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White Slave Traders were Investors Too

 

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White Slave Traders were Investors Too

Below is a brief article by Mawuna Remarque Koutonin from December 24, 2020, published on siliconafrica.com, from which I have borrowed part of the title of this article.

Slavery Denialism in Africa

I’m happy more and more Africans are awakening to accept the truth about our own responsibilities in slavery in Africa and colonisation of Africa.

Acknowledging our ancestors’ weaknesses and crimes would be a huge step in healing the African trauma, the pervasive sense of irresponsibility, but more importantly to create space to teach future generation values we wish for.

Every time I’d post anything about the Ashanti and other African tribes’ proactive role in the transatlantic slave trade, the Akan people from current day Ghana would come to attack me with hate messages.

I’d like to share in the image below an excerpt from the book ‘Work of a woman, by former First Lady of Ghana, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, who acknowledges the historical facts.

The Ashanti most of the time would captured too many people through their never ending wars to sell to the white, but have to wait for months for the white ship to come back.

Fact is, it was not only the Ashanti. The Fon, the Igbo and many many tribes were willing and proactive participants in the slave trade.

With the Arabs, the Bambara, the Mossi, the Fulani, Haussa were huge Islamic slave traders.

Many nations have acknowledged their past crimes to upstart a healing process for the future.

The current Africans denialism is hurting all of us, and sabotaging our common future.

When I see so many Africans happy helping so called foreign investors to take over African lands, resources just to get nice mirrors into their home or buy second hand cars, one must be blind not to deduct that those same people would be happy to sell their fellows Africans if slave trade would resume tomorrow.

White slave traders were investors. Remember!

Note: The image the author mentioned in his article was, unfortunately, inaccessible at the time of publishing, and the correct book title is “It Takes a Woman”.

Let’s deal with the issue of denial of responsibility by Afrikans of their role in slavery. This is something we have addressed either in previous articles or in our book. Even without the admissions, reports or anecdotal evidence that have been provided to back the truth that Afrikans were involved in slavery against their brethren, you have to know that anywhere there was some form of slave trade taking place in Afrika, the local people were involved. Ask yourself, how did the slavers get access to the hinterland to gather up people to take to their ships? Even if they took over later, who led them there on their very first incursion? It would have been impossible without some form of local knowledge being supplied to them to guide them to their intended targets. Having said that, reports from the east and west coasts of Afrika indicate that there were communities that specialized in the slave trade. It happened. Our people sold us out. We must just deal with that head-on. Because if we do that and face the fact that traitors have existed in our midst for millennia, then it becomes easier to accept that Afrikans were not perfect little angels who were just taken advantage of by slavers or colonizers… they were not hapless victims who were just minding their own business when the wicked white man came by. No. They played a serious hand in their own downfall. And that is important to know and to teach and to address in our hearts.

Why? Because personal responsibility is key in ending and breaking out of cycles of trauma, self-abuse and denial… and in beginning the process of rebuilding the culture and society that we want and need to have. And it is critical for those who would otherwise aid and abet the slaver/colonizer to be fully rehabilitated.

Why? So that we can finally end the era of the slaver’s/colonizer’s enabler in Afrika.

Koutonin states, right at the end of his article, that the white slave traders were investors. To their minds, the people that they bought and sold and shipped around the world were goods that would be used to bring them a profit and used to bring the slave owners a profit. People were bought to serve as labor, to increase productivity and outputs for plantation owners. To the depraved minds of our ancestors’ captors, this was a perfectly acceptable business. This is why they persisted in it. It made sound business sense to them to capture people and take them away forcefully and use them as mere tools and profit from the whole thing in the process.

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But let me tell you about the enabler. The one who was the slaver’s enabler was himself engaged in robust trade and movement of people for purposes of profit. Just like the one who was the colonizer’s enabler. These individuals, groups and communities were crucial to the success of the commercial ambitions of those whose needs and whims they supplied and supported. They were the perfect balance of selfishness, treachery, and callousness because they had to consider their own interests for profit and glory first above the interests of the communities that they raided to get slaves to trade with. They had to betray their own Afrikan people for purposes of personal profit and they had to be heartless in order to do it. And they did it, again and again, and again. With regard to the colonizer’s enabler, these Afrikans found their desire for personal gain met in self-preservation, personal aggrandizement and strategic appointments. They did not care that millions of their brethren across the continent were in dire straits simply because the white man wanted to take over their lands and livelihood no matter the cost. They wanted to ensure that they (the enablers) and their interests were secure. And so, they turned into the worst form of traitor, even became their brothers’ oppressors, spying on them, overseeing and implementing the foreigners’ policies against them and all with utmost cruelty and shortsightedness.

