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The Gate of No Return Marathon and Festival will be held in 2020/21 in Benin, West Africa. Organized in collaboration with the Government of Benin, this event aims to help heal the wounds that slavery left behind by reconnecting the descendants of those trafficked with their motherland, and to encourage the rediscovery of family roots, history and culture.

Djimon Hounsou

"My dream for the Gate of No Return Marathon and Festival is not only to become a symbol of the triumph over slavery, but to heal the wounds slavery left behind and to champion a visceral connection from the diaspora to the motherland."

Djimon Hounsou, Award-Winning Actor, Founder
Award-Winning Actor, Founder

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The Race


The Marathon starts at the Reconciliation Statue in Cotonou and continues west along the beach towards Ouidah. After entering the Gate of No Return, the race continues for another 1.75 miles onto the Slave Route. It then reverses course at the Tree of Remembrance - a new art installation - and ends at the beach, where a festival will be held.

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Press Release


Event Announcement, December 2, 2019