There has to be more to the story.
America paints a picture of Africa like the only slavery that ever occurred was when the Europeans came in and forcefully extracted men, women, and children, from their homes without consent or prior knowledge. Nobody talks about the role that Africans played in slavery among their nations.
Before we traveled to the Slave River we first went to Salaga Slave Market an African slave trade site.
Even though now you can find people waiting for the tro tro or selling/purchasing goods, this used to be a focal point designated to the selling, purchasing, and trading of human beings. Here Africans would stand as potential buyers came and examined them to see of what use they would be. The more skilled the slave the higher the stake. To put a price tag on human life..
Our tour guide for this leg of the trip was soft-spoken but full of energy. He spoke with anger about how the Asante people would bring their own to the Salage Market to be sold, what seemed like the ultimate betrayal. But this was not an irregular occurrence for this time.
Here in Africa slavery has a history that spans farther back than the Europeans coming in at the beginning of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. In America history and facts as a nation are primarily passed odwn through textbooks and written forms of information. Because of this there is a limited pool of individuals to draw on for fact and perspective. But history here still has very strong oral tradition. The importance of oral story telling is something that stayed present in the African-American culture and still has strong ties today.
Depending on the site that we were at the perspective of the tour guide varied, but one thing seemed to be a common theme: the Asante were overcalled viewed as full of pride, overly confident, and key players in the inner-African slave trade that affected the lives of over 12 million. While the 12 million who were taken and traded faced some very harsh conditions people didn’t seem to mind that aspect that much. In the African Slave Trade those captured and sold into slavery tended to be prisoners of war, people who broke the law, or generally bad people. Some may even say the type of people that society wouldn’t miss. The theme of betrayal seemed to be the bigger issue. This is not an attitude that African-Americans have adopted. In African there is so much emphasis put on the importance of loyalty, support, and sticking together, in America? It seems to be every person for themselves.
Perspective is key in the telling of history and the reality is that none of us were alive during those days. Who are we to place blame on any one tribe or ethnic group and place on their shoulders the sole burden of buying and selling their own. Africa is a large continent made up of diverse, ethnic groups, religious groups, and religious affiliations. There were reasons that Africans were traded and sold in exchange for goods and raw materials, and the Asante were not the only ones to benefit.
As I was reading Where The Negroes Are Masters by Randy Sparks there were so many indicators that debunked the myth that Africans were taken completely against their will and without consent.
“The Fante welcomed European traders, and even though they allowed and encouraged the English to build a fort at Annamaboe, they were not subject to them in any way. Europeans often bristled at their inferior status and at the Fante’s assertion of their power and authority, and the seventeenth-century records show the English and the Fante working out their relationship day by day.” (Sparks, pg. 19)
Inner-African slave trade is what I would call and ugly truth about Africa. But it confirms the idea the while there have been racial hierarchies created where white supremacy reigns supreme power is still the ultimate social hierarchy topper. And until Africans experienced their first displacement from Africa they were in high supply of power.
“Perception is reality, and reality is in my world there is no black and white, only shades of K…”