Monday, being a holiday, was another opportunity for me to reconnect with the town, so I chose to go visiting Rudy Wilson, a retired African-American professor at SIUE who once again offered to host us at his beautiful home with his friends and family.
Amidst food, drinks and plenty discussions about race and its influence on/relevance to Africa, we spent a work-free day in a certain bliss and plenty talking. The topics we touched included very many issues both trivial and serious, be it the love of Cadillacs, the mapping of Africa, or the food and women of America to how we Africans have so far found the American beauties either in love and friendship. A topical issue that soon drew a longer discussion and participation is one of particular relevance to the many of us at the table. It had to do with why there is as yet no major and detailed academic curriculum in Nigerian schools (from primary to University) about Transatlantic Slavery, its evils, and the roles of 15th and 16th century Africans in sending their fellow countrymen and women into the white man’s boat.
My guess by the way of opinion is that the people in power today in West Africa could only have descended from the slave raiders and slave masters of those times. This is the only explanation I could give to explain why a people so brutally decimated have not retained a strong enough interest in passing down the story of that horrible crime. The prey never got a chance to speak, and so the story of the hunt has always favoured the hunter. I confess that all I know about slavery were not from any class textbooks but from many other secondary sources and my own independent research. Is it that slavery doesn’t matter much as a subject of discussion and research to the people whose ancestors were so badly betrayed? If we couldn’t have done anything about it
then, could we also have failed to grasp the importance of finding out and documenting what truly happened then, tracking if possible the line of people whose ancestors were most involved in the crime? The answer to that, my friends, is still blowing in the wind.