Long before the first African stepped foot on North American soil and long after the last slave ships plied the Atlantic Ocean, East Africa harbored its own dark trade. For centuries until the 1920s, Arab traders traveled into Africa’s heart to collect slaves for use both on African plantations and throughout the Middle East. Along the way, these slaves endured atrocities as cruel as many that happened in West Africa. Death marches to the coast for thousands of miles. Pain, hunger, exhaustion. Families split apart. The clash of culture, language and religion.

Before being shipped around the world, many slaves were funneled through one small town in modern-day Tanzania: the quiet yet diverse Bagamoyo. How did a community born of brutality become a place of tolerance and forgiveness?

In this eye-opening and compelling film, Jake Salyers sheds light on a forgotten piece of history. Through the prism of Bagamoyo, Salyers examines the East African slave trade and its reverberations into the present day. From the ancient ruins of Arab colonies to the testimonies of villagers who can still remember the slave trade, BAGAMOYO, LAY YOUR HEART DOWN reveals a classic story of past loss and present redemption.

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