The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on everyone to work together for equal opportunity, justice and sustainable development for people of African descent. Africa’s influence and legacy, according to him, are plain to see in the vibrant music, bold art, rich foods and inspiring literature that infuse modern culture.
Delivering the Secretary General’s message on the 2016 International Day of remembrance of the victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Lagos, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja noted that the theme of this year’s observance was “Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots”. ‘Less recognized, perhaps, are the contributions that the people of the African diaspora have made to medicine, science, government and general leadership in society,’ he added.
The activities marking the day, held at Southfield Academy, Bariga Lagos, included screening of the film, ‘Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess’; Poster Exhibition on ‘Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers’; briefing and quiz on the ‘The Ark of Return’; and a WebEx interlink with students in Accra and Nairobi.
Curating the poster exhibits, the National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, urged the students to learn from the resilience and determination of Africans who were taken to India as slaves. Many of them, he informed, went on to become Generals, Rulers, and leading professionals while their women became queens in India.
Recalling lessons learnt from the exhibition, 17-year old Chisom Maduba of Southfield Academy Lagos, said she learnt that ‘we should not deny our roots. We should be proud of our African heritage’ while 15-year old Emmanuel Udeaja, acknowledged that he had learnt to say ‘No’ to any form of slavery, racism and human trafficking and added that the film taught him courage and morals.
Earlier, the Proprietress and Administrator of Southfield Academy, Mrs Chioma Dawodu noted the impact of UNIC’s educational programmes and urged the students to seize the opportunity to learn about Slavery and the TransAtlantic Slave Trade which according to her, would help them in recognising those situations that could lead to modern day slavery.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of African Anti-Salvery Coalition, Mr Olufemi Philips, urged everyone to stand firm for freedom and do what is right at all cost just like Queen Nanny.