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Roots, The Gambia
Every year, thousands of visitors cruise up the Gambia river on a journey inspired by Kunta Kinte, the 18th Century ancestor of writer Alex Haley.
Kunte Kinte came from the village of Juffureh. The story of his capture by slavers became the best-selling book and TV series Roots back in the Seventies.
Juffureh has a national museum that tells the grim story of the slave trade. A few minutes’ boat ride away is James Island, where thousands of men, women and children were packed into the hold of ships bound for the Americas. The ruined fort has become a UN World Heritage Site and last year was officially renamed Kunta Kinte Island.
Today, the people of Juffureh are making a reasonable living from tourism, thanks to their ancestor and to a scheme introduced by the British charity, the Travel Foundation.
The charity set up a village co-operative to train and employ local guides. Visitors buy an entrance ticket and the money provides jobs and a childrens’ day centre.