Stop treating Africans like they are children


Ozodi Osuji


      Three days ago, at social media, a Nigeria wrote about the need for white America to pay reparations to their ex-slaves. I piped in and said that I agree with him but added that Africans, too, must pay reparations to African Americans and African Arabs. At that point he told me that I know nothing about the Transatlantic slave trade. I decided to give him a little lecture on the subject. Below is what I said to him.


    Mister (I remove his name), I know something about the Transatlantic slave trade that you accused me of knowing nothing about. I could author a book on that subject but given the few minutes that I can give a response to your apparent condescending and patronizing response to my statement that Africans, too, ought to pay reparation to those they sold, let me give you a brief history of the subject.

     Arabs were buying Africans as long ago as when Mohammad (570-632) was alive; Mohammad had African slaves.

     In West African history, we learn that Trans Saharan slave trade existed before Mohammad. Mansa Musa (1280-1337), the great king of Mali, went on a hajj to Mecca in 1324; he went with thousands of slaves that he sold to Arabs.

“When Mansa Musa, a Muslim, took a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, he reportedly brought a procession of 60,000 men and 12,000 slaves. Slavery was prevalent in many West and Central African societies before and during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.” Web “Find Any Answer.”

     In East Africa, Arabs bought African slaves and used them in the Arab world and on their Indian ocean island plantations for spice growing. Zanzibar was the epicenter for Arab slavery for over one thousand years.

“From the ninth century, Swahili merchants on Zanzibar operated as brokers for long-distance traders from both the hinterland and Indian Ocean world. Persian, Indian, and Arab traders frequented Zanzibar to acquire East African goods like gold, ivory, and ambergris and then shipped them overseas to Asia. Similarly, caravan traders from the African Great Lakes and Zambezian Region came to the coast to trade for imported goods, especially Indian cloth. Before the Portuguese arrival, the southern towns of Unguja Ukuu and Kizimkazi and the northern town of Tumbatu were the dominant centers of exchange. Zanzibar was just one of the many autonomous city-states that dotted the East African littoral. These towns grew in wealth as the Swahili people served as intermediaries and facilitators to merchants and traders.[21] This interaction between Central African and Indian Ocean cultures contributed in part to the evolution of the Swahili culture, which developed an Arabic-script literary tradition. Although a Bantu language, the Swahili language as a consequence today includes some borrowed elements, particularly loanwords from Arabic, though this was mostly a 19th-century phenomenon with the growth of Omani hegemony. Many foreign traders from Africa and Asia married into wealthy patrician families on Zanzibar. Particularly Asian men, who “wintered” on the coast for up to six months because of the prevailing monsoon wind patterns, married East African women. Since most Asian traders were Muslim, their children   inherited their paternal ethnic identity, though East African matrilineal traditions remained key.” Wikipedia

       Now pay attention to the origin of the Transatlantic slave trade. In 1453 Turks captured Constantinople, and renamed it Istanbul, and established the Ottoman empire. They prevented Europeans from going to India and China for trade, through the overland route called Silk Road; Marco Polo, 1254-1324, used that land route to get to China.

     Unable to get to India through land, Europeans sought a sea route to India.

     Prince Henry the navigator of Portugal established a sailing school at Lagos, Portugal in 1460. His sailors, who included Christopher Columbus, began exploring the West African coast. They got to Benin (in present Nigeria) in the 1470s; Bartholomew Diaz got to South Africa, Cape of Good Hope, in 1488 and in 1494 Vasco Da Gama got to India.

      As the Portuguese were in the Indian ocean, they saw Arabs using African slaves in their plantations.

      In 1500 the Portuguese got to Brazil and tried using the natives to work in their plantations and those either died or fled into the forest, so the Portuguese looked to West Africa as a source of slaves (they did not want to go to East Africa for that would mean fighting with the Arabs who had already cornered the market for African slaves from East Africa).

      Whereas Portugal intended to get to India by circling Africa, Spain and Christopher Columbus decided to go west into the Atlantic Ocean hoping to get to India in so doing. Columbus got to the West indies in 1492; he thought that he got to India and called the local population Indians, and that false name has stuck since then (we still call the indigenous people of the Americas Indians, thanks to Columbus).

     The Portuguese came to West Africa and had Africans sell their people to them. This is the origin of the transatlantic slave trade. The first African slaves got to Brazil in 1530.

      Since you are an Aro Igbo, your Aro people conspired with the Portuguese and sold Igbos to Efik folks at Calabar and to Ijaw folks at Bonny; the Efik and Ijaw thereafter resold the Igbos to the Portuguese and those were brought to America beginning in 1530.

      It was your Aro Igbos and their mercenaries, Abriba and Ngwa people, who roamed around Alaigbo and captured their fellow Igbos and marched them to the coast and sold them to the Portuguese and later to the Dutch, English and French.

     See Olaudah Equiano’s book on how Aro people captured him and his sister, both under twelve years of age, and marched them to the coast and sold them in the early 1700s and from there they were brought to the Caribbeans and later to Virginia as slaves.

     The same process took place all over coastal West Africa, from Senegal to Namibia. Europeans parked their boats at the coast and Africans brought slaves to them. Europeans tried to go into the African hinterland but died from Mosquito bites and its malaria.

     Around 1820 quinine was discovered by French scientists; thereafter, white folks no longer died as they entered interior Africa.

     Europeans like Mungo Park, Landers and Clapperton, and David Livingstone began exploring interior Africa.

     In the mid-1800s there was scramble for Africa; Europeans carved up Africa and formalized their possessions at the Berlin Conference of 1884/5.

