Friday, 17 June 2016

We are a traveling people



As I read Laurence Hills' book "The Book of Negroes", which happens to be one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read, a couple of times, I came across the heroine, Aminata, calling negro slaves "traveling peoples". By this she meant, the slaves have been moved from Africa, over the turbulent seas to their destinations, then from one plantation to the other and in her own case, she found her way back to Sierra Leone, Africa and then journeyed back to London where she hoped she would be buried in-spite of her deep past desire to be buried on African soil. 

So, she concluded, since Negro slaves were moved about at the whims of their owners "we are traveling peoples". The phrase is hilarious to me for the misuse of the English language, it however holds a wealth of meaning as it relates to the experiences of Africans stolen from their homes and fatherland to be slaves in a foreign land.

It also resonates today when I look at Africans,  are we not still traveling peoples? Found on every surface of earthly soil, from Australia to Zimbabwe, well that is a country in Africa but I needed a Z' letter country. We leave trails of brain drain back in Africa. 
              
 By Jumoke Odepe



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