UNIC Yaounde organized an Educational Talk with students of La Gaieté International School Complex, with over 175 students on 24 March 2017, on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on the theme “Remember Slavery: Recognising the Legacy and Contributions of People of African Descent”. The objective of the event was to increase awareness and to educate students on the legacy and contributions of people of African descent and the consequences of their actions on the societies in which they found themselves during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, as well as about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.
UNIC’s Jean Njita presented the genesis and context of the 2017 commemoration, stating the historical background on the transatlantic slave trade and slavery. This was followed by the projection of UNESCO’s documentary “Routes de l’Esclave” (Slave Routes), an exchange with students to size up their understanding. Prizes of T-shirts, branded pens were handed to students who gave correct answers, sparking off many exchanges from students.
Jean Njita, highlighted (in French and English) the raison d’être of the observance, spelling out UN Resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007 declaring 25 March as Slavery Remembrance. He further presented the theme of the 2017 commemoration, saluted the courage of these men and women, who through their many valuable skills in rhythms, musical traditions, and arts contributed significantly to the development of societies and cultures around the world. Africans deported to the West carried along their culture and tradition, expanding on the rich musical repertoire of these communities, he stressed.
Mr. Njita presented the Human Rights violations, emphasizing the inhumane treatment meted on slaves by traders and masters. Citing articles 1, 3 &4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he stressed that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude…”, and called on the students to denounce any act of racism, discrimination and violence, so as to leave no one behind.
Participants then watched the film; Queen Nanny: Legendary chieftainess” and were thrilled by Queen Nanny’ story, as she reportedly led her people courageously to victory over the mighty British army. During the question and answer session, prizes were offered to students who gave correct answers to questions asked on the film “Queen Nanny”.
The over 175 participants were led by Jean Njita to a guided tour of a poster exhibition on “Remembering Slavery: Recognition, Justice and Development”, composed of sets of 13 of posters highlighting the tenth anniversary of the Remember Slavery Programme, the work of the Decade, contributions of the African diaspora and the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade in English and French. The symbols and message on each poster was explained to the students, to draw their attention to the atrocities of slave trade, slavery and encourage them to denounce any act tantamount to Human Rights violation, racism and discrimination in all its forms.