     In sum, Africans sold their people to Arabs and Europeans hence they were as evil as the Arabs and Europeans that bought Africans.

     Africans must pay reparations to African Arabs and African Americans. There are many African Iranians, so Africans must also pay reparations to them.

     Africans roamed around Africa, captured their people, and sold their people and now see themselves as innocent victims, when, in fact, they were as culprit as those they sold their people to.

     At the psychological level, just visualize how Africans lived during the four hundred years (1500-1900) that your Aro people and other African slave catchers were running around Africa, capturing and selling their people to foreigners. They lived under tremendous fear and many of them developed post traumatic stress disorder from always anticipating been captured and sold and hiding from slave catchers.

    Your Aro people gave Igbos PTSD and therefore were criminals and need to be punished for what they did rather than understood as mere businesspeople selling to white folks what they wanted to buy.


      Africans, to the present, are still suffering from the psychological impact of slave raiding in their world. They still have PTSD and other emotional issues from their ancestors’ dreadful experience during slavery.

     Africans made it a habit of attacking and destroying each other’s villages, raiding for human beings to be sold, and this has left the imprint of sense of powerlessness seen in contemporary Africans, their lack of self-assertion that has disposed them to tolerate the criminals ruling them without standing up to them and fighting for social and economic justice.

     Slavery so warped Africans minds that the only way they now know how to live is to put each other down; they have no love and respect for each other.

     It will take some time to repair contemporary Africans warped minds so that they no longer exist to destroy but to uplift each other. At present, upon the slighted disagreement they kill each other in intertribal wars; this is largely because they see their lives as having no worth and meaning.

     Why would a loving people sell their people? Only evil people, motivated by money and greed, sold their people.

     Aro established a phony religion and had judges and so-called priests in Igbo villages and asked folks to bring their cases to their judges and priests for settlement; those found guilty were taken to Arochukwu, put through the tunnel of Aro long juju, and at the other end slave buyers got them and sold them to Efik people who resold them to white folks.

     Aro people devastated southern Igbos. They committed crimes against Igbos and now blame it on the white man that they sold Igbos to.

     Many Nigerians are still doing the same thing today, stealing moneys meant for their people’s development and blaming the lack of development of their people on white folks, and so-called neocolonialism and imperialism.

      What exactly did Aro people do with all the money they made from selling Igbos; I heard that they used it to buy expensive French liquor and bought “Ozo titles” and masqueraded around as African big men.

     At least, white men used the profits they made from slavery, capital accumulation, to industrialize Western Europe and America. Aro drank alcohol with the blood profits they made from slavery.


   It is about time that Africans accepted responsibility for the psychological and economic pain they inflicted on their fellow Africans by capturing and selling them to Arabs and Europeans. They must accept ownership of the evil they did and apologize to African Americans, African Arabs.

     No nobody can change his behavior unless he accepts responsibility for it; if you deny ownership of your mistakes,’ you cannot change them. Since Africans deny responsibility for their mistake in selling their people, in the present they keep on making similar mistakes, such as maltreating their people as their ancestors did.

     Africans must make amends for their iniquitous behaviors of selling their people and promise to behave in a loving and caring manner; they cannot keep on behaving like Satan itself and then ask the world to see them as innocent; indeed, they ask the world to see them as victims and some of their most misguided ones want  the West to pay them reparation for selling their people; imagine the upside down  morality that led to such outrageous thinking.

     Liberal Westerners play Africans 419 game and see them as victims. In the atmosphere of today’s political correctness, people in the West are afraid to see Africans for what they are, folks with hard hearts and who if left alone, even today, would resume capturing and selling their people to buyers.

     We must hold Africans responsible for their past and present evil behaviors instead of making excuses for them.

     We must now treat them as we treat adults, have them take the consequences of their anti-social behaviors.

     Africans must pay a price for selling their people and for currently stealing from their people.

     I suggest that Africans pay several trillion dollars to  those they sold into slavery in the Americas and Arabia; in Africa itself that they design a legal system whereby if you steal the people’s money, even a penny, you are sentenced to  twenty-five years prison term and sent to the Sahara and Kalahari deserts and  you are used to plant and water trees there and transform the arid lands to the forested lands that they used to be.

      I have no sense of compassion and pity for corrupt Africans; I want to punish them for their evil past and present uncaring behaviors.

     Now you know where I am coming from.

     Go right ahead and call me a colonized mind or say that I have low self-esteem and blame myself for the sin of other persons. I could care less what you choose to call me.

      I stand for the truth not your 419 lies that sold your people and steal from them and blame those you sold your people to.

     Of course, the slave buying Arabs and Europeans must also be made to pay reparation to African Arabs and African Americans; however, they are not the subject of this writing. It is not that I ignore their crime, I wrote about those elsewhere.

    Some Africans accused me of been obsessed with Africa’s past evils, of always harping on the mistakes that Africans made before slavery was stopped; they say that it suggests that I do not like Africans. There is a saying that always pointing out people’s immoral behavior and not pointing out their good behavior seem to suggest that one does not like them.

     The problem is that in the present Africans are still messing up, big time. I do not hate Africans; I am totally committed to the modernization of Africa.

     Regarding those who say that writing about Africa’s ill is all I know how to do, well, they have not looked at my writing on different subjects!

     I am fully cognizant that saying negative things about people may damage their self esteem and to avoid having low self-esteem they say equally dreadful things about the person who said terrible things about them hence their negative view of me. I understand Africans defensive response to me; people want you to say wonderful things, not dreadful things about them and their people.

     Finally, despite what I said about your Aro people, I still like you as a person; there is nothing personal in what I wrote in this piece.


Ozodi Osuji

November 7, 2021

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