Chapter 5: The African Question

Ain’t no Black or White

…Because of my research, I came to understand that long after the demise of ancient Egypt, before the slave trade and colonialism, Africa was independent. In the fifteenth century, in spite of the bloodshed that was brought about by the Arab slave trade, most countries in Africa had highly developed levels of social welfare. For nearly a millennium, between the eighth century and the seventeenth century, geographers and navigators who travelled to the continent painted a picture of a land of plenty and a hub of commercial activities; of densely populated countries thriving economies, abundant agriculture and craftsmanship.

Africa had its own genre of development suited positively and solely to its environment. Although the continent had its problems which included inter-tribal wars, they were geared towards the acquisition of prestige or where the result of the Arab slave trade. Africa in this era could boast of its own established economic, political and social organisations. According to this excerpt about the log book of the SAO Gabriel, the explorer Vasco da Gama’s ship: “Africa could have seemed no less civilised than their own coast of Portugal. In the matter of wealth and knowledge of a wider world it must have seemed a great deal more civilised…”

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