What Slavery, Slave Trade and Colonialism means to Africa

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Gambia today holds an international colloquium on Slavery, Slave Trade and Colonialism to discuss pertinent issues on the topic.

The Government of The Gambia has taken the initiative of spearheading this international campaign gathering support for a successful tabling of the Resolution at the United Nations.

Although this may prove a hard nut to crack, it is essential that the truth about this age-old sin on the African race is made glaring, for the people of the world, especially the African youths, to know some aspects of the genesis of the myriad of problems Africa is today facing.

More than four hundred years of slavery and slave trade and the over 200 years of colonialism, and we dare say, the last 50 to 60 years of -Independence and nationhood in Africa – which is synonymous to neo-colonialism (the exploitation of African resources with the help of African statesmen and women) – have left Africa in the doldrums of developments.

On the other hand, while this situation has left Africa and the masses of African people poor and needy, exploiters of African resources are living in affluence in developed societies after amassing enormous wealth from the enslavement, trade and colonization of African people over the last six to eight centuries of human existence.

Facts of this reality can be found in many historical records, in books such as How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney; Slavery and Capitalism; Neo-Colonialism: the Last Stage of Imperialism by Dr Kwame Nkrumah (former president of Ghana), and Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang, who quoted the Roman politician and philosopher Gicen as having said, “Not to know what has been transacted in the former times is to be always a child.” Gicen also said: “If no use is made of the labours of the past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.”

It is, therefore, interesting that, in organizing this International Colloquium, the Government of The Gambia seeks to achieve the following: discuss and advance the frontiers of knowledge by exploring the impact of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade on Africa socio-economic, political and cultural life; establish the basis for reparations for the negative impact of slavery and colonialism on Africans and people of African descent; establish the scale on which African artifacts were carted away to Europe, thereby depriving the continent of valuable cultural and economic resources; undertake the exchanging and compiling of information on Slavery, Slave Trade and Colonialism, and set on making substantial intellectual contributions to the known history of Slavery, Slave Trade and Colonialism and by doing so explaining on the available literature.

However, while we are keen to discuss slavery, slave trade and colonialism, we are presently faced with what is the last stage of imperialism: neo-colonialism – the exploitation of African resources to the detriment of her teeming populations with the help of African statesmen and intellectuals.

“Racism, xenophobia and unfair discrimination have spawned slavery, when human beings have bought and sold and owned and branded fellow human beings as if they were so many beasts of burden.”

Desmond Tutu