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Sunday, 07 February 2016 18:36

Is Ignorance Become Our Master?

''The Queen of England from the lands who brought you Christianity doesn't kneel in the church of England nor does she kneel for the god or Jesus, but the Ooni of Ife, a sacred lineage and position that preceded that of England, preceded Christianity now feels the need to insult our culture, people, intelligence and dignity by kneeling in some church! This is just disgusting!''- Teekay Arabambi Akin. 

When will this nonsense stop? When will the Yoruba stop installing fools and Eurocentric as Oba? These are the people who are supposed to uphold our spirituality.  Olalekan Olabisi. 

Religion will prefers mankind to remain ignorance and unintelligent through the weapon of myth... etc. forever. The White Race Prostituted our Culture and Tradition, Fornicated our Ethics and Raped our Ancestral shrines. Proliferating their psychedelic and adulterated beliefs thereof relegating our salubrious custom to a referendum etc. How could they have suddenly turn around and give us Something Good??

A religion they don't even believe in (Christian). A Strategic Imperialistic Hegemony!!! A king Does not teaches a subject to become a king, instead he teaches him how to remain a submissive subject and give birth to a submissive Race.. The white man has always seen us as Slaves!!! Mishandle and misremember our cognitive wits! And his ideas about us and wishes for us is all about Merchandise. 

Ile-Ife existed before history and born of Jesus Christ birth,  – Late Ooni of Ife Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade said in Ibadan that Ile-Ife had been in existed over 10,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, and even before Oyo town, warning people against distortion of history.

Published in Opinions

“We think of ourselves as Wal-Mart’s African investment vehicle,” said Grant Pattison, Massmart’s chief executive. “I think the global economy has got so bad that there’s a realization that with South America, India and Asia tapped . . . there’s only one large billion-sized population left in the world, and that is Africa.” 

So far, it has been South African companies, the continent’s largest and most sophisticated, that have been leading the charge. 

Shoprite, Africa’s biggest retailer, last month announced the opening of its first store in Kinshasa, capital of Congo, a country better known for conflict and crisis than shopping. Shoprite has operations in 17 African countries and about 115 supermarkets outside South Africa. 

Woolworths, a Cape Town-based retailer, has plans to open 14 stores outside its home market this financial year and to almost double its stores across the continent, excluding South Africa, to 104 in the next two to three years. 

John Fraser, who heads Woolworths’ international division, said the expansion has been encouraged by the conscious effort African governments are making to diversify their economies away from dependence on resources. But, he added, “the other thing that’s happening for us is increasing urbanization in Africa . . . and a growing middle class, which is really our target customer.” 

Woolworths has stores in a dozen countries outside South Africa, and its sales outside South Africa have tripled in the past two years, Fraser said. 

Oil-rich countries such as Nigeria, Angola and Ghana are among the markets being targeted. But for all the enthusiasm and potential, the hurdles can be daunting — Africa’s 1 billion people are spread across 54 diverse countries with different cultures, languages and demographics. There are sizeable bureaucratic and logistical barriers, and searching for the requisite real estate can be a big stumbling block. Massmart, for example, has been unable to secure the property it needs to break into Angola and Kenya. 

Massmart opened its first store outside of South Africa in the mid-1990s in Botswana and has operations in 12 countries. It has two stores in Nigeria — deemed the golden goose of the retailing sector — and hopes to open another four in the country. But it could take years reach its targets, primarily because of issues of finding the right property, Pattison said. “It’s very, very difficult. . . . It’s a complicated country, no doubt about that,” he said. 

Still, Pattison said that the harder it is to operate, the “more profit opportunity there is,” and Massmart is planning to open food retail outlets across the continent. “People moving from a rural lifestyle to an urban lifestyle need to be serviced,” he said. “We will now transform Massmart into an African company.” 

Not everyone is convinced. Ademola Olugunde, a 40-year-old electrical engineer who lives in Australia, was shocked by prices at the Ikeja City Mall. 

“This place is a make-believe that everything is well in Nigeria and is not what people need. Step across the road, and you see the poverty; the reality is that it is really tough out there. Fancy malls are for the [wealthiest] 1 percent.” 

But Nigeria’s huge population of 160 million — Lagos alone has more than 11 million — means that still adds up to a lot of potential customers eager to embrace the convenience. “I can’t take my baby to shop in the market, with all the traffic, people and noise,” said Zaynab Salami, 32, who works for the National Blood Transfusion Service and was pushing her trolley with her 10-month-old son sitting inside. “But I can here.”                          Culled from — Financial Times.

 

 

Published in Business
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 19:48

How to Praise Children

THE CHALLENGE

Some people say that it is impossible to give your child too much praise. Others claim that constant praise will spoil your child and make him feel entitled, as if the world owed him something.

Besides how much you praise your child, you also have to consider the kind of praise you offer. Which type will encourage your child? Which type might hinder him? How can you offer praise that will have the best outcome?

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Not all praise is equal. Consider the following.

Too much praise can be harmful. Some parents dole out undeserved praise in an attempt to boost their children’s self-esteem. But young ones “are smart enough to see through the exaggeration and conclude that you do not really mean what you say,” warns Dr. David Walsh. “They know that they did not deserve [the praise] and may conclude that they cannot trust you.” *

Praise based on ability is better. Suppose your daughter has a knack for drawing. Naturally, you want to praise her for this, which will motivate her to hone her skill even more. But there can be a drawback. Praise focused on talent alone could cause your child to think that the only skills worth pursuing are those that come easily. She may even shy away from new challenges, fearing that she will fail. ‘If something takes effort,’ she reasons, ‘I must not be cut out for it—so why try?’

Effort-based praise is best. Children who are praised for their hard work and perseverance rather than simply for their talents come to realize a vital truth—that acquiring skill requires patience and effort. Knowing that, “they put in the work needed to achieve the desired result,” says the book Letting Go With Love and Confidence. “Even when they come up short, they don’t view themselves as failures, but as learners.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Praise effort, not just talent. Telling your child, “I can see that you put a lot of thought into your drawing,” may do more good than saying, “You’re a natural artist.” Both statements offer praise, but the second one could unwittingly imply that inborn skills are the only ones your child will be good at.

When you praise effort, you teach your child that ability can improve with practice. Your child might then take on new challenges more confidently.—Bible principle: Proverbs 14:23.

Help your child deal with failure. Even good people make mistakes, perhaps repeatedly. (Proverbs 24:16) But after each misstep, they get up, learn from the experience, and move on. How can you help your child to cultivate that positive approach?

