Latest Hits

BBC’s Slavery and Salvation

The email arrived on March 11, 2019, inviting me to participate in the second series of History of Africa with Zeinab Badawi. My name had been suggested by Robtel Pailey, one of Liberia’s leading young scholars based in the U. K. I was thrilled!

Asked by one of the producers to suggest a location for the on-site recording, I proposed using the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. After all, the ocean exercised such a shaping influence on the contours of Liberian history.

First, there was the sea salt trade that linked this region to the Sahelian empires. Then there was the Portuguese arrival, which redirected West African trade from north to south and caused a realignment in regional power dynamics.

During the slave trade, our lack of natural harbors kept this area from becoming a major exporter of enslaved Africans. In addition, the African-America repatriates arrived via the Atlantic.

My segment was shot from the roof-top of the exquisite Capitol Room Lounge, near the cliff of Mamba Point.

In this episode, Zeinab Badawi visits Ghana and sees how momentum in the trans Atlantic slave trade led to competition for enslaved Africans between European nations who built numerous slave forts along West Africa’s Atlantic coast.

She hears about the inhumane conditions in which slaves awaiting shipment were kept and how women were selected and subjected to rape by their captors.

She also asks what do African academics believe were the main reasons behind abolition and why did many Africans return to the continent such as to Liberia? And how were they received by local communities?

The episode first aired Oct 18, 2020. Watched by 501,877 viewers, the show changed the trajectory of my career. Thanks to Robtel for the plug and to Karton Zawolo for the use of the Capitol Room.