AFRICAN LEGENDS 5- BY DOTUN OYENIYI


 The Bussa Rebellion in 1816 in Barbados;that of Demerara in 1823 in Guyan; and the Jamaican Baptist war of 1831/1832 gave a significant push for abolition of slavery.

 Immediately after Sharpe's execution,parliament in London started debates on abolition of slavery and in 1833,the Act for the Abolition of  slavery was passed.That was 26 years after slave trade,that is the buying and selling of slaves from Africa ended in 1807.


 Those heroes among the enslaved people and so many more were legends of their very difficult era as they put their lives on the line to secure freedom for themselves and others.Their labour and history and those of more popular abolitionists like Olaudah Equiano; and Mary prince-the first lady to present anti-slavery petition to British parliament and indeed the first black woman to write and publish an autobiography,must not only be given a proper space in history but must also continue to galvanise all of us to stand for justice and equality of all men,always.

 By and large,both slave trade and slavery ended but the sad irony is this- as the Europeans used their left hands to remove the shackles of slavery from the Africans hands,they used their right hands to put the leash of colonisation on our necks.


 On Saturday 15 November 1884, 13 Europeans nations and the United States of America met in Berlin on the invitation of the German Chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck in whose house the conference held.At the infamous Berlin conference,Africa was placed on the table like some tantalizing pizza and haphazardly sliced by hungry feasters,each scrambling for as much slice as he could get.

 Within a few years,the imperialist tentacles were spread all over Africa,using force in most cases.The existing structures were disrupted and powerful African kingdoms were overrun,subjugated and their killings subdued,humiliatingly and then coerced into signing treaties that ceded territories and conceded authorities to the colonialist.

 By 1905,only Liberia ('artificially' created for African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia which has successfully repelled Italian colonisation intent,were nations not colonised in the whole of Africa.

 These was of course to lead to a new generation of legends who fought for the recovery of Africans' self-definition as a people,self-determination of their destines and the retrieval of political power from the colonialist.Prominent among the anti-colonisation legends were Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya,Julius Nyerere of Tanzania,Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana,Nnamdi Azikwe of Nigeria,Leopold Senghor of Senegal,Felix Houphouet-Boigny of Cote D'Ivoire.

                                        TO BE CONTINUED...

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