Again, focus on effort. Consider an example: Suppose you often tell your daughter, “You’re a natural at math,” but then she fails a math test. She might conclude that she has lost her knack, so why try to improve?

When you focus on effort, however, you foster resilience. You help your daughter to view a setback as just that, and not as a disaster. So rather than give up, she may try another approach or simply work harder.—Bible principle: James 3:2.

Give constructive criticism. When given in the right manner, negative feedback will help a child, not crush his spirit. Also, if you regularly give appropriate praise, likely your child will welcome feedback on how he can further improve. Then his achievements will become a source of satisfaction both to him and to you.—Bible principle: Proverbs 13:4.

Culled from Jehovah Witness

Published in Opinions
Thursday, 09 February 2017 19:42

Teaching Children Self-Control

Your six-year-old seems to have no concept of self-restraint. If he sees something he wants, he wants it now! If he gets angry, he sometimes lashes out. ‘Is this normal behavior for a child?’ you wonder. ‘Is it just a phase that he will outgrow, or is it the time for me to teach him self-control?’ *

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Today’s culture undermines self-control. “In our permissive culture, adults and children constantly hear messages that we should do whatever we want,” writes Dr. David Walsh. “From well-meaning self-help gurus to dollar-grubbing hucksters, we constantly hear that we should give in to our urges.” *

Early teaching of self-control is vital. In a long-term study, researchers gave a group of four-year-old children one marshmallow each and told them that they could either eat the one marshmallow right away or wait a brief period and receive another marshmallow as a reward for their patience. Later in life, as high school graduates, the children who showed self-control at four were doing better than their counterparts emotionally, socially, and academically.

The cost of not teaching self-control can be heavy. Researchers believe that the circuitry of a child’s brain can be altered by his experiences. Dr. Dan Kindlon explains what that means: “If we overindulge our children, if we don’t make them learn how to wait their turn, delay gratification, and resist temptation, the neural changes that we associate with strong character may not take place.” *

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Set the example. How are you at showing self-control? Does your child see you lose your temper in a traffic jam, cut in line at the store, or interrupt others in conversation? “The most straightforward way to help our children develop self-control is to exhibit it ourselves,” writes Kindlon.—Bible principle: Romans 12:9.

Teach your child about consequences. In a manner appropriate for his age, help your child see that there are benefits to resisting his urges and a price to pay for giving in to them. For example, if your child is angry over being mistreated by someone, help him to stop and ask himself: ‘Will retaliation help or hurt? Is there a better way to deal with the situation—perhaps counting to ten and allowing the anger to subside? Would it be better just to walk away?’—Bible principle: Galatians 6:7.

Create incentive. Praise your child when he displays self-control. Let him know that it may not always be easy to suppress his urges but that it is a sign of strength when he does so! The Bible says: “As a city broken through, without a wall, is the man who cannot control his temper.” (Proverbs 25:28) In contrast, “the one slow to anger is better than a mighty man.”—Proverbs 16:32.

Practice. Create a role-playing game called “What Would You Do?” or “Good Choices, Bad Choices” or something similar. Discuss potential scenarios and act out possible reactions, labeling them either “good” or “bad.” Get creative: If you like, use puppets, drawings, or another method to make the activity enjoyable as well as informative. Your goal is to help your child realize that having self-control is better than being impulsive.—Bible principle: Proverbs 29:11.

Be patient. The Bible says that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” (Proverbs 22:15, footnote) So do not expect your child to develop self-control overnight. “This is a long, slow process with forward progress, meltdowns, and more progress,” says the book Teach Your Children Well. The effort, however, is worthwhile. “The child who can hold off,” the book continues, “is in a much better position to hold off on drugs at twelve or sex at fourteen.”

REWARD POSITIVE BEHAVIOR

Even toddlers can start learning self-control. “If a child cries and cries for a piece of candy at the grocery store and you give it to her, you have just taught her that crying is an effective way to get what she wants,” says the book Generation Me. “The next time she wants something, she will cry and whine because that worked last time. Instead, give the child treats for good behavior. Many parents cave in to a crying child because it feels easier, or because they can’t stand to deprive a child of something she wants. However, you’re depriving her of a lot more if you give in. Rewarding the child who asks nicely teaches social skills as well as self-control.”

Culled from Jehovah Witness 

 

Published in Education

Hot, hot, hot foods are the focus of new research released this week suggesting that eating fiery ingredients such as chili peppers may do more than burn your tongue. These foods may help you live longer.

"There is accumulating evidence from mostly experimental research to show the benefit of spices or their active components on human health," said Lu Qi, an associate professor at Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the study published this week in the BMJ. But the evidence evaluating consumption of spicy foods and mortality from population studies was lacking, he said.

As a result, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences studied data collected from 2004 to 2008 as part of the China Kadoorie Biobank. Using self-reported questionnaires, they analyzed the spicy food consumption of nearly half a million people age 30 to 70 across 10 regions in China, excluding those with cancer, heart disease and stroke.

They then reviewed the records of 20,224 people who died over a seven-year follow up period and found that those who ate spicy foods six or seven times a week had a 14% lower risk of premature death for all causes than people who ate spicy foods less than once a week. People who frequently consumed spicy food also showed a lower risk of death from cancer or ischemic heart and respiratory system diseases.

Fresh and dried chili peppers were the most common spicy sources, according to the study.

What is it about spicy foods? The study points to the benefits of capsaicin, a bioactive ingredient in chili peppers, which has been linked to health perks such as increased fat burning. Folk medicine practitioners also say capsaicin can help fight infection and stimulate the kidneys, lungs and heart.

Then, there's the old wives' tale that says eating spicy food will induce labor (although there's no scientific evidence supporting this claim).

There are also a few risks associated with eating spicy foods. "There are certain foods that are triggers for people with incontinence or overactive bladders, including spicy foods, which doctors have identified as common irritants for women," said Kristen Burns, an adult urology nurse practitioner at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Spicy foods can also aggravate colds or sinus infections, increasing your runny nose.

The new research found an "association" between death and spicy food consumption, but an editorial published with the study cautions that this is not definitive. As a result, experts emphasize the need for more research before a connection between these ingredients can be scientifically established.

"It's an observational study within a single culture," said Daphne Miller, associate clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco and author of "The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World, Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You."

There are many variables associated with eating spicy food that haven't been accounted for, she said. The study itself cites limitations including the lack of information about other dietary and lifestyle habits or how spicy food was cooked or prepared. In addition, researchers note that although chili pepper was the most commonly used spice based on self-reports, the use of different spices tends to increase as the use of chili pepper increases. Consuming these other spices may also result in health benefits, independent of chilies.

