Slavery and The Steps to Our Liberation,” author Teekay Akin (Akinyemi Adeseye) asks the question ―Why can’t we break free from this mentality that has got us down this destructive road? Economic systems are defined through various stages of modes of productions that characterise a particular epoch of human journey and development, it being feudalism, slavery or colonisation. It was mainly during slavery that many Africans were abducted from their natural habitat of peaceful Africa and forcefully taken to work in the white owned plantations and factories in Europe and the Americas.
Many Africans have lost their lives at the hands of slave traders and slave masters. Many were thrown into rough seas due to their ill-health as they were deemed not be be valuable commodities. Some were thrown because they didn’t cooperate with their abductors. Many were lynched as they attempted to escape, whilst many more were thrown to seabed because they died in transit due to torture and engineered starvation which was used as a control mechanism.
The seabed became a mass grave of proud sons and daughters of the soil.
And to date the seabed is littered with their bones, scattered all over the oceans’ sands. These Africans died longing to one day return to their birth place. Their undefeated, resilient and warrior souls hover over oceans, planes and hills of foreign territories as they wonder for eternity searching for peaceful rest. Today the state of African working class, in the context of post feudalist, slavery and colonialist systems is characterised by dominance of capitalist mode of production which created a unipolar system of political economy.
Akin poignantly illustrates the pervasive cause of the disenfranchisement
and oppression of Africans throughout the world. This being the reality we
continue to face daily. The present African working class remains
disenfranchised amid post colonial African countries’ over reliance on
former colonists for economic and political survival. The socioeconomic
situation of African working class remains dire despite multiple
multinational declarations by world bodies and super powers who continue
to promise political and economic liberation but fails to do so. Many post
colonial African states are subjugated to their former colonial masters who even determine their economic policies and leadership.
As the forum of political elites and captains of industries which is called the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa concludes its rhethorical business in Durban – South Africa, it ironically coincide with the declared International Worker’s Month. But unfortunately the socioeconomic status of the African working class (both the employed and unemployed) continues to worsen.
It is evident that class partitioning between the haves and have-not which
is characterized by abnormal patterns of ownership and access to wealth is
such that very few command control over world’s 90% of means of production
and majority is scrambling for insignificant 10%.
The tragedy of our times is that as our forefathers fought against crossing the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas, the current generation is fighting to crossover because their country’s economies are failing to meet their social aspirations. This is made even worse by poor leadership in some parts of the continent and continuing exploitation of Africa’s natural resources by multinational conglomerates.
As Akin proclaims, ‘We have taken all those chains of our slavery and
burdens and tied them firmly around our own necks. Therefore, the realism
of true freedom can only be actualized through removing the mental shackles and creating an insurrection against the proverbially corrupt slave masters in both political and religious arenas.’
The current situation requires the workers movements in the continent to
unite and organise the working class to fight a just and protracted political economy war which its conclusion will be socialisation of means of production.
Rhulani Thembi Siweya is the founder of Africa Unmasked and an NEC member of the ANCYL, she writes in her capacity as patron of Africa Unmasked.