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USA and Britain constantly involve themselves in the affairs of African countries,

they uplift white people with black faces and call them our leaders, how

can Africans celebrate when no African country is sovereign?



Slavery 200 Years Later

By Uche Nworah 


As the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, a few Africans and non-Africans share their views on the lessons learned from the human tragedy, they also profess a way forward for the black race and all those affected by the psychological trauma of the slavery era.

Sola Tayo (TV Producer)

“I think that the black race has come a long way since the end of slavery. We have to appreciate our lot but should at the same time take stock of where we are going. I think that black people should start taking more responsibilities for their actions, particularly young black men especially here in the UK where they live a life of cultural deceit. I see the lack of aspirations on their part as a huge challenge to our future; we should not keep on relying on the system to take care of us, for this reason I don’t believe in the call for reparation, nobody is giving anybody any freebie, doing that will amount to acceptance of guilt and we all know that the white man will not want that”.

Bola Mustapha (NHS Nurse)

“Slavery may be over but some of us are still enslaved in our minds. I think that it is time for us to break out of our shells and sympathy modes. A way for the future will be for Africans to challenge themselves more by engaging in more constructive endeavours. We should cooperate more with each other and also help one another. My advice to young black men is to stay off crime and do something meaningful with their lives, that is the only way the anti-slavery struggles will be meaningful” 

Fapo Hunda Adeleye (Civil Engineer)

“We still have modernised slavery especially in Africa, we still worship the white man whose opinion we seem to respect all the time while ignoring that of our fellow Africans. My grandfather used to say that another man can not like your children better than yourself, so until we change our orientation in terms of how we deal with our fellow Africans slavery will still be with us at least psychologically. The time to look inwards is now and we should stop taking dictates from people who don’t understand our culture”.

Michael Onwujuba (Track Safety Officer)

“The lot of the black race has surely improved since the abolition of slavery but not so much. Perhaps in America, with blacks getting rich and becoming prominent through hip-hop, sports and other endeavours but their success is uneven hence blacks in other countries continue to suffer different forms of discrimination. Some people say that the Blackman is his own worst enemy, maybe there is some truth in that. In the longer term, our collective survival will depend on better understanding and cooperation with each other”. 

Adebayo Faduba (Teacher)

“There is really nothing to celebrate because we have entered the second phase of slavery, this time the Asians have joined the party. I ask myself where all the money being used to buy up companies in Africa are coming from, if truly from the Asians as people say, why are their countries still impoverished?  Slavery is still very much alive directly and indirectly, the colonial masters are still firmly in control of their colonies but this time using the agencies of the United Nations, World Bank and other such agencies to control us.

Those calling for reparation are wasting their time because the resources never left Africa, our oil, gold, diamonds, cocoa etc are still with us, but what have we done with them? Nothing, we simply can not get our acts together. As per those calling for reparation, perhaps it is cowry shells that they are after”. 

Damola Olarenwaju (Track Engineer)

“Obviously the black race has come a long way but things could be better. The present generation should pick up the fight. As black people we need to empower ourselves through information, knowledge and education, it is time we stopped proving right those people who say that the best way to hide things from black people is by putting the information in a book, meaning that we don’t read. We have to try and change such stereotypes”.

Luigi Amoruso (Builder)

“Slavery is really a very touchy issue, I may never feel the impact of what happened the way that Africans and other people affected by slavery feel it. However, I believe that there are still signs in the world we live in today that injustice still abound. It is not good for people to be maltreated be it white or black; people should be given their rights”.

Adeel Ali (student and Islamic scholar)

“Slavery has been abolished but Africans are still in extreme hardship, suffering from the aftermath of European colonisation. Freedom has brought them hunger, poverty. Is this what we are supposed to be celebrating? We all recognise Black history month in October, we have many displays of famous black people who made an impact in their present to make a difference for our future. My question to black people is: when will you stop thinking about your past and strive for a better future as these people did?

We can all talk about the greatness of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, but who amongst us is following their path in order to improve the lives for the coming generations? Africa has a beautiful history and it can also have a beautiful future if people wake up and do something about it. Get an education and take your skills back to Africa to build it up once again, it’s not the time to celebrate just yet, it’s the time to make a difference”.

Bruce Neagus (Teacher)

“The 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave trade bill is worthy of commemoration but maybe not celebration. It was not until 1833 that the British passed the Slavery ABOLITION Act – only then was all slavery legally abolished in the British Empire. Slaves elsewhere had to wait longer and, arguably, are still waiting in isolated circumstances today. So the commemoration is the beginning of the end of slavery, not the actual end.