However, Miller said the findings are still plausible, given the fact that spicy foods also have high levels of phenolic content, which are chemicals with nutritional and anti-inflammatory values.

Bio-psychologist John E. Hayes agrees. The fact that there seems to be an overall protective effect in chili intake is especially interesting, according to Hayes, an associate professor of food science and director of Sensory Evaluation Center at Penn State University. He has previously studied spicy food and personality association.

Now, scientists need to figure out why this benefit is occurring.

Hayes pointed out one significant question: "Is it a biological mechanism or a behavioral mechanism?"

A biological connection could mean that when you eat spicy food, thermogenesis occurs, increasing the basil metabolic rate, said Hayes, while a behavior mechanism could be that eating spicy food slows food intake, causing a person to eat fewer calories. A lower calorie consumption could indicate a more healthful diet, which would be an unaccounted variable not shown by the new study.

Qi, the author of this new study, believes the protective effect associated with spicy foods would indeed translate across cultures, but Hayes cautioned care.

"It's a very big study, a very controlled study," he said, that may not generalize to other countries. For instance, in the U.S., "spicy food is ubiquitously available but not ubiquitously consumed."

"You have to consider that when we talk about spicy food, we can mean vastly different things, with different health implications," Hayes said. "That spicy food could be low-energy-density vegetables, like kimchee. Or it could be a high-energy-density food like barbecue spare ribs."

So before you make a run for the hot sauce, more research is needed to qualify what spicy entails and the various ingredients, which the current study does not break down.

"This isn't an excuse to go out and eat 24 wings and then rationalize it by claiming they are going to make you live longer," Hayes said. "When you're looking at a whole food versus the individual component, we have to be very cautious."

This is the big caveat. "In science, we try to break things down into the simplest parts while still considering the context," Hayes said.       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Culled from CNN

Published in Health

Arthur Ashe is the first African American to win the men's singles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and the first black American to be ranked No. 1 in the world.

Born on July 10, 1943, in Richmond, Virginia, Arthur Ashe became the first, and is still the only, African-American male player to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. He is also the first black American to be ranked No. 1 in the world. Always an activist, when Ashe learned that he had contracted AIDS via a blood transfusion, he turned his efforts to raising awareness of the disease, before finally succumbing to it on February 6, 1993.

Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. was born on July 10, 1943, in Richmond, Virginia. The oldest of Arthur Ashe Sr. and Mattie Cunningham's two sons, Arthur Ashe Jr. blended finesse and power to forge a groundbreaking tennis game. Ashe would go on to achieve a number of African-American "firsts," including becoming the first African-American male player to win the U.S. Open (1968) and Wimbledon (1975), the first African-American player to be ranked No. 1 in the world, and the first black American to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1985).

Ashe's childhood was marked by hardship and opportunity. Under his mother's direction, Ashe was reading by the age of 4. But his life was turned upside-down two years later, when Mattie passed away.

Ashe's father, fearful of seeing his boys fall into trouble without their mother's discipline, began running a tighter ship at home. Ashe and his younger brother Johnnie went to church every Sunday, and after school were required to come straight home. Arthur Sr. even clocked the distance: "My father kept me home, out of trouble. I had exactly 12 minutes to get home from school, and I kept to that rule through high school."

About a year after his mother's death, Arthur discovered the game of tennis, picking up a racket for the first time at the age of 7, at a park not far from his home. Sticking with the game, Ashe eventually caught the attention of Dr. Robert Walter Johnson Jr., a tennis coach from Lynchburg, Virginia, who was active in the black tennis community. Under Johnson's direction, Ashe excelled.

In his first tournament, Ashe reached the junior national championships. Driven to excel, he eventually moved to St. Louis to work closely with another coach, winning the junior national title in 1960 and again in 1961. Ranked the fifth best junior player in the country, Ashe accepted a scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated with a degree in business administration.

In 1963, Ashe became the first African American to be recruited by the U.S. Davis Cup team. Thereafter, he continued to refine his game, gaining the attention of his tennis idol, Pancho Gonzales, who further helped Ashe hone his serve-and-volley attack. The training all came together in 1968, when the still-amateur Ashe shocked the world by capturing the U.S. Open title—becoming the first, and still the only, African-American male player to do so. Two years later, he took home the Australian title.

In 1975, Ashe registered another upset by beating Jimmy Connors in the Wimbledon finals, marking another pioneering achievement within the African-American community—becoming the first African-American male player to win Wimbledon—which, like his U.S. Open victory, remains unmatched. That same year (1975), Ashe became the first African-American tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in the world. Ten years later, in 1985, he would become the first black U.S. citizen to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

For Ashe, however, success also brought opportunity and responsibility. He didn't relish his status as the sole black star in a game dominated by white players, but he didn't run away from it either. With his unique pulpit, he pushed to create inner city tennis programs for youth; helped found the Association of Men's Tennis Professionals; and spoke out against apartheid in South Africa—even going so far as to successfully lobby for a visa so he could visit and play tennis there.

Ashe's causes were shaped by both his own personal story and his health. In 1979, he retired from competition after suffering a heart attack, and wrote a history of African-American athletes: A Hard Road to Glory (three volumes, published in 1988). He also served as national campaign chairman of the American Heart Association.

Ashe was plagued with health issues over the last 14 years of his life. After undergoing a quadruple bypass operation in 1979, he went under the knife again in 1983 for a second bypass. In 1988, he underwent emergency brain surgery after experiencing paralysis of his right arm. A biopsy taken during a hospital stay revealed that Ashe had AIDS. Doctors soon discovered that Ashe had contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from a transfusion of bad blood that he was given during his second heart operation.

Initially, Ashe kept the news hidden from the public. But in 1992, Ashe came forward with the news after he learned that USA Today was working on a story about his health battle. Finally free from the burden of trying to hide his condition, Ashe poured himself into the work of raising awareness about the disease. He delivered a speech at the United Nations, started a new foundation, and laid the groundwork for a $5 million fundraising campaign for the institution.

He continued to work, even as his health began to deteriorate, making it down to Washington, D.C. in late 1992 to participate in a protest over the United States' treatment of Haitian refugees. For his part in the demonstration, Ashe was taken away in handcuffs. It was a poignant final display for a man who was never shy about showing his concern for the welfare of others.

