Archive for slavery

Poetic Politics?

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Mother Africa, North America with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Lyndall Beddy, a South African columnist with News Time, recently wrote an article in what she calls Poetic Politics. I could not get through the whole article before knowing I needed to respond. She wrote,

“European Colonial Doctors, not Indigenous Healers, cured Africa’s diseases: leprosy, yellow fever, bilharzia [sic], malaria, sleeping sickness et al . . . in most of Africa the faith of the people was in cannibalism (body part medicine), witchcraft and spirits. And far from understanding animals, they were afraid of most of them. My own char is too afraid still of frogs or spiders to go near them and I have to evict them from the house.”

Well, that was her opinion, and this is mine . . .

Let’s start with  actual facts. These diseases are collectively known as tropical diseases. They were so named because they thrive in warm climates. They also thrive in communities that are victims of poverty and malnutrition. Malnutrition is a result of poverty. Malnutrition leads to medical disorders and leaves you vulnerable to more diseases. Before colonists came to Africa, communities (villages)  were not victim of poverty. Do not forget Africa was a rich continent and this is what drew the colonist.

Beddy also wrote,

“As I have explained, black American descendents of slaves made up a culture and history of an Africa that was perfect until the nasty whites went to Africa and captured blacks as slaves from this perfect world (which, by the way, was monogamous in the Kwanza Cult version)”.

Kwanza is not a cult. As you should know (since you call yourself an amateur historian), Kwanza is a celebration. It originated in Africa and was adopted in America by members of the African Diaspora in an effort to regain ties with our heritage. As an amateur historian did you not know that slavery robbed the American born members of the African Diaspora of knowledge of our ancestry?

Beddy also wrote,

“The truth is that whites had no resistance to malaria, and did not even enter the interior of Africa until a cure had been found for malaria . . . It was white doctors, during the European colonial period, who found the cures for the many illnesses of Africa, often at considerable risk to their own lives.”

Beddy, the truth is, the colonists were not forcibly taken to Africa in chains. They willfully entered Africa, at their own risk, for their own benefit. I am sure they could barely wait to enter Africa’s interior and “discover” more riches.

Beddy says she is an anti-racist activist, yet she said,

“. . .  in most of Africa the faith of the people was in cannibalism (body part medicine), witchcraft and spirits. And far from understanding animals, they were afraid of most of them. My own char is too afraid still of frogs or spiders to go near them . . .”

In fact, a good lesson to learn in being an activist against racism is not to make racist statements. Have you worshipped with people who practice their traditional or indigenous faith enough to “understand” their faith? Is it not the “spirit” of Jesus that is the cornerstone of the Christian faith? Do you understand “frogs and spiders?”

Global Racism Directed At Descents of Africa

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Europe, HISTORY, Latin America, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, South America with tags , , , , on July 4, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Have the descents of Africa been a global target of racism? If so why? The issue of racism has often been addressed. Focus has been placed on the injustice of it, areas where racism manifests itself, and combating it. Seldom do we focus on why it was created, why it still exists, or why its targeted races are chosen.

Ignoring these essential questions allows the continued growth of racism, because it allows the survival of the root. What is at the root of racism?  Consider these components:

  1. Basis – Ignorance and Arrogance
  2. Division – Based on Differences
  3. Justification – Absents of Guilt

Racism is based on not understanding groups of people different from you. Couple ignorance with feelings of superiority to the new group, and the result is arrogance. There is usually an economic basis to institutionalized racism. History reveals greed as a consistent factor.

Historical Examples of Greed

Descents of Africa have been targets of this sort of racism for centuries. Proclaiming these groups as less than human justified the continued discrimination and inhumane treatment. Examples of this sort of racism can be found globally.

In an article on racism, Anup Shah said this about racism . . .

“Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns.”

African Palestinians

Posted in Europe with tags , , on May 29, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

African Palestinians live in parts of the West Bank, Jenin, Rafah, Jericho, and Jerusalem.  The Jerusalem African Palestinian community is located in a neighborhood that was once home to a prison. It dates back to 1260 BC and is known as the Prison of Slaves.

Africans of Sudan, Senegal, Nigeria, Chad, and other countries migrated to Palestine for the jihad, the struggle to defend the Muslin nation of Palestine. Although Africans have been in Palestine for centuries, most people know little about this migration.

Recommended reading on the subject:

The Cambridge Survey of World Migration

Canaan in the Second Millennium

Religions of the Africans Forced into Slavery

Posted in HISTORY, Mother Africa, North America with tags , , , on May 2, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

What was the religion of the Africans that were abducted or sold into slavery? In the U.S., Slaves were forced to reject the religion of their home and learn Christianity. In South, Central, and Latin Americas they were able retain or blend their traditional religion with Christianity.  What religions were they forced to reject?

