cocoa farming. so, the british sure things like cocoa beans, they decided, "wait, we can make quite a bit of money off of farming these beans. let's make the production even bigger and even faster so we can make more money"? is that essentially what happened?
1:50 pm
yes, maximise profit. expansion north led to violent clashes with the ruling asante people. britain wanted control in the region to be able to make money from the likes of cocoa and gold. but britain tried to justify their violence by claiming that they wanted to stop the asante, who were believed to be keeping slaves, and carrying out religious killing, known as human sacrifice. just outside kumasi, at a workshop he helped set up african fabrics, he wants to show me just how far britain went to protect its interests here. so, what exactly did the british due to the people of the asante community? they engage them in a number of wars. any time they defeated the asantes, they took more of their lands and added to theirs. the british did not stop there. they moved into the capital, and then burned down the capital.
1:51 pm
british soldiers burned kumasi to the ground and sent a brutal statement of power to the asante people. he has a document that he wants to share with me. it is important to note that the british used local people to fight the asantes. britain ordered that the fante people from the south of the country had to support the british in their wars. as many as 20,000 men were forced to help. so, reading this, "every able—bodied man not already engaged in the service of this country is immediately to present himself for that service." then it goes on to say that every able—bodied man refusing to do it, without a proper excuse, is to be arrested and made to work without pay. does that suggest that, at this point in history, my family would have been used to help fight against...? yes, that is true. wow. i am somebody who has always said, "i am proud to be british. i am british through and through." but at the same time, i am very much ghanaian, and i am very much fante. and knowing that the british
1:52 pm
went through any means that they could to manipulate the fante people, and other ghanaian communities, and inflict such harsh punishment, that is not easy news to hear at all. to think, what, you would do all of that just for money? and you would do all of that to become this great empire that we have learned so much about? for the asante, the hurt of what happened still lives on. in part because british soldiers looted precious items, many of them made of gold, like these still on display in kumasi, and took them to britain, where they remain today. to find out more, i am heading into the city to meet one of the readers of the asante community. —— to meet one of the leaders of the asante community. but before i can chat to the chief, tradition calls for me to dance for him.
1:53 pm
dance over, and it looks like he is happy. so, i know byjust looking at appearance alone that gold is very important to not only ghanaian culture, but specifically the asante culture. butjust how important is gold to you guys? gold is very important because it is a sign for us not only of wealth, but also of authority. during this journey, i have learned that there was a point in history where the british actually looted from this culture and took it to the uk. how do the current asante community felt towards the british and all the things that they have still got in the uk? that actually had a devastating blow to our kingdom. for us, it is notjust an artefact, it is the soul of the kingdom. and to have taken those items
1:54 pm
from us, robbed us of those important historical relics, i mean, we would have loved to have had them here for the current and future generations. we want to have them back. so far, i have heard some pretty difficult things about britain's history in ghana. but i want to look at another site to the legacy of the empire. —— but i want to look at another side to the legacy of the empire. and i'm off to church. christianity is the largest religion in ghana. it was introduced by the british. for loads of ghanaians, like those here in church today, that is something to be thankful for. i know that other ghanaians also think positively about some of the things britain created here, things such as building schools, advances in medicine, and the creation of roads and railways and ports.
1:55 pm
in 1957, britain granted ghana its independence, making it a self—governing country, and inspiring many other countries ruled by britain to seek their own independence. the story is not clear—cut, many to preez the infrastructure products. we need to remember what happened here and in ten�*s other former colonies and learn from it. britain and ghana will always be connected by a shared history. because of that, millions of people here see britain positively and view it as a home away from home,
1:56 pm
like my family did when they moved to britain all those years ago. in order to know who you are, you have got to know where you come from. yeah, i might not be entirely proud of the history that underpins both sides of me, but has made me who i am, and it has made my life what it is today, so maybe, just maybe, i am de—graft because of the empire. good afternoon. unprecedented levels of heat for the uk to content within in the days ahead. particularly through the early part of the new week. many may try to seek refuge close to our coasts, it is often cooler there, and obviously you have
1:57 pm
the relatively cool water to plunge into. what i will stress is the seat, the air we are going to be sitting in is such that even around the coasts the extreme heat warning does apply. the met office has issued this because our infrastructure and day—to—day lives are set to be tested by temperatures never seen before in the uk. spain and portugal have been badly impacted recently, that heat is migrating north. it will be in to the north of france on sunday and thenit the north of france on sunday and then it expands into the uk from monday and tuesday. here we are this afternoon into the early evening, temperature is rather more average for the time of year. quite rightly in the mid—20s, high teens across scotland and northern ireland. a lot of some time to come through the render of today, but summary will work its way into northern ireland through the evening, spread across scotland overnight. it is a pretty warm night, relatively speaking. it was pretty chilly in northern england in yesterday, down to just 3-4. but england in yesterday, down to just 3—4. but mild enough to start
1:58 pm
sunday, then the rain across scotland and northern england pushes out into the north sea, the sun beats down, those temperatures start to push up. mid—20s widely across scotland and northern ireland, high 20s across england and wales, 38 and 32 across central and southern england. monday and tuesday are the two days that are set to be particularly challenging across the uk. temperature wise, you're probably heard this figure being bandied around already, when we get into the 40s? the current uk record is 37.8. at the moment, that is looking pretty likely across central and eastern england, but i what are your eyes to the temperatures elsewhere. 38 across northern england and wales, close to record levels for parts of scotland and northern ireland. this is the night. this is how we typically expect our july figures to look. 0vernight this is how we typically expect our july figures to look. overnight in some areas, temperature setting in the low to mid 20s, that is when the health impact start to stack up.
1:59 pm
40-41 health impact start to stack up. 40—41 across eastern england on tuesday. cooler air trying to get in from the west, but as it comes and it brings rain. rising humidity. 37-38 it brings rain. rising humidity. 37—38 and rising humidity, that will be pretty challenging for many people through tuesday before the on wednesday.
2:00 pm
this is bbc news with the latest headlines. the uk government will host an emergency cobra meeting later today, after the first national heatwave emergency was declared in the uk. fires continue to burn out of control, as parts of france, portugal and spain endure record—breaking temperatures. thousands of people are evacuated from their homes. the race for conservative party leader and next prime minister continues, as the five remaining candidates battle it out in the first tv debate. i was really pleased to be able to make a positive case for why i can be the best leader for our party and our country, and that's because i want to restore trust, rebuild our economy and reunite our country. i was pleased to make the positive case for that. heathrow is pushing ahead with plans to forced airlines to reduce passenger numbers to help
2:01 pm
the airport cope with staff shortages.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on