Arthur Ashe died in New York City on February 6, 1993, from AIDS-related pneumonia. Four days later, he was laid to rest in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Some 6,000 people attended the service.

In addition to his pioneering tennis career, Ashe is remembered for a number of inspirational quotes, including, "True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost." He also once said, "One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation."

Ashe was married to Jeanne Moutoussamy from 1977 until his death in 1993. They had one daughter, Camera.

                                                                                                                                                           "Arthur Ashe." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 05 June 2015

Missionary's son Arthur Wharton came to England from Africa in 1880s. He became world's first person to run the 100 yard sprint in 10 seconds. Player then turned successfully to football and also became a cricketer, but he later spent 20 years working down a coal mine in South Yorkshire.

The son of a wealthy missionary, Arthur Wharton arrived in Cannock, Staffordshire, in the early 1880s as a teenage immigrant from Gold Coast, now Ghana, and his talents did not go unnoticed for long.

He ran the first 10-second 100 yard dash and played for Rotherham Town and Sheffield United - before spending 20 years down a South Yorkshire coal mine and dying a pauper.

Making history:

The son of a wealthy missionary, Arthur Wharton arrived in Cannock, Staffordshire, in the early 1880s as a teenage immigrant from Gold Coast (now Ghana) and sprinted before playing football and cricket.

'He was a Victorian sporting hero.'  The 6ft teenager was sent to Britain in the 1880s to train as a Christian missionary, but soon took up athletics, winning the Amateur Athletic Association national championships two years in a row.

After hanging up his running shoes Mr. Wharton went on to become an accomplished goalkeeper.

During his amateur days, which included a debut for Preston North End in the FA Cup, he became known for punching the ball as far as the halfway line and catching the ball with his legs while swinging on the crossbar.

Then, in 1889, he made history by signing professional terms for Rotherham Town and playing in the Football League.

Riches to rags:

In later life Arthur Wharton became a coal miner, dying a pauper aged 65.

The move made him the first black full-time paid footballer in the history of Britain, and quite possibly the history of the world.  He later joined Sheffield United and played in the First Division, which is now the Premier League. The trailblazer played some 80 years before the likes of Bermuda-born Clyde Best played for West Ham United.

His career did not stop there. Mr. Wharton also became a professional cricketer, being recognized as a great all-round sportsman.

He was the token professional player for local Yorkshire Greensborough, but in 1914 he turned down a cricket coaching role at Durham to work as a miner.

He spent 20 years down a coal mine in South Yorkshire and died a pauper aged 65 in 1930, having spent all his earnings from professional sport.

Howard Holmes, of the Football Unites, Racism Divides campaign which installed a headstone on Mr. Wharton's grave, went with his great-granddaughter to the event.

'You think of black footballers in England and you think of Clyde Best and Laurie Cunningham,' he said. 'But Arthur was 70 or 80 years before their time.

'That is why his story is so important because it shows there was a black presence in English football right at the very start of the professional game.

'But Arthur’s was a real riches-to-rags story. He would have been quite well-paid when he was a goalkeeper but after that he had to earn a living as a miner. 'He did that in an overwhelming white community in Yorkshire.

'Can you imagine some of the multi-millionaire Premier League footballers of today having to do that?'

Culled from Daily Mail UK.

 

Monday, 30 March 2015 19:51

Africa Before Transatlantic Enslavement

The Transatlantic Slave trade not only distorted Africa’s economic development it also distorted views of the history and importance of the African continent itself. It is only in the last fifty years that it has been possible to redress this distortion and to begin to re-establish Africa’s rightful place in world history.

The African continent is now recognised as the birthplace of humanity and the cradle of civilization. We still marvel at the great achievements of Kemet, or Ancient Egypt, for example, one of the most notable of the early African civilizations, which first developed in the Nile valley over 5000 years ago. However, even before the rise of Kemet it seems likely that an even more ancient kingdom, known as Ta Seti, existed in what is today Nubia in Sudan. This may well have been the earliest state to exist anywhere in the world. Africa can therefore be credited not only with giving rise to the many scientific developments associated with Egypt, engineering, mathematics, architecture, medicine etc but also with important early political developments such as state formation and monarchy. This demonstrates that economic and political development, as well as scientific development was, during this early period, perhaps more advanced in Africa than in other continents.

 The African continent continued on its own path of development, without significant external intervention until the fifteenth century of our era. Some of the world’s other great civilisations, such as Kush, Axum, Mali, and Great Zimbabwe, flourished in Africa in the years before 1500. In this early period Africans participated in extensive international trading networks and in trans-oceanic travel. Certainly some African states had established important trading relations with India, China and other parts of Asia long before these were disrupted by European intervention.

 A North African conquest of the Iberian peninsular began in the 8th century and led to the occupation of much of Spain and Portugal for several centuries. This Muslim invasion re-introduced much of the knowledge of the ancient world to Europe and linked it much more closely with North and West Africa. It was gold from the great empires of West Africa, such as Ghana, Mali and Songhay, which provided the means for the economic take off of Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries and aroused the interest of Europeans in western Africa. Indeed it was the wealth of West Africa, especially as a source of gold, that encouraged the voyages of the early European explorers.

 By the 15th century the African continent was already one of great of diversity. The existence of great kingdoms and empires, such as Mali in the west and Ethiopia in the east were in many ways exceptional rather than typical. In many part of the continent no major centralised states existed and many people lived in societies where there were no great divisions of wealth and power. In such societies there were generally more democratic systems of government by councils of elders and other kinship and age based institutions. As a consequence there was also a diversity of religious and philosophical beliefs. In many areas these beliefs remained traditional and stressed the importance of communing with common ancestors. The Ethiopian kingdom was unusual because the Orthodox Christian church, which was of ancient origin in that region, had increasingly important state functions. In Mali, and in some other areas of western and eastern Africa, as well as in throughout North Africa, Islam had already begun to play a significant role before 1500. Most importantly African societies were following their own patterns of development before the onset of European intervention.

Negative views

In the 18th century, racist views of Africa were most famously expressed by Scottish philosopher David Hume: 'I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilised nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or in speculation. No ingenious manufacture among them, no arts, no sciences.'

 Whilst some changed slightly over time, there were still some who continued to hold these derogatory views. In the 19th century, the German philosopher Hegel simply declared: 'Africa is no historical part of the world.' Later, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of History at Oxford University, expressed openly the racist view that Africa has no history, as recently as 1963.

Early achievements

We now know that, far from Africa having no history, it is almost certain that human history actually began there. All the earliest evidence of human existence and of our immediate hominid ancestors has been found in Africa. The latest scientific research points to the fact that all human beings are likely to have African ancestors.

