I was recently watching a stand-up comedy (the name eludes me) whereby the comedian comments on the people who make up USA and how they are the very best because of all the hardships they had to go through to get there. The Europeans were religiously prosecuted and had to cross the ocean to escape death and shit. Those of Mexican descent had to cross the border and start from nil; they were the bravest of their country. He then went on to mention how African Americans where brought into that country. They brought the strongest and biggest they could find.
This actually triggered a thought I’ve had since I read about the slave trade. Now before we go on let’s make it clear that slavery is wrong. That it still goes on today in various forms is one of the most shameful things that can be said of human beings. Now back in the day, a couple of centuries or less back, there were a few ways slaves were acquired. The main way was actually by buying them from Africans. This may seem weird until you think of it like this; the people being sold were mostly prisoners of war, criminals and other undesirables in society. An alternative was directly capturing people while they were about their business; this was dangerous because then the community may retaliate and also it makes it difficult to come back for more. It wasn’t very sustainable. Lastly, they’d entice children with sweets; this one is the most despicable of ways in my opinion.
Learning all this, I thought that there were two ways to look at the Africans that were left on the continent. One is that we were the weakest; the ones who felt couldn’t survive the journey which took several weeks, the most useless. The last way is that we were actually the strongest, the ones selling our enemies whom we had defeated in battle. We were cleverest; we defeated the other tribes and nations after all, right? Going with the latter train of thought, it makes me feel a little better that I come from such strong stock.
Of course, I’m from East Africa, and slaves were very rarely taken from this far. In fact when you actually look at slave trade it was mostly from Western and Northern Africa because they were unfortunate enough to be closest to America and Europe. I can’t stress enough how unfortunate it was that slavery happened but since it did and there’s little that can be done about it now might as well look at it from the bright side right? Peace!

Written by Sidney Ochieng

Child at heart and mind. Feminist. Story teller. Fledgling data scientist. Your future boss

2 Comments

Nicolette

I think we were the weakest. For to please the white man, and get the necessary returns, they would have had to give im the best. He must have made his demands, considering it was the agricultural age in the west. He must have asked for the best who can plough your fields for hours, the srong men who can really work etc. Considering they had guns, we must have given them our best. The tallest, strongest men. I have often wondered why Kenyan men are so short yet the great grandsons of the slaves in the west are really tall (just look at the NBA players). Same goes for congolese men, really short people. Anyway, that's just my theory. Height issues could be as a result of poor diet during the adolescent pubescent development stage. We may have been cleverer but definitely not the strongest. Criminals and prisoners of war would have been strong physically for very obvious reasons, i.e. stealing cows in the middle of the night while brandishing spears, machetes et al, was often done by the circumcised youth of society who were obviously at their prime physically i.e. agile etc, and prisoners of war would have been young men who went to war to prove their manhood by defending their community thus were in great physical shape. Think about it, you dont send old tired men to fight. You send your best. And just like football (go Chelsea!) or any game, even when the best collide, their must be a loser, and though strong, they become prisoners of war.

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cdooh

I think what you've said may have been true for the slaves they took from Nigeria but not from the eastern coasts of Africa. Thanks for commenting btw

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