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Published by etekpe
How Africans can hold of their own future
How Africans can hold of their own future

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Published by: etekpe on Oct 18, 2010
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By Naiwu Osahon Leader World Pan-African MovementOf course, Africans sold their kith and kin into slavery. Yes, theslave merchants found willing accomplices amongst us and inexchange for cheap ridiculous items like a mirror, tobacco,cutlass, gun or a drink, we did their dirty jobs for them.But if you expect us to feel guilty about our negative role inslavery, you are not being realistic because Africans, like theother species of the human race, have their own greedy ones too.In relative terms though, only a very small minority of Africansbenefited commercially from our enslavement considering thequantities of mirrors etc they acquired and they were loathed bythe captive majority. Names of such African traitors like thenotorious Kosoko of Lagos still invoke hate today in Africans whenever mentioned.Collectively, Africans did not understand what slavery was reallyall about. Even including the traitors, we had no idea we wouldnever see our dear ones again or how far the ocean stretched tokeep them apart from us. Parents hoped that their children beingkidnapped into slavery would be treated no worse than we treatour houseboys today. Houseboys or girls in Africa are slaves in asense but slavery to an African is like an adoption. Africa is almosta free slavery system, more akin to the Greek or Roman system.A parent who cannot cope with bringing up a child may hand overthe child to another parent in a better position to give the child agood home. A parent may give a child to a Chief because usually,Chiefs are well placed to provide food and shelter through thecommunal tax systems. The slave in an African home often hasthe rights of the adopted child.Even now, a hundred years after the supposed end to crossAtlantic slavery, Africans on the continent still do not know thehell enslaved Africans went through in the hands of the slavemasters. You have kept your historical perspective on slavery intactwhereas in Nigeria for instance, the only reminder of it is asolitary slave chain preserved as a tourist attraction in a run-downhut in Badagry, a coastal suburb of Lagos. Ghana has moreterrifying evidence in their fantastic Castles, but Africans on thecontinent hardly visit or relate to the evidence. One of the Castlesin Ghana has been given over to the African DescendantsAssociation. They have a guest book you sign, and looking
through, you see very personal and emotional comments by blackvisitors from abroad to the Castle. For you, the reaction whenfaced with damning evidence is painful. It is painful to rememberthat you were sold here like cattle but for us Africans on thecontinent, our memory of slavery is completely blank.We sold you into slavery alright but Africa as a whole was not justwaiting to be dismembered without a fight. Names of our warriornationalists, mostly Kings and Queens abound: Queen Nzingha of Angola, King Nana Kwamena Ansa of Ghana, Nehenda of Zimbabwe, Anowa of Ghana, Ashanti King Prempeh, the Jaja of Opobo, Queen Idah of Benin City, Oba Overamwen Nogbaisi of Benin City, Madam Tinubu of Lagos, Queen Amina of Zaria,Behanzin Hossu Bo Willi of Dahomey, Samory Toure of Mali,Moremi of Ile-Ife, Mohammed Ahmed the Mahdi of Sudan, Nefertitiof Nubia, Mohammed Ben Abdulla Hassen the mad Mullah of Somaliland, Chaka the Zulu and many others, gave good accountof themselves in our honour. Africans had to be beaten anddragged on board slave ships.
On slave ships, many Africans starved themselves to death, cuttheir own throats with their fingernails, threw themselvesoverboard to escape torture and slavery and quite a number of them succeeded in over powering their captors and taking overtheir slave ships as was the case with AMISTAD or Joseph Cinque,the son of a Mendi King of Sierra Leone.On Plantations, Africans continued their acts of rebellion throughsabotage at work or by running away into hardly accessibleswamps, forests and mountains to continue the fight for theirfreedom. Africans cursed their tormentors in work songs,communicated with each other, even under severe restrictions,with body language and signs, and transformed their religiousindoctrination to their advantage by replacing, for instance,‘Heaven’ with ‘Africa’ in Christian songs about the joys of Heaven.Flying away to Zion and crossing the River Jordan was translatedby slaves to mean the joyful return home to Africa through theAtlantic. Death was seen as a welcome means of returning toAfrica and with that, African slaves conquered the fear of tortureand death.Amongst the slaves, one of our wicked traits soon began to show.Slaves spied on other slaves to win a lousy cup of porridge. Theybetrayed confidence to gain small favours from their masters butour finer nature overwhelmed and produced many nationalists
and inspirers of freedom in the new world such as: Blyden,Frederick Douglas, Nat Turner, Sam Sharpe, Gabriel Prosser,Denmark Vasey, Paul Cuffe, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth,Martin R. Delany and numerous others. Then came August 1791, when the slaves of the Island of SanDomingo revolted under the leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture,Boukman, Dessalines, and Henry Christophe. The struggle lastedfor twelve years, during which time, they defeated in turn, thelocal whites and soldiers of the French monarchy, a Spanishinvasion force, a British expedition of some 60,000 men, and aFrench expedition of similar size under Bonaparte’s brother-in-law. The defeat of Bonaparte’s expedition in 1803 gave us Haiti,our first independent anti-slavery state. The revolt is the most successful slave revolt in history and toquote C.L.R James in Black Jacobins,: “The odds it had to over-come is evidence of the magnitude of the interests involved. Thetransformation of slaves, trembling in hundreds before a singlewhite man into a people able to organise themselves and defeatthe most powerful European nations of their day is one of thegreat epics of revolutionary struggle and achievement.”Haiti’s revolution inspired other liberation wars and in particularthe growth of what Prof. John Henrik Clarke described as‘intellectual Pan Africanism,’ expressed immediately then throughthe building of cultural and religious ties across state barriers. To quote John Henrik Clarke in Pan Africanism, a brief history of an idea: “In 1804, Jacques Dessalines, the Governor-General of Haiti, issued an appeal for American blacks to settle in his Island.In 1819, Henri Christophe, King of Haiti, negotiated for thesettlement of 200,000 black Americans who ultimately settled inLiberia. Denmark Vasey sought the assistance of Haiti in his slaveconspiracy of 1822. Jean-Pierre Bayer, who later becamePresident of Haiti, pushed for similar emigration and the MarylandHaitan Society was formed in 1921 by free blacks to facilitateemigration.”In the continent itself, the military Pan-Africanists were reacting tothe so called scramble for Africa, which in effect was thetransformation of the early nineteenth century system of slaveryinto the system of colonialism – an extension of slavery. Two newEuropean powers (Germany and Belgium) entered the scene, andwith the old colonial powers (mainly England, France andPortugal) began to spread their control from the coastal holdingstations to the hinder-land. There was much rivalry amongst the

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