 Africa was not just the birthplace of humanity but also the cradle of early civilisations that made an immense contribution to the world and are still marvelled at today. The most notable example is Kemet – the original name of ancient Egypt – which first developed in the Nile valley more than 5,000 years ago and was one of the first monarchies.

 However, even before the rise of Egypt, an even earlier kingdom was founded in Nubia, in what is present-day Sudan. Ta Seti is thought to be one of the earliest states in history, the existence of which demonstrates that, thousands of years ago, Africans were developing some of the most advanced political systems anywhere in the world.  

Egypt  

Kemet, more commonly referred to as the Egypt of the pharaohs, is best known for its great monuments and feats of architecture and engineering, such as the planning and construction of the pyramids, but it also made great advances in many other fields.

 The Egyptians produced early types of paper, devised a written script and developed a calendar. They made important contributions in various branches of mathematics, such as geometry and algebra, and it seems likely that they understood and perhaps invented the use of zero. They also made important contributions to mechanics, philosophy and agriculture, especially irrigation.

 In medicine, the Egyptians understood the body's dependence on the brain more than 1,000 years before the Greek scholars came up with the same idea. Some historians now believe that Egypt had an important influence on ancient Greece, pointing to the fact that Greek scholars such as Pythagoras and Archimedes studied there and that the work of Aristotle and Plato was largely based on earlier Egyptian scholarship. For example, what is commonly known as Pythagoras' theorem was well known to the ancient Egyptians hundreds of years before Pythagoras' birth.  

The rise of Islam  

The continent progressed on its own path of development without major external intervention apart from the Arab invasions of North Africa that began after the rise of Islam in the mid-7th century. Those invasions and the introduction of Islam served to integrate North Africa, as well as parts of East and West Africa, more fully into the Muslim-dominated trading system of that period and generally enhanced the local, regional and international trading networks that were already developing throughout the continent.

 Although sometimes spread by military means, Islam's expansion was often facilitated by trade and the desire of African rulers to utilise Islamic political and economic institutions. The Arabic language also provided a script that assisted the development of literacy, book-based learning and record-keeping.

 The empire of Songhay – which stretched from modern-day Mali to Sudan –was known for, among other things, the famous Islamic university of Sankoré based in Timbuktu, which was established in the 14th century. The works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle were studied there, as well as subjects such as law, various branches of philosophy, dialectics, grammar, rhetoric and astronomy. In the 16th century, one of its most famous scholars, Ahmed Baba (1564–1627), is said to have written more than 40 major Books on such subjects as astronomy, history and theology and had a private library that held over 1,500 volumes.

 One of the first reports of Timbuktu to reach Europe was by the North African diplomat and author Leo Africanus. In his book Description of Africa, published in 1550, he says of the town: 'There you will find many judges, professors and devout men, all handsomely maintained by the king, who holds scholars in much honour. There, too, they sell many handwritten North African Books, and more profit is to be made there from the sale of Books than from any other branch of trade.'

 The North African, or Moorish, invasion of the Iberian peninsula and the founding of the state of Córdoba in the 8th century had begun the reintroduction of much of the learning of the ancient world to Europe through translations into Arabic of works in medicine, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and philosophy, as well as through the various contributions made by Islamic scholars. Arabic numerals based on those used in India were also transplanted, which helped to simplify mathematical calculations.

 This knowledge, brought to Europe mainly by the Moors, helped to create the conditions for the Renaissance and the eventual expansion of Europe overseas in the 15th century.  

Slavery in Africa

Between the 7th and 15th centuries, the external Muslim trading demand for African goods also included a demand for captives. 

 Forms of slavery have existed on all continents at different times in history – for instance, as a means of exploiting those captured in war – especially where there were labour shortages and an abundance of land. Slavery was certainly present in some African societies before the rise of Islam. In ancient Kemet, for example, there are descriptions of European slaves being branded. Later, in other African societies, especially those that were powerful states, enslaved or unfree people could be found, although generally their status was little different from that of poor farmers. It may indeed have been similar to that of the serfs of medieval Europe, who were required to produce an agricultural surplus or perform other duties for a particular ruler.

 But when an external demand for enslaved people arose, some African societies could and did supply slaves. There was, for example, an export 'trade' in enslaved people, taking them via the Sahara from West to North Africa, following a similar route to other trade goods, such as gold and salt. Enslaved Africans were also forced to go to parts of the Middle East, to India and perhaps even as far as China. The most well-known slave of East African origin is Malik Ambar (1549–1626) who was born in what is now Ethiopia. Enslaved at an early age, he eventually became the regent of the Indian kingdom of Ahmednagar, famous for his military campaigns against the Mughals.

 The development of states in Africa, increased the levels of inequality – between men and women, rich and poor, free and servile. In fact, inequality and economic exploitation were particularly prevalent in some of the most powerful and developed states, such as the Ethiopian kingdom. Indeed, historians generally consider Ethiopia to be a feudal society with many features similar to those of feudalism in Europe – that is, economic and political power was based on land ownership and the exploitation of those who were forced to work on that land.

Trading systems and gold

Before 1600, a massive regional and international trading system stretched from the coast of West Africa, across the Sahara to North Africa and beyond. It was sustained by the mining of gold in West Africa, as well as the production of many other goods there. For many centuries, it was dominated by powerful empires such as Ghana, Mali and Songhay, which often controlled both gold production and the major trading towns on the southern fringes of the Sahara.

 A 9th-century historian wrote: 'The king of Ghana is a great king. In his territory are mines of gold.' When al-Bakri, the famous historian of Muslim Spain, wrote about Ghana in the 11th century, he reported that its king 'rules an enormous kingdom and has great power'. He was also said to have an army of 200,000 men and to rule over an extremely wealthy trading empire.

 In the 14th century, the West African empire of Mali, which was larger than western Europe, was reputed to be one of the biggest, richest and most powerful states in the world. The Moroccan traveller Mohammed Ibn Batuta, when giving his very favourable impressions of this empire, reported that he had found 'complete and general safety' there. When the famous emperor of Mali, Mansa Musa, visited Cairo in 1324, it was said that he brought so much gold with him that its price fell dramatically and had not recovered its value even 12 years later. It was gold from these great empires of West Africa that prompted the early Portuguese voyages of exploration.  

Traditional societies  

In the centuries before 1500, some of the world's other great civilisations, such as Kush (in present-day Sudan), Axum (in present-day Ethiopia) and Great Zimbabwe, flourished in Africa.

