Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally –Abraham Lincoln
The above quote is reminiscent of an era where people (or more historically appropriate, Negroes) were traded like commodities. Slaves captured were either used domestically or traded to another party. This trade of slaves led to the infamous transatlantic slave trade which saw over twenty million Africans being shipped from our continent to south America, Europe and the Caribbean. Two thirds of all the slaves shipped were males and this era lasted for over 400 years.
Fast track into the new millennium and you find Africans still raging over the effects of slavery on our continent. Undeniably, we are still reaping the consequences of the slave trade. We lost a huge percentage of our workforce during this period but it is high time we had a shift of mentality and start to act responsibly. Just like how the functionality and mentality of a human being alters from childhood to adulthood, Africa will stand on a very good pedestal had it adopted these human tendencies. As it stands, Africa can be likened to suffering from Parkinson’s disease by our own doing and until severe measures are taken, we will continue to wallow in this and point the blaming finger to slavery while in reality four fingers point at us.
The reality on the ground is that, we were the perpetrators of our downfall that is if to say we see slavery as such. Slavery can be seen as a blessing in disguise as Africa generated huge sums of money from this. The question which should be asked, and which we have asked and which we have been asking not only in terms of slavery but in other aspects of our economy is “Na sika no w) hi”?(which loosely translates ‘where is the money’?). Misappropriation and embezzlement of these funds have been synonymous with us as Africans and these are issues we should address as Africans instead of blame “Akwasi Broni” (white man) who is sitting “at his somewhere” trying to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling.
A lot of time has elapsed after the slave trade and had we started sowing seeds of development instead of seeds of blaming, we would have reaped development. The irony of this situation is how often we as Africans dance to the tune of Bob Marley’s song “Redemption Song” especially to the line which says “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery , none but ourselves can free our minds” while we practice the exact opposite of it. Could it be that we enjoy the rhythm so much that we forget the contents and message Bob Marley is trying to put across?
All in all, we could always turn over a leaf and this change starts from us!! Our social studies teachers in elementary school have done their best to educate us on history which includes the slave trade, it is about time we gave these teachers new contents to teach such as the new Africa. New Africa which is able to compete with Asians and Europeans. The new Africa which provides aid to foreign countries. The new Africa which is a beam of light which shows mansions and tourist sites on BBC and CNN not slums and hungry children. It starts now and it starts by closing the chapter on slavery.
Read this and gradually change a mindset a day. Africa will rise!!!
By Nana Kweku Odum Arhin, Kwaku Ofori Osei-Ameyaw and Jesse Opoku-Asiedu