For over three centuries, we Africans have blamed the experiences of slavery on the Europeans, Arabs and the Americans. We recount our ordeals and we wish we never encountered them.
Not every slave that was shipped out from Africa was sold by we Africa. Many were stolen by Caucasians and Arabs. But for the few of our own that we sold, we should say sorry. We need to. They need to hear it.
History is littered with accounts of how Africans were ferried across the oceans, to build foreign civilizations. How we died in our thousands because of harsh weather conditions and unfavorable man-made conditions. We remember and we curse under our breaths.
But one aspect we hardly talk about is the role of our own brethren in these ordeals. Though it is most painful to recount how brother sold brother for mirrors, guns, silver spoons, iron bars, cotton, wool, linen, whiskey, gin, metal wares, and assorted wines; We must be bold enough to admit our human errors. Or would I say, the errors of those that lived before us.
Oral and written historical accounts tell us that more slaves were taken from Africa than any other continent of the world. And it is safe to say that for every 10 African taken into slavery, 5 were sold by someone from their tribe. The other 5 were taken forcefully by slave merchants. Although this rough statistic of those sold would apply to the 3rd and 4th quarters of the licensed slave era.
It was recounted that in the early 1500’s, slaves were transported from West Africa to America through Badagry, in Lagos, Nigeria. No fewer than 550,000 African slaves were exported from Badagry to America during the period of the American Independence in l787.
Added to this number were hundreds of thousands more from Ghana, Togo, Benin, East, South and Central Africa. Many of these our brethren were taken to Brazil, the Caribbean, Europe and Arab, never to set foot on the lands of their birth again.
I believe, a time has come for a brotherly apology to those of our brethren who cannot trace their roots back. Those who know deep down that they have blood ties with Africa, but cannot connect nor reach out to any tribe. A time has come for us to reach out and let them understand that we are sorry for bad mistakes. A time has come to let them know there is a “Home for them here in Africa.”
The African Union, if it is to live up to its responsibilities, should make as part of its agenda, a continent-wide apology to every descendent of the Negro race living outside Africa. The Igbo have a saying that “the anger caused by a sibling does not get to the bone.” Although there has been anger and resentment from our brethren, I believe there is nothing a heartfelt apology cannot do. It might not happen with the snap of a finger, but over time, with true intents, old wounds would be healed.
Often times on social media, you would see African-Americans referring to Africans as black monkeys. They think of Africa as a jungle. Then you find Africans returning the insults and calling them all sorts of names. You sit back and wonder: what is wrong with our people? Why does brother despise brother, just because they now belong to different continents?
If a keen observer of history would answer the above question, he would say: “There is deep-seated anger in the heart of the African-American, which has been passed down generations. It is anger for slavery. A fit of anger for how they were treated by their brothers and sisters. And also, there is ignorance on the part of the African back home.
This ignorance is because many of the young people in Africa, have no basic knowledge of our history. If they knew better, they might actually sound better and politer to our brethren in other continents.
Africa’s problems are steadily increasing. Also, African Americans have their own fair share of problems facing them. We need all hands on deck. We need colored people all around the world to see Africa as home. Africa needs to open its arm in love. We can’t keep being at each other’s neck. For if we do, we will keep being laughed at by other races of the world. Africa and Africans must apologize wholeheartedly for slavery, to create an atmosphere for the unity of purpose between all colored people worldwide.
My name is Chuka Obiwuru Nduneseokwu. I am Igbo by tribe. I did not participate in slavery. But for every of my ancestor that did, I apologize. I am deeply sorry. And I am sure, many Africans who are sorry will join me to spread this message.
Article Written By Chuka Nduneseokwu