However, although the history of the continent before the transatlantic slave trade is often viewed as one of great empires and kingdoms, many of its inhabitants lived in societies with no great state apparatus. They were often governed by councils of elders or by other kinship- or age-based institutions. Religious and philosophical beliefs concentrated on maintaining communication with ancestors who could intercede with gods on behalf of the living and ensure the smooth functioning of society. (The Ethiopian kingdom was unusual because there the orthodox Christian Church, which was of ancient origin, performed increasingly important state functions.)

Many of these societies were small scale, occupied with farming, herding and producing enough from agriculture to survive and exchange in local markets. They could also be part of larger empires and, as such, were expected to produce a surplus or perform other duties for an overlord. In short, while these societies varied greatly and were governed in different ways, they were all developing according to their own internal dynamics.

 The Igbo people, who still live in Nigeria, are an example of a society that was not part of a centralised state. They ruled themselves in village communities that, at different times, used slightly different political systems. As in many other African societies that used similar methods, everyone was taught rules and responsibilities according to age and groupings – men or women together in age sets – that cut across family or village loyalty. Sometimes the extended family was responsible for organising and training people and for liaising with other similar extended family groups, through councils of elders or elected chiefs. Therefore relationships based on age and kinship were often very important.

 Even societies that had kings and more centralised political structures also used these other political institutions and ways of organising people. What is important about them is that they involved many people in decision-making and, in this respect, were African forms of participatory democracy. Religious ideas generally supported and underpinned these systems of government, most importantly giving people their own specific ways of understanding the world and the rules of their own society.

On the eve of the transatlantic slave trade

In most parts of Africa before 1500, societies had become highly developed in terms of their own histories. They often had complex systems of participatory government, or were established powerful states that covered large territories and had extensive regional and international links.

 Many of these societies had solved difficult agricultural problems and had come up with advanced techniques of production of food and other crops and were engaged in local, regional or even international trading networks. Some peoples were skilled miners and metallurgists, others great artists in wood, stone and other materials. Many of the societies had also amassed a great stock of scientific and other knowledge, some of it stored in libraries such as those of Timbuktu, but some passed down orally from generation to generation.

 There was great diversity across the continent and therefore societies at different stages and levels of development. Most importantly, Africans had established their own economic and political systems, their own cultures, technologies and philosophies that had enabled them to make spectacular advances and important contributions to human knowledge.

 The significance of the transatlantic slave trade is not just that it led to the loss of millions of lives and the departure of millions of those who could have contributed to Africa's future, although depopulation did have a great impact. But just as devastating was the fact that African societies were disrupted by the trade and increasingly unable to follow an independent path of development. Colonial rule and its modern legacy have been a continuation of this disruption.

 The devastation of Africa through transatlantic slavery was accompanied by the ignorance of some historians and philosophers to negate its entire history. These ideas and philosophies suggested, that among other things, Africans had never developed any institutions or cultures, nor anything else of any worth and that future advances could only take place under the direction of Europeans or European institutions.   

Credit to USI "Understanding Slavery Initiative"

 

Published in Africa
Monday, 30 March 2015 19:30

Slavery in Africa

I. Introduction

Slavery in Africa, the institution of slavery as it existed in Africa, and the effects of world slave-trade systems on African people and societies. As in most of the world, slavery, or involuntary human servitude, was practiced across Africa from prehistoric times to the modern era. When people today think of slavery, many envision the form in which it existed in the United States before the American Civil War (1861-1865): one racially identifiable group owning and exploiting another. However, in other parts of the world, slavery has taken many different forms. In Africa, many societies recognized slaves merely as property, but others saw them as dependents who eventually might be integrated into the families of slave owners. Still other societies allowed slaves to attain positions of military or administrative power. Most often, both slave owners and slaves were black Africans, although they were frequently of different ethnic groups. Traditionally, African slaves were bought to perform menial or domestic labor, to serve as wives or concubines, or to enhance the status of the slave owner. Traditional African practices of slavery were altered to some extent beginning in the 7th century by two non-African groups of slave traders: Arab Muslims and Europeans. From the 7th to the 20th century, Arab Muslims raided and traded for black African slaves in West, Central, and East Africa, sending thousands of slaves each year to North Africa and parts of Asia. From the 15th to the 19th century, Europeans bought millions of slaves in West, Central, and East Africa and sent them to Europe; the Caribbean; and North, Central, and South America. These two overlapping waves of transcontinental slave trading made the slave trade central to the economies of many African states and threatened many more Africans with enslavement.

II. Traditions of Slavery Within Africa

Slavery existed in some of Africa's earliest organized societies. More than 3,500 years ago, ancient Egyptians raided neighboring societies for slaves, and the buying and selling of slaves were regular activities in cities along the Nile River. However, whereas the Egyptians left behind written records of their activities, most other early African states and societies did not. Therefore, our understanding of most early African practices of slavery is based on much more recent observations of African traditions regarding slavery and kinship and on oral histories.

A. Origins

In Africa, as in many places around the world, early slavery likely resulted from warring groups taking captives. Such captives were of little use, and often some bother, when kept close to their homes because of the ease of escape. Therefore, they were often sold and transported to more distant places. Warfare was not the only reason for the practice of slavery in Africa, however. In many African societies, slavery represented one of the few methods of producing wealth available to common people. Throughout the African continent there was little recognition of rights to private landholding until colonial officials began imposing European law in the 19th century. Land was typically held communally by villages or large clans and was allotted to families according to their need. The amount of land a family needed was determined by the number of laborers that family could marshal to work the land. To increase production, a family had to invest in more laborers and thus increase their share of land. The simplest and quickest way to do this was to invest in slaves. To help service this demand, many early African societies conducted slave raids on distant villages.

B. Slaves' Roles

Women constituted the majority of early African slaves. In addition to agricultural work, female slaves carried out other economic functions, such as trading and cotton spinning and dyeing. They also performed domestic chores, such as preparing food, washing clothes, and cleaning. Powerful African men kept female slaves as wives or concubines, and in many societies these women stood as symbols of male wealth. Male slaves typically farmed and herded animals. Those who belonged to wealthy families and especially of ruling lineages of states also worked as porters and rowers, and learned crafts such as weaving, construction, and metalwork. New slaves were sometimes given menial tasks while experienced slaves did the more difficult and dangerous work, such as mining and quarrying. Some male, and fewer female, slaves held positions of high status and trust within their societies. In precolonial states in the interior of West and Central Africa, slaves often served as soldiers and confidants of high officials. With their necessarily limited ambitions and dependence on their masters, slaves were considered the ideal persons to be close to men in power. In a few cases, female slaves assumed power and influence as well. For example, in the 19th century in the West African Kingdom of Dahomey (now southern Benin), women served in the royal palace and formed the kingdom's soldier elite.

