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US Government Approves Funds to Preserve Historic Bimbia Slave Port

The United States Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs has approved $76,400 (FCFA 40 million) in funding for a cultural preservation project to preserve and partially restore the remains of the Bimbia slave trade port.  The cultural preservation project is entitled “Documentation and restoration of the 18th Century Slave Port in Bimbia,” and is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy.  The project will document the site with signage, providing historic facts and information.  It will also collect, catalogue and display the few remaining artifacts. 

The Bimbia Port project is part of the Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation, and was announced on July 9, 2012.  The project is expected to last 12 months, following the official launch that will occur around September 2012.

The Bimbia slave port has a great cultural, historic and touristic importance to Cameroon.  Since 2010, through the ARK Jammers’ Ancestry Reconnection Program, close to 150 Americans, whose DNA traced their origins to Cameroon, have traveled to Bimbia, giving the site increased national and international attention.

Unfortunately, the site is not yet well documented, and is currently overgrown by bamboo and bush.  The remains of the slave cells are fast deteriorating and are in urgent need of stabilization.  Once completed, the project will be a major addition to the country’s efforts to preserve its collective cultural memory.  The “Documentation and Restoration of the 18th Century Slave Trade Port of Bimbia” is one of the nine projects in Sub Saharan Africa selected for funding through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

Since its inception in 2001, the Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation has supported more than 700 projects to preserve cultural heritage in 120 countries.  Bimbia, in the South West Region of Cameroon, is part of the Limbe Council.