• Slavery In Africa before colonisation
• How is Fatuma’s Voice Righting Africa’s Story?
• Who is Sonstar Peterson?
Billie Holiday’s 1939 harrowing hit Strange Fruit illuminated the scourge that was American racism. It was written by a white, Jewish high school teacher from the Bronx, Abel Meeropol, as a protest poem against the lynching of African Americans.
Africa Rising In Kenya is an open conversation that seeks to unpack the African Story. There are people who lived in an era characterised by the burning of flesh as routine, validated by the worth of being labelled a slave.
WHAT DID SLAVERY IN AFRICA REALLY LOOK LIKE?
Slavery existed in parts of Africa (like the rest of the world) and was a part of the economic structure of some societies for many centuries, although the extent varied. In many African communities, where land could not be owned, enslavement of individuals was used as a means to increase the influence a person had and expand connections.
Slave practices in Africa were used during different periods to justify specific forms of European engagement with the peoples of Africa. 18th century writers in Europe claimed that slavery in Africa was quite brutal in order to justify the Atlantic slave trade. Later writers used similar arguments to justify intervention and eventual colonization by European powers to end slavery in Africa.
While slavery had been banned in most European powers by 1848, the scramble for Africa was slowly gaining ground. Established empires, notably Britain, Portugal and France, had already claimed for themselves vast areas of Africa and Asia, and emerging imperial powers like Italy and Germany had done likewise on a smaller scale.
WHAT LED TO THE RISE OF EUROPEAN SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA?
With the dismissal of the aging Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck by Kaiser Wilhelm II, the relatively orderly colonisation became a frantic scramble. The 1884 Berlin Conference, initiated by Bismarck to establish international guidelines for the acquisition of African territory, formalised this “New Imperialism”. Between the Franco-Prussian War and the Great War, Europe added almost 23,000,000 km²—one-fifth of the land area of the globe—to its overseas colonial possessions.
During the Scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century, Western European powers divided Africa and its resources into political partitions at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. By 1905, control of almost all African soil was claimed by Western European governments, with the only exceptions being Liberia (which had been settled by African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia (which had successfully resisted colonisation by Italy).
Britain and France had the largest holdings, but Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Portugal also had colonies. As a result of colonialism and imperialism, a majority of Africa lost sovereignty and control of natural resources such as gold and rubber. Following the concept of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden”, some Europeans who benefited from colonisation felt that colonialism was needed to civilise Africans. This encouraged scientific racism.
AFRICAN STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
The African struggle for independence ensued. After World War II, the US and the African colonies put pressure on Britain to abide by the terms of the Atlantic Charter.
By the 1930s, the colonial powers had cultivated, sometimes inadvertently, a small elite of leaders educated in Western universities and familiar with ideas such as self-determination. These leaders came to lead the struggles for independence, and included leading nationalists such as Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Kwame Nkrumah (Gold Coast, now Ghana), Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal), and Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire).
As recent history depicts it, much of Africa’s development and well-being has been controlled from outside. We have been labelled names such as “third world” on the basis of slow or poor industrialization. In time, inferiority complex has taken center stage because of how the West painted religion, business, self-worth and politics to us, that we began living to celebrate their cultures and customs while erasing our own. This is the soul of neo-colonialism and brain washing.
CHANGEMAKER SONSTAR PETERSON IS RIGHTING AFRICA’S STORY:
Fatuma’s Voice hosts Barbadian born author, Sonstar Peterson, who is also a man out to change this narrative. Having lived and worked in Toronto, Canada, as a professional trainer & coach, apostle, dancer, choreographer, director, musical artist, songwriter, speaker, producer, and film maker, the father of Canadian hiphop recording artist, Tory Lanez, decided to dedicate his life to preach about the destiny of the black race. His belief in stronger black nations and spiritual black connotation inspired him to pen the book “The Destiny of The Black Race”.
Sonstar Peterson is passionate about Africans unlocking the prison in mind. He joins Fatuma’s Voice this Saturday in righting Africa’s story. Fatuma’s Voice invites you to this mouth-watering outing that promises to be uncomfortable, thought provoking and taxing. More music, more poetry, just as you like it.
Event: Fatuma’s Voice
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Venue: Pawa 254