As a child of Africa raised in a European country, I can’t avoid reflecting about my ancestors’ reality and wonder how the most barbaric and bloody episode of black history came to an end.
On the 14th of June 2007, a public meeting was held in SADACCA entitled “200 years since the Abolition of the Slave Trade – Who really ended slavery?” Weyman Bennett inspiringly revealed to us some of the facts behind one of the darkest times of history. His speech focused on the fact that slavery is a socioeconomic system where slaves were deprived of any rights and entitled only to never-ending duties and both physical and emotional suffering. It did not end thanks to the good will of slave owners, but was triggered by the French Revolution!
By 1789 the French motto “Liberté, Fraternité, Egalité” echoed all over the world and eventually reached San Domingo, a former French colony, now known as Haiti.
In 1791 François Dominique Toussaint emerged as a key black leader and it was under his guidance that slaves united. Several parts of San Domingo were recovered, modern armies defeated and slavery was officially abolished in Haiti. But 200 years on, do we feel that slavery has now ended? Opinions varied and feelings rose regarding the state of Africa today.
“Africa is not free, we’re still victims. Our leaders are not chosen by us but by imperialists in Europe.”
“In England we can go out and get a job, but Africa is still being exploited and that’s how the economy in Europe is strengthened.”
Throughout history, we have persevered as fighters against the belief that some races are superior to others. We cannot let ignorant feelings and attitudes of those who are racist unquestionably rule us.
Events like this create an awareness of how strong we can be if we unite against unfairness. The most important thing is to realise that we are linked as a whole no matter where in the world we live.