I do not support the call for reparation because the dead cannot be compensated for their losses and it is too far back to pay out to their descendants. The victims of many more modern tragedies have greater rights to compensation but do not realistically expect it. We should not forget that African slavery was not entirely white-run; slaves were frequently captured by other tribes before being sold on to the white traders. Today black people, the descendants of those originally transported to be slaves, have significantly better economic opportunities outside Africa than on the continent itself so compensation is not really appropriate. However greater equality of opportunity in white-dominated countries would certainly not be amiss”.

Asher Hoyles (Performance Poet and Author)

“I think that black people have a lot to celebrate despite the fact that so much more needs to be done to support those who are still suffering from the impact of slavery. However I do think that the bi-centenary will give us the opportunity to celebrate some of the great abolitionists that in my view have paved the way such as Olaudah Equino, Robert Wedderburn, Fredrick Douglas and many more.

The bi-centenary should be used in my view to celebrate what has been achieved despite the tragedy of slavery and discuss what  needs to be done As a performance poet I have done many poems on this subject, some quite hard hitting and others as a way of  raising awareness. I am very proud of this especially in connection with my work in schools as this gives me the opportunity to educate young people abut their history”.

Ramazan Cankaya (Student) 

“I learnt about slavery in school in my history lessons; I must say that it is indeed a tragic period in the lives of Africans. I really feel for those that suffered. Some of my friends in college are Africans and sometimes they talk about it, they do make it sound though as if all white people are racists.  However I don’t think that it is every white person that is racist, I believe that it is up to us as young people to try and work together with each other no matter the skin colour, we should all strive to make the world a better place”. 

Tolulope Oyewole (student)

“Asking if black people have anything to celebrate is similar to saying that slavery has been eradicated. Neo-colonialism in my view is worse than chattered enslavement, Africans or black people all over the world are enslaved without even knowing it. Miss-education and other Eurocentric multicultural society. Slavery still continues, USA and Britain constantly involve themselves in the affairs of African countries, they uplift white people with black faces and call them our leaders, how can Africans celebrate when no African country is sovereign?

Even the country known as Nigeria was a name given to us by one of our slave masters, and that is the name we write on our foreheads. Thus, 2007 is not a year of celebration; it is a year of emancipation. It is time for Africans to regain their identity; we need to rise against de-humanisation and rebuild our great continent. When all these are achieved, then we would have something to celebrate”.     

Afamefuna Anawana (Systems Analyst)

“I saw a programme on UK’s Channel 4 recently titled “The Last Slave”, a story of a black Londoner named David Monteith (a descendant of Archibald Monteith) who traced his roots to the Igbo race in Nigeria, and was extremely disappointed with the jaundiced and one-sided nature of the ‘slavery in Igboland’ portrayed in that documentary.

"No attempt was made to balance the story by also presenting the struggle by Nri people to scuttle the slave trade and Igbo colonization. No attempt was made to educate the audience of the European machinations at undermining Nri, for attempting to scuttle the slave trade and colonization of Igboland. The documentary was akin to telling the story of slavery in the West Indies, and only concentrating on the black slave drivers, while totally ignoring the actions of many Afro-West Indians who fought for emancipation.

"I saw it as an attempt by unseen hands to incriminate the Igbo race thereby weakening the calls for reparations for the slave descendants and subliminally robbing them of any moral locus standing. The 200th anniversary of the “abolition” of slave trade, should also concentrate on the descendants of the trans-Atlantic slaves.  It is usually gory to read commentators’ contributions, who try to throw in the odd smokescreen of also trying to get us to concentrate on modern slavery.

"I am in support of the reparations call for the descendants, Justice should be absolute.  Better late than never or else a dangerous precedence will be set.  All that a bully will then need to do is to wait for years and then claim that an aggrieved party no longer qualifies for compensation for the sufferings that was inflicted on the aggrieved, solely because time has elapsed.  This is an UNJUST “off-the-hook” clause for future Hitlers”.

Uche Nworah, Nigerian journalist, is probably one of the hardest working and possibly most controversial writer we have published. In honor of his work, his talent, and his popularity, we salute him and thank him for the contributions he has made to the popularity of ChickenBones: A Journal in Nigeria and among Nigerians at home and abroad. Interview

posted 2 November 2007 

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Ancient African Nations

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