No matter the era in which the enabler operated (slavery, colonialism), each one was tremendously successful at condemning their people to fates that were often worse than death and the repercussions of their actions continue to resound through time and space, centuries later, because the state of Afrika is a reflection of the compromised positions that they took then. And the reason why these effects continue to speak in our lands and in the lives of our people is that they have not been dealt with, but rather, new enablers have been raised up who support the investments and interventions made by the neo-colonizers into the land and continent of Afrika.

These enablers see themselves not as facilitators of wickedness, but as trade facilitators, employees, business partners, consultants, financiers of modern trade and industry or charitable and development programs. These enablers are the PhD, Masters, Undergraduate degree and Diploma holders who work for multinational corporations helping the foreign investor, government official or development organization to find solid and secure footing in their countries or regions. They are the CEO front men of foreign-owned companies, diligently navigating the corporate world on their behalf, never for once believing that they are simply being used to do in their skin color what the other skin color would never be able to do with such ease. Their presence as the local business leaders makes it easier for the multinational spear to yet again pierce the side of their nation and extract from their lands much-needed resources that would otherwise have been used for local purposes. They are the heads of the regional or local branch of an international NGO who are sent into government offices where the white man would otherwise struggle to gain access, in order to help their organization get approvals to engage in activities in their countries that have dubious objectives and even more dubious outcomes… most of which end up with project financing in the pockets of the top hierarchy of the NGO’s project managers than they do on the ground in actual transformative community work. The enablers are also the mid-level and junior staffers of the banks, consultancies, government offices, multinationals, you name it who work diligently to ensure their employers’ successes and interests are secure, for a mere pittance, all the while ignoring their consciences which are asking them – “Why are you selling out your own people in favor of the people who want to continue to pillage your continent? What are you doing?”

I’ve been there, so I know that this is the case. You are involved in a project that is supposedly for the benefit of Afrika or a specific community. You’re tasked with creating project plans, timelines, milestones and reports. In the process, you notice that resources allocated to the project were actually skewed in favor of certain people, regions and not actually for the benefit of those the project was created to target. You raise the issue and you are given the “shut up, or else” talk or look and you comply because, well, you have a mortgage or used car loan to pay off, or rent… or a lifestyle that you prefer to maintain rather than becoming the poster boy or girl to fight for justice for the lives of those whose destinies – like it or not – you are carrying in your hands. So, you turn a blind eye to the issue and choose yourself, and become another one of the system’s enablers – abandoning those who needed you most.

What are we doing, Afrika? Each and every single day that we commit our time, energy and resources to strengthen the system, businesses and organizations that are raping Afrika, we are the ones who are essentially gathering our people up, chaining them and handing them over to a white investor who wants to take over the land or maintain some form of control over it. Using our hands. Using our skin color and nationality as the passport, visa and work permit to conquer Afrika once again. For each decision we make to rubber stamp or sign off on a project or investment or whatever that enables their encroachment, we become the faces and hands of those who are actually finishing us off. How then can we even stand in a court of justice to demand what is ours – when in actual fact we are handing it away for salaries and benefits or investment packages that do not even really do any good for our continent?

“What do you mean they do not do any good? We have roads, hospitals, hundreds of thousands are employed and able to take care of their families! You’re wrong.” No. I’m not wrong. We have loans and debts and IMF/World Bank controlling and dictating our government policy and lifestyle realities. They decide how much our power, fuel and cooking gas will cost, who will get or retain jobs and which thousands will be laid off. They determine which roads will be built, why and when. They push policies which poison our bodies, soils and water and they expect us to take it, just like we took their blood money. No, dear brother and sister, I am right. They do us no good. Where, after over 60 years of independence are our working petroleum refineries and thriving petroleum industries? Where are our efficient electricity generation and distribution companies powering industries across the continent? Where are our own manufacturing enterprises which are using our local resources and creating greater economic empowerment for our people? Why are we still using ‘begging bowl’ diplomacy to run our affairs in our countries? Where are our own education curricula that are based on our needs with regard to identity and purpose and stage of growth, rather than those of the west? Where are our own products based on what is grown in our land? Where is our stand and position on poisonous agrochemicals and pesticides and alternatives to it? Where is our own healthcare system based on our cultural approaches to life instead of this blind mimicry of the west’s problematic so-called solutions? Where is our unity as a continent that allows our people to interact and trade freely and gives them advantage over the European, American or Chinese as opposed to what we see on the ground now?

You see, we cannot continue blaming the white man and his neo-colonial aspirations for Afrika’s problems, the time to face ourselves and deal with our own hearts and minds and the reality that we have not done what is required to get out of the holes that the enablers dug for our people is now. Actually, instead of digging ourselves out, we took shovels and dug ourselves in deeper. Now it is time to stop that and to get out. To do that, the enablers must understand their crimes against their people and stop what they are doing. To do that, we must stop pretending that Afrikans were perfect little lambs who were and are nothing but victims in the negative narratives playing out on the continent. To do that, we must face ourselves and grow up and choose a different path.

It’s time for a different season to hit Afrika, a season of growth and truth and healing. Let’s do that. Now.

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