This post sprouted out of a random – if not silly thought, that crossed my mind. Why and how the thought came to me; I do not know. I hadn’t been reading anything related to slavery or colonialism to start with.
But the thought came anyways, independent of any external influence, and I found it to be one that deserved full expression and elucidation. The sole aim of this post is to probe questions, however ‘silly’ they may appear. Consider it a Socratic effort at inquiry, and I plead you treat it as such.
The question is this: why did our ancestors (by this I mean black forefathers) allow some white men with pointed nose and skinny guns travel across continents to traffic them as slaves and later colonize their territories?
How did we end up as slaves??
Why didn’t they all die or state their readiness to die rather than allow strange white men sell them into bondage? Although there were pockets of resistance to slavery and colonialism; an example of which the Haitian revolution, Ethiopian resistance to colonization and the Igbo landing story stands a memorial; research tells us around 10 million Africans were stolen from the continent with relative ease and comfort over the course of 400 years.
Slavery was abolished by Britain and the United States on January 1st 1807, some 400 years after the trade flourished uninhibited. Although it can be argued that slavery thrived because African traditional rulers fully participated in the trade alongside Europeans; the same argument cannot be made for colonialism. Colonialism for Nigeria started when the British bombarded the coast of Lagos in 1861. That’s a mere 54 years after Britain abolished the slave trade. And yet again, they were successful – not only in Nigeria; but in Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. Africa’s lot was a double-jeopardy of slavery and colonialism that our ancestors were powerless to stop.
Why were they (our ancestors) powerless to stop slavery and colonialism?
What could/ should they have done?
Can Africa recover from 400 years of slavery and 100 years of colonialism?
I am interested in your responses.