Category Archives: Remember Slavery Day

2018 Remember Slavery Commemorated in Yaounde

The 2018 International Day in Memory of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade was commemorated in Cameroon on 26 March through an event organized by UNIC Yaounde, UNESCO and the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy on“Remember Slavery: Triumphs and Struggles for Freedom and Equality”, at the National Museum in Yaounde. Key highlights of the event included;

  1. Panel Discussion

This talk harped on the genesis, context, struggles for freedom/equality and human right violations during slavery era. The main objective was to exchange information on Slavery and UN’s actions and conventions to completely eradicate discrimination, prejudice and racism today with mostly History students from Secondary schools and Universities in Yaounde, the NGO; ‘Pan-African Youth network for a Culture of Peace’ working on Bimbia Slavery cultural heritage site and Human Rights.

Mr. Christian NDOMBI; Cultural Affairs Officer at UNESCO pointed that the history of slavery and Transatlantic slave trade is that of silence, by the perpetrators of the act and the victims, due to shame. He added that UNESCO launched the “slave route” Project in 1980 to break the silence, with in-depth studies undertaken on the practice of slavery, to let the world know the ills of the transatlantic slave trade in a bid to wipe out modern forms of slavery. Mr Ndombi further emphasized that youths are targeted to let them know and remember what transpired during the slave trade not for revenge but for quality education so as to prevent a recurrence of such heinous and inhumane acts.

UNICs Jean NJITA said the United Nations is committed to help young people learn from the history of slavery and transatlantic slave trade in order to help fight racism and prejudice, for countless stories of enslaved children, women and men (such as the recent story of black migrants sold as slaves in Libya) still remains untold. “On this Day, the United Nations urges us to reflect on the inhumane and humane capacity that lies within us” he added, further calling on all to take the commitments spelt out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations as a guide for the present and the future so that a more just and equitable world can be bequeathed to future generations.

Mrs. Dorothée Onguene; National Programme Officer at the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy presented a synopsis of the different UN Conventions such as the one on slavery adopted in 1926, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates that no one is to be enslaved or held in servitude. She reiterated that slavery has not completely disappeared, as it is still being practiced through force child labour; forced use of arms by children; sexual exploitation of girls and pornography; with girls being forced to work to settle parents’ debt, domestic slavery. Mrs Onguene stressed that the UN has appointed a special rapporteur on slavery, to report regularly on issues related to slavery and bring help to victims.

Professor Raymond Asombang; Director of the National Museum lauded UN’s continued strives to completely eradicate Slavery. As a way to support this UN initiative, the national museum has also setup an exhibition stand on slavery and the transatlantic slave trade to showcase what really happened during the transatlantic slave trade, with light thrown on the phenomenon in Cameroon such as Bimbia, Bangou and Bapa slave markets.

During the question and answer session, questions asked with satisfactory answers from panelists included:

  • What is the real contribution of the UN towards eradicating aspects of slavery that still exist in Cameroon?
  • What were the sanctions taken by the UN in relation to what happened in Libya?
  • What has African states or Individuals done to eradicate this practice?
  • Does the commemoration of slavery and transatlantic slave trade not instead open up old wounds?

UNIC Yaounde provided information kits to the over 105 participants at the event containing: the UNSG’s message, brief presentation of slavery and slave trade, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, notebooks, storyline of the movie, etc… UNIC equally mobilized journalist to cover the event such as Ariane TV, Cameron Radio and Television, The Post Newspaper, Cameroon Tribune, Canal2 Television, Camer.be.

2. Poster Exhibition on the «A Legacy of Black Achievers»

Participants were led on a guided tour of the 25 posters exhibited at the entrance of the National museum in both English and French on the theme “A Legacy of Black Achievers”. UNIC’s Jean Njita presented a summary of the exhibition before delving into a poster by poster presentation, highlighting the achievements of each of the 23 notable personalities, and called on participants to emulate these models by working hard and excelling in their education, for they could achieve these things, then they also can.

Educational Talk on 2017 Slavery Remembrance at La Gaieté International School, Yaounde

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.

 

Educational Outreach Event to commemorate the 2016 Remember Slavery Day at Lycée de la Cité Verte

Photo1The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Yaounde organized an Educational Outreach Event on the theme  Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots”, to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of participantsthe Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the Lycée de la Cité Verte (Government High School) in Yaounde on 07 April 2016.

The objective of the event was to increase awareness and to educate students of the rich African culture and traditions that have impacted life in countries that were involved in the slave trade, and also decry the human Rights violations which characterized the exercise.

Participants watched the projection of the film; Queen Nanny: Legendary chieftainess”, followed by an exchange with students to ensure a better understanding of the story as Queen Nanny courageously led her people to victory over the mighty British army.Photo2  Photo21

The Panel discussion witnessed the participation of Christian Ndombi, in charge of Culture at UNESCO Bureau in Yaounde, and UNIC’s Jean Njita. Mr. Njita presented the Human Rights violations, stating the inhumane treatment meted on slaves by traders and masters. Using excepts from 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…”

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Mr. Ndombi distinguished slavery from transatlantic slave trade, condemned the silence surrounding this story which lasted over 4 centuries. He narrated the resistance of Africans to slave trade, as highlighted in the film “Queen Nanny”, adding that slavery led to the legitimation of the contempt against Black people whereby Blacks are considered an inferior race, and thus discriminated against (rooted in the “Black Code”). Africans deported to the West carried along their culture and tradition to the new world, expanding on the rich musical repertoire such as Jazz.

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Panelists provided answers to questions raised by students. Press kits comprised of the UNSG message, background information on theme, Slave trade, and the brochure of the Ark of Return were distributed to participants and the media. UNIC also handed a gift of documents for the school library.