C. Slavery and Kinship

Kinship (connection to a family by blood or marriage) has always been extremely important in Africa as an essential component of a person's identity and ability to survive in society. Traditionally, those without kin were essentially lost–not considered real persons by society. Slaves, taken in battle or in slave raids, were cut off from their kin. In some societies, however, slaves were viewed as dependents, and could, over time, become identified as members of their owners' extended families. Many African societies decreed that children of slave owners by their slaves could not be sold or killed. Also, after three or four generations, descendants of slaves could often shed their slave status. Thus slavery, on one hand, cut people off from their kin but, on the other hand, provided them with the possibility of becoming attached to other families and, after several generations, reintegrated into the web of kinship. None of the above possibilities should suggest that enslaved Africans liked what was happening to them, accepted slavery willingly, or normally rose quickly in status. However, early African traditions of slavery appear more benign when compared to the institutionalized systems of slave trading that would develop later. As African states began providing slaves for export by Arabs or Europeans, slavery became much more central to the economies and politics of those states and more of a threat to Africans in general.

III. Effects of Slave Trades on Africa

Around the 15th century BC, Egypt's New Kingdom enslaved non-Africans, such as Jews from Palestine, through warfare and imported them to the Nile Valley. As an African importer of non-African slaves, however, ancient Egypt is a notable exception to the rule. Africa's role in the history of transcontinental slave trading has generally been as a provider or exporter of slaves for use outside of Africa. After the 5th century BC, Greeks and, later, Romans came to dominate the Mediterranean Sea. Both of these slave-owning powers raided North Africa extensively for slaves. This practice of using Africa as a source of slaves would be adopted and expanded first by Arab Muslims and later by Europeans.

A. The Trans-Saharan and East African Slave Trades

The spread of Islam from Arabia into Africa after the religion's founding in the 7th century AD affected the practice of slavery and slave trading in West, Central, and East Africa. Arabs had practiced slave raiding and trading in Arabia for centuries prior to the founding of Islam, and slavery became a component of Islamic traditions. Both the Qur'an (Koran) (the sacred scripture of Islam) and Islamic religious law served to codify and justify the existence of slavery. As Muslim Arabs conquered their way westward across North Africa in the 7th and 8th centuries, their victorious leaders rewarded themselves with Berber captives, most of whom were eventually enrolled in Muslim armies. Over time, large segments of North Africa's Berber population converted to Islam. The religion spread to the camel herders of the Sahara Desert, who were in contact with black Africans south of the Sahara and who traded small numbers of black slaves. Muslim Arabs expanded this trans-Saharan slave trade, buying or seizing increasing numbers of black Africans in West Africa, leading them across the Sahara, and selling them in North Africa. From there, most of these slaves were exported to far-off Asian destinations such as the eastern Mediterranean, Anatolia (in present-day Turkey), Arabia, Persia (present-day Iran), and India. The trans-Saharan slave trade grew significantly from the 10th to the 15th century, as vast African empires such as Ghana, Mali, Songhai, and Kanem-Bornu developed south of the Sahara and marshaled the trade. Arab slave raiders also penetrated south, up the Nile River to present-day Ethiopia, capturing thousands of slaves and sending them down the Nile to Egypt. Over the course of more than a thousand years, the trans-Saharan slave trade saw the movement of at least 10 million enslaved men, women, and children from West and East Africa to North Africa, the Middle East, and India. The slaves and their descendants contributed to the harems, royal households, and armies of the Arab, Turkish, and Persian rulers in those regions. Also, by the 9th century, seafaring Muslims from Arabia and Persia had made their way down the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa, obtaining African slaves in ports from Mogadishu (in present-day Somalia) to Sofala (in present-day Mozambique) and conveying them to western Asian cities to work. The culture of the East African coastal regions was strongly influenced by Arab and Persian traders, many of whom intermarried with Africans, thus producing the Swahili people and culture. Between the 9th and the 13th centuries, this Arab-Persian-Swahili population established cities and city-states along the East African coast. These cities and states captured or purchased slaves from the East African interior for domestic and agricultural tasks. In the 18th and 19th centuries, as plantation agriculture developed in the region, the East African slave trade increased dramatically. Scholars' opinions differ on the issue of the long-term effects of Islam on African slavery. Some believe that Islamic law helped regulate slavery, thus limiting its abuses; these scholars often argue that because Islam encouraged the freeing of slaves upon their master's death, it increased instances of emancipation. Other scholars believe that Islam led to the expansion of slavery, arguing that at the time that slavery was growing in the parts of Africa coming under Islamic influence, slavery was declining in most of medieval Europe. Between the 7th and the 15th century, the trans-Saharan and East African slave trades spurred the gradual expansion of slavery within Africa. The slave trades contributed to the development of powerful African states on the southern fringes of the Sahara and in the East African interior. The economies of these states were dependent on slave trading. Neighboring states competed with one another for trade, leading to wars, which in turn led to the capture of more slaves. Slave raiding in West, East, and Central Africa became more common and wide-ranging. When European explorers and traders arrived in West Africa beginning in the 15th century, they found and began using well-established slave-trade networks. While the trans-Saharan and East African slave trades continued until the early 20th century, they were overshadowed by the Atlantic slave trade after the 15th century. The Atlantic slave trade dwarfed the trans-Saharan and East African trades in terms of volume of export, impact on African practices of slavery, and lasting effect on Africa in general.

