Melania Trump’s Africa Trip: Reflections on Preserving the Heritage of Our Past

Tiberiu Dianu
5 min readOct 8, 2018

Between Monday, October 1 and Saturday, October 6, 2018, First Lady Melania Trump made her first major solo trip abroad, visiting the African nations of Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt. The main goal was to identify some challenges these countries are confronted with and where the United States may have a positive impact and results.

The office of the First Lady worked closely with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and focused “on one or more projects they have been working on within each country.” Her visits were meant to promote “education, healthcare, some conservation and tourism” including “her initiative Be Best, the well-being of children.”

Of course, the mainstream media didn’t miss the opportunity to criticize the First Lady for wearing a “colonial” safari helmet in Kenya (although pith helmets are available for purchase online and in hat shops) or for her “largely neutral outfits” in Ghana and Malawi, “often in contrast to her hosts” or Michelle Obama, who wore “bright, colorful outfits on her trips to the continent.”

They missed the point, though, on Melania’s visit to a formal slave outpost in Ghana. There, on her second day of her solo trip to Africa, she visited Cape Coast Castle, a 17th-century fortress along Ghana’s coast that once served as a holding facility for the transatlantic slave trade. The castle is now a museum, together with other 40 existing former slave warehouses along the Ghana coast. The castles shipped most of their slaves (estimated at 20 million) to America and Brazil.

While the African nations preserve their heritage of the past, here, in the United States, social justice activists consider preservation as shameful, reason for which the historic monuments and sites associated with slavery have to be destroyed.

It is quite suspicious that this destructive “trend” appeared as soon as Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016. I have never heard of an organized or systematic destruction or desecration of monuments and sites during the Bush or Obama administrations. I repeat, “organized or systematic.”

Nowadays, the Left’s main concerns are to demolish or to paint Confederate statues, conceal the few warehouses related to slave dealings, or change the name of schools, streets or places associated with the Confederates, often involving exorbitant amounts of money supported by the taxpayers.

Often times, cohorts of aggressive leftist activists, usually young or middle-aged, with no basic knowledge of, or respect for, national history, have spread like plague in state and local councils, from where they dictate arbitrarily how American history should look like for their progeny’s generation. They desperately try to mold it artificially by destroying the past in order to fit in their narrow ideological interests.

A few Antebellum sites of slave markets and Reconstruction confederate monuments evoking the troubled past still remain in several Southern states, like Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi or Virginia.

Despite the deep division that characterizes our nation today, historical and cultural preservation of our heritage of the past should involve not only the architectural revitalization of the sites and monuments, but should secure also a needed space for contemplation, reflection, reconciliation and healing.

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