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Friday, December 1, 2023

Niumi recollections: How best to pay Kunta Kinteh a tribute?

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By Yahya Barrow

Long ago, there was an industry booming like how we have the tobacco, pharmaceutics and weaponry industry nowadays. This particular phenomenon would be the most horrendous and darkened period in the history of humankind. Many believe that these unfortunate phenomena still exist even though they argue that it took a different shape and dimension. It was neither justifiable nor genuine for any man to commit such an atrocity to his fellow man. This most heinous of crimes in human history is called ‘slavery’.
As I mentioned slavery, if the first thought that crossed your mind is Africans or black people, my dear you require a psychologist because you have a condition called ‘perception deception’. Slavery was a global phenomenon and only became racial at the disadvantage of the black people in the sixteenth century. By the way, the word ‘slave’ is in your mother tongue. Why is it there?
Very many Africans were captured and taken for slavery to the West. The number of which is not known; but what’s clear is that, the number is in millions. They seek to justify it by calling it pacification while I call it humiliation. And also, they make it seem like they have an obligation to civilize the world; but we refused to be indoctrinated. We aren’t taking every story just because the slave master wants us to believe it, but we’ll scrutinize every bit of history written for us. And in fact, we’ll write our own history. Slave raiders were taking Africans for slaves. And suffice that one is an African, you are eligible.
Dear Africans, why must we be divided today by class, caste, ethnicity and nationality when even the slave masters see us as one people? Our division only favors the oppressors. Our similarities far outweigh our differences. Our common goal and aspiration to the Promised Land should be shared value and vision. History has recorded numerous personalities that would be remembered till eternity, some for their good deeds, while others for their vice.
In the context of slavery, there was a man from the river side village in the Gambia that goes down in history and known by the entire world – his name is Kunta Kinta. Make no mistake, this humble soul was captured and taken for slavery. Is there any pride in being a slave? Does anyone celebrate being a slave? What then keeps this personality so special and evergreen in the hearts and minds of the oppressed people? The answer is not absolute and we don’t force our opinion on anyone, we only put forward our position as to the event that transpired.
Thinkers have no problem with different opinions but they possess the faculty to decipher chaff from seed and thrash the chaff. The man was and still is remembered for what he stood for. He stood firm against oppression and repression. He resisted the oppressor in every possible way and spent even his last energy in reiterating his position against oppression. We learn from this that one could be great and heroic in any given circumstance. Despite his inability to crush the enemy, he was adamant and firm in the cause he believed.
The history of Kunta Kinteh is an emotional one. I experienced an emotional roller-coaster myself while picking the pieces and traces of his history. At some point, he never relented on his desire to come back to Mother Africa even though the irony is true for many, if not all young Africans today. What was it about Africans that Kunta Kinteh never wished to live in America? I wished I could have asked this question to him. His legacy still worths celebration. An island was named after him, one which was first named after a Portuguese by the name St. Andrew and later named after a British in the person of James.
‘No condition is permanent’. The daylight would ultimately come after a long night. The rain would stop and the sun would shine again. There is light at the end of the tunnel, so just keep moving. That island which used to be hell for Africans is the very island we go to for fun today. Africa will rise and we shall regain our glory.
Dear Africans, these are dark days that happened in our history. Neither can we deny them nor can we erase them. But apparently, we can move on from their shackles. Don’t believe that our fate is slavery and we shall only be a slave. In the name of religion, many are stuck in bondage for a servant of servant they believe to be. In the name of civilization, many Africans have subscribed to the most idiotic of ideologies and immorality. In the pretext of human rights, our values and beliefs are being attacked. I bow to the only Supreme Creator through Islam.
This article is what my trip to Niumi probed. Hey, but Niumi is nice deh. The early morning milk and Cherreh for breakfast wouldn’t let me leave the place. Secka Baye would give me a plot. Lol! Call me foodie, I call myself an epicure. Salimina’s Jurunku is a household name; congrats my man. The deeply cultured nature and hospitable people the Niuminkas are left me with the impression that life is still good. Niumi has a sound standing in history and her people are phenomenal. I wish I am a native of Batou Saidy’s village. That way, I would have the license to tease them some way.

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