B. The Atlantic Slave Trade

The Atlantic slave trade developed after Europeans began exploring and establishing trading posts on the Atlantic (west) coast of Africa in the mid-15th century. The first major group of European traders in West Africa was the Portuguese, followed by the British and the French. In the 16th and 17th centuries, these European colonial powers began to pursue plantation agriculture in their expanding possessions in the New World (North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean islands), across the Atlantic Ocean. As European demand grew for products such as sugar, tobacco, rice, indigo, and cotton, and as more New World lands became available for European use, the need for plantation labor increased. West and west central African states, already involved in slave trading, supplied the Europeans with African slaves for export across the Atlantic. Africans tended to live longer on the tropical plantations of the New World than did European laborers (who were susceptible to tropical diseases) and Native Americans (who were extremely susceptible to "Old World" diseases brought by the Europeans from Europe, Asia, and Africa). Also, enslaved men and women from Africa were inexpensive by European standards. Therefore, Africans became the major source, and eventually the only source, of New World plantation labor. The Africans who facilitated and benefited from the Atlantic slave trade were political or commercial elites–generally members of the ruling apparatus of African states or members of large trading families or institutions. African sellers captured slaves and brought them to markets on the coast. At these markets European and American buyers paid for the slaves with commodities–including cloth, iron, firearms, liquor, and decorative items–that were useful to the sellers. Slave sellers were mostly male, and they used their increased wealth to enhance their prestige and connect themselves, through marriage, to other wealthy families in their realms. The Africans who were enslaved were mostly prisoners of war or captives resulting from slave raids. As the demand for slaves grew, so did the practice of systematic slave raiding, which increased in scope and efficiency with the introduction of firearms to Africa in the 17th century. By the 18th century, most African slaves were acquired through slave raids, which penetrated farther and farther inland. Africans captured in raids were marched down well-worn paths, sometimes for several hundred miles, to markets on the coast. From the mid-15th to the late-19th century, European and American slave traders purchased approximately 12 million slaves from West and west central Africa. A small percentage of these slaves, particularly in the early years of the trade, were sent to Europe, especially to Spain and Portugal. Most, however, were shipped across the Atlantic For Sale in Portuguese-administered Brazil; the British, French, Dutch, and Danish islands of the Caribbean; Spanish-controlled South and Central America; and the British North American mainland (later the United States and Canada). The Atlantic crossing, known as the Middle Passage, was nightmarish for slaves, who were poorly fed, subject to abuses at the hands of the crew, and confined to cramped storage holds in which diseases spread easily. Historians estimate that between 1.5 and 2 million slaves died during the journey to the New World. The Atlantic slave trade differed from previous practices of slavery and slave trading in Africa in its huge scope and its importance to the economies of world powers. While traditional African slavery was practiced largely to help African communities produce food and goods or for prestige, slave labor on European plantations in the New World was crucial to the economies of the colonies and therefore to the economies of the colonial powers. This global economic demand for African slaves altered African practices of slavery. In much of Africa, slavery became a more central, structural element of African life, as rulers and wealthy elites sought to accumulate more and more slaves, For Sale as well as for their own use. In addition to the systematic and institutional practice of slave raiding, other practices were introduced in African states to bring in even more slaves, including enslavement as punishment for crimes and religious wrongdoing. As a result, by the 19th century vast numbers of black Africans in West and Central Africa faced the threat of being enslaved.

IV. The End of Slavery in Africa

As humanitarian sentiments grew in Western Europe with the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment and as European economic interests shifted slowly from agriculture to industry, a movement to abolish the slave trade and the practice of slavery came into being in the Western world. In 1807 the slave trade was outlawed in Britain and the United States. Britain outlawed the practice of slavery in all British territory in 1833; France did the same in its colonies in 1848. In 1865, following the American Civil War, the U.S. government adopted the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, ending slavery in the United States. The Atlantic slave trade continued, however, until 1888, when Brazil abolished slavery (the last New World country to do so). While the Atlantic slave trade was dying down around 1850, the trans-Saharan and East African slave trades were at their peaks. In the 1850s the Ottoman Empire nominally outlawed slavery in much of the Islamic world, but this had only a minor effect on the slave trade. One of the main justifications European powers gave for colonizing nearly the entire African continent during the 1880s and 1890s was the desire to end slave trading and slavery in Africa. By the dawn of the 20th century, European forces had defeated most African slave trading states, and the trans-Saharan and East African slave trades came to an end. Although colonial authorities began outlawing slavery in some African territories as early as the 1830s, the complete legal abolition of slavery in Africa did not take place until the first quarter of the 20th century. By that time, however, slavery was deeply ingrained in most African societies, and thus the practice continued illegally. Slaves who became liberated often did so by escaping and going to the colonial authorities or by simply leaving the areas in which they had been held to take up residence elsewhere. In some places, enslaved persons held that status throughout their lives, despite the legal prohibition. It was not until the 1930s that slavery in Africa was almost totally eliminated. The ending of the slave trade and slavery in Africa had wide-ranging effects on the African continent. Many societies that for centuries had participated in an economy based on slave labor and the trading of slaves had difficulty finding new ways to organize labor and gain wealth. Meanwhile, colonial governments in Africa that outwardly disapproved of slavery still needed inexpensive laborers for agriculture, industry, and other work projects. As a result, African leaders and former slave owners, as well as colonial officials, often developed methods of coercing Africans to work without pay or for minimal compensation. Moreover, the outlawing of slavery did not erase the pain and stigma of having been a slave. Many descendants of slaves were affected by this stigma for generations after slavery was abolished.

Contributed By:

Donald R. Wright, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. / "Slavery in Africa," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000

Published in Africa
Friday, 27 March 2015 18:53

Single Parent Home

When you picture a stereotypical American family, what do you see? A mom? A dad? Two kids, a dog, and a white picket fence? For much of US history, this image of the “nuclear family” has been society’s norm. As we make our way into the twenty-first century, however, families around the country are challenging this stereotype. As our society becomes more tolerant of pre-marital sex, divorce, homosexuality, and more, the structure of many families is inevitably affected. What effect does this have on the development of American children? How will a child’s upbringing be different if a single parent, grandparents, or two parents of the same gender raise him?

Single Parenthood

Single-parent households are actually fairly common in the United States and are currently on the rise.  In 2008, about 29.5% of American households self-selected designation as a single-family household, approximately a two percent increase from 2000.

[1] Many people find themselves in this type of family for a variety of reasons, including divorce, spousal death, or the choice to raise a child out of wedlock without the participation of both biological parents. The concept of a single-parent household varies from culture to culture and the incidence and the level of social acceptance is not universal. In more religious groups, for example, negative views of divorce and pre-marital sex can lead to a stigma surrounding single-parenthood.  The majority of single parent households are headed by the mother (84.1%) as opposed the father (15.9%).

[2] There’s often a concern that having only one parent around is not enough to raise a healthy and successful child. Many interesting studies have been done on the effect of growing up with a single parent on children’s develop-ment and socializa-tion.  The results unanimously support a traditional two-parent household, due to generally more financially secure background. Consequences can include lower achievement in school, greater levels of psychological distress,  earlier sexual activity, and increased substance abuse.

[3] Hold out hope though—this correlation does not necessarily mean causation, and the trend can be reversed!

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