Sunday, February 04, 2007

African People's Self-Liberation

On Tuesday, I attended one of Brother Omowale’s talks at South Bank University’s Pan-Afrikan Society. See details below.

Brother Omowale is an excellent, very knowledgeable speaker. I had intended to leave the meeting early but I just could not leave, so transfixed was I by this brother’s words.

He spoke at length about the fact that African people liberated ourselves from enslavement. We did not wait for someone like William Wilberforce to say to Parliament that the ‘slave trade’ should be made illegal. The Transatlantic trade had been going on for 300 years before he decided it should be abolished.

I found this meeting so inspiring. This was the first time I had attended this series of talks, but I plan to go again.

Brother Omawale started off by saying that this year, we are going to be hearing so much about William Wilberforce as if he were some kind of hero, but African people liberated ourselves in all sorts of ways. These included things like publishing books and pamphlets, and giving public talks. Of course, I knew this already. My mother used to teach me about Black people’s resistance to enslavement from the time I was a young child. But it is useful to remember this in the context of the ‘Wilberforce fest’ which is about to descend upon us.

For example, see Frederick Douglass’s “My Bondage and My Freedom”.
The introduction tells us that, having visited England, Douglass decided to publish a newspaper “against the wishes and the advice of the leaders of the American Anti-Slavery Society”.

One story Brother Omowale told was of a slave ship which was freed by the Africans on board. Sometimes, the women were allowed onto the decks of the ships so that the ships’ crews could use them sexually. Apparently, one group of sistahs worked out where the guns were kept, where the keys were kept, and which ship had fewer guards on it. Then they took over the ship and liberated the brothas from below decks.

Usually, when African people took over a ship, they would kill most of the Europeans, but keep one or two alive to navigate the ship back to Africa. But these sistahs were so angry with the white men, they killed them all. Unfortunately, this meant nobody could steer the ship back to Africa, so eventually they were caught.

See also: Soul Survivors.


The meeting overran by about an hour, and nobody wanted to leave. On the contrary, more and more people kept coming in all evening. They had to keep putting out more chairs. I found it heartwarming to see so many Black people wanting to connect with our history and our heritage. Many of the people there were very knowledgeable already, but I think we all learned something.

Venue for Pan-Afrikan Society Meetings:

London South Bank University, London Road Building, London, SE1

Meetings start @ 5:30pm

Tues, 6th Feb: PAS Room: L119
Ways to Overcome the William Wilberforce Propaganda (Part 1)

Tues, 13th Feb: Brother Omowale Room: L119
Ways to Overcome the William Wilberforce Propaganda (Part 2)

Tues, 3th Feb: Dr Rashid Room: L120
The Truth about Valentines Day

Tues, 20th Feb: PAS Room L119
Screening: 'The Assassination of Malcolm X'

For more information call: 07908 204788

1 comment:

Metaphysically Speaking said...

Hi Zhana, I just found your blog via black success. I just wanted to to support what you said about brother Omowale's talk at the South Bank. He is an old colleague of mine from my days as a radio host at Galaxy radio where he is a presenter doing excellent work. I wanted to link with you and thank you for posting the info on your blog. Work like this is so much needed. Warmest Regards, Diana.