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Educating David Olusoga

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

David Olusoga is an accredited historian; perhaps he should teach history instead of propaganda.

It’s amazing this guy should have been awarded an OBE, and perhaps even more amazing he accepted it, Britain being so racist and all that. Not for the first time he has graced the virtual pages of the Grauniad, and not for the first time he isn’t telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about his favourite subject.

“Black people were told that they had no history” he says when discussing a new edition of a book by former slave Olaudah Equiano. And why was that, d’ya think? Having had some training in the discipline, Olusoga cannot be one of those Afrocentrist idiots who believe blacks built the pyramids and everything else. Yes, the odd black soldier did serve Rome, and there were small numbers of blacks connected with Islam, but in Black Africa, where the White Man hadn’t trod or the Arab before him, no civilisation worthy of the name existed.

This previously unpublished photograph was taken at Onitsha, Nigeria in 1939. The man in the foreground is carrying a box on his head, the way Africans transported goods before the White Man, because they never got round to inventing the wheel. Films from the 1920s and 30s show native Africans living primitive lives in mud huts with no proper sanitation, no medicine worthy of the name, no anything. We are told today these people were the victims of “Imperialism”, that their countries were plundered, the wealth was sucked out of them by Britain and other European powers. Seriously, like did we force them to live in mud huts? Or did the Europeans drag primitive peoples up by their bootstraps – those who could afford boots – so their descendants, people like Olusoga, could live in the modern world instead of a malaria ridden jungle and be dead by fifty?

One thing Africa did have though was slavery, another obsession of Olusoga. According to the aforementioned Olaudah Equiano, the chiefs in his native Benin sold slaves to European slavers.

As Olusoga points out, Equiano bought his freedom, but doesn’t ask how. Were slaves paid? Yes, some of them. As anyone who has studied this subject properly will realise, slavery has a complex history; Roman slaves were paid, and could also buy their freedom, some of them. Some have claimed Equiano’s memoir is a fraud, that he was really born in America; it is most likely that as with many autobiographies his tale has been embellished, but what can we learn from it? More to the point, what can we learn from Olusoga?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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