Religions of the enslaved Africans of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade depended on the region of Africa where the abduction happened.  Africa is a land of diversity with many ethnic groups, cultures, languages, and religions. During the slave trade there were high numbers of indigenous or traditional religions. Others had converted to Islam which was brought to Africa by Arab and Indian traders. I could not find clear records of the religion in each region at the time.

Abduction Regions & Their Religions:

  • Windward Coast (Ivory Coast) – Akan and Muslim
  • Gold Coast (Ghana) – Traditional
  • Bright of Benin (Nigeria) – Traditional
  • Sierra Leone – Traditional and Muslim
  • Central and Southeastern Africa (Cameroon – N. Angola) – Bantu religion
  • West Central – Orishas, Akan, and Ifa
  • Senegambia –  Muslim

Traditional religions included: Akan, Ifa, Orisha, La Reglas de Congo, and Mami Wata.

Christianity, like Islam, was first introduced to Northern Africa. From Egypt it worked its way southward. Catholic missionaries brought Christianity to African.  There were Africans that learned the teachings of Jesus first hand.

Cuban History of Slavery

Posted in HISTORY, Latin America with tags , , on April 24, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

The Cuban population has an estimated 63 to 70 percent African heritage. When Christopher Columbus made his “discovery” Cuba was thought to be part of North America. In 1513, four Africans were brought to Cuba as slaves. From 1517 to 1726 kidnapped Africans were brought to Cuba in large numbers for the purpose of slavery.  Mainly, the enslaved Africans were free laborers in the gold mines.

In 1526, slaves were granted the right to purchase their freedom under the Cedula real (royal writ). The first slave uprising took place in 1533 at the Jobabo mines. Four slaves fought and killed Spanish soldiers at the mines. The slaves’ heads were removed and put on display to ease colonists’ fears and discourage more revolts.

It did not stop the rebellion. In 1538, slaves teamed with French pirates and burned the city of Havana. In 1682, Blacks were not allowed asylum in the Church, nor were they allowed to sing funeral masses. The struggle between the Spanish crown, Christian colonists, and the African slaves continued. In 1687, Cuban priest were ordered by the Papal (Pope), to covert African beliefs to the Catholic faith.

In support of the successful sugar production, in 1789, King Charles III issued a codex for slaves to “toil” in Cuban fields from the age of 17 to the age of 60. Slaves were to be fed, clothe, and instructed in Catholicism.

In 1806, Africans founded an organization to promote African identify and religion. Matanzas AfroCuban cabildo members bought the freedom of other slaves.

Slave revolts continued until 1832.  At that time there were over 287,000 slaves in Cuba.

Alex Haley’s “Roots”

Posted in HISTORY, Mother Africa, North America with tags , , on March 3, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

This “landmark in television entertainment” reveals history in more than one way. The introduction alone revealed the same attitude towards Africans that was later seen in the movie held by the character called Slaughter. The narrator’s description of Africa as being “primitive” covertly belittled African civilization; Slaughter overtly characterized African civilization as savage and cannibal.  Americans got a look into the ugly face of enslavement and early racism as never before seen on television.  At the time, programs on television with all-star African descent casts were few. Especially rare was programs by an African descent writer about the culture and ways of  Africans.

Roots gave us insight on whom Africans were before enslavement, colonialization, or any type of Diaspora occurred. Roots gave us a glimpse on religious and cultural aspects of life including birth, naming, puberty, responsibilities, and war.

Thanks to for sharing these Alex Haley “Roots” clips.


Posted in HISTORY, Mother Africa with tags , , , on February 21, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

In 1839, an enslaved African named Joseph Cinque led a revolt against his captors on a ship named the Amistad. Cinque was taken from the Mendi tribe in Nigeria and first taken to Cuba in violation of Spanish law. After the revolt, Cinque and his men ordered the ship’s crew to return to African.  An U.S. warship seized the ship off the coast of Long Island and towed it to New London, Connecticut with the intensions to return the captives to Cuba.

Abolitionists hired a lawyer, Roger Baldwin, to defend Cinque and the other Africans. Hartford federal judge declared the Africans were free persons defending their freedom. President Martin Van Buren was instructed to return them to Africa. Those in favor of returning them to Cuba appealed the decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Former President John Quincy Adams defended Cinque and fellow Africans. In the case of the U.S. v. the Amistad, Justice Joseph Story found that the Africans had been enslaved illegally and thus no treaties could be applied.

Abolitionists raised money to return Cinque and fellow Africans home.