Skip to Content

Africans bathing in a pool in Benin. Photo: Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma'aji
‎Cotonou

Historian: ‘Africans must be condemned for the slave trade’

Professor Abiola Félix Iroko gave an interview on Benin Web TV where he contradicted the notions of the history of colonialism as represented by cultural Marxists. He recalled that blacks themselves sold black slaves.

Published: July 28, 2020, 6:18 am

    Beninese historian Abiola Félix Iroko gave an interview to local media Benin Web TV. He reminded viewers of the real history at a time when anti-colonialists are busy unbolting statues from their plinths and shouting that white privilege should be abolished because of slavery. He explained how Africans themselves took advantage of the slave trade.

    This professor at the history and archeology department of the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin) declared on July 25: “When we talk about the slave trade, people only accuse whites. But they came (to Africa) as buyers and we [Africans] were sellers.”

    He assured viewers that the sale of slaves was not only an isolated phenomenon, since “the king himself sold them”. Abiola Félix Iroko detailed these transactions: “King Adandozan sold the mother of his consanguineous brother (Prince Gakpe) who later became Guézo”. As the Salon Beige website pointed out, he was the ninth king of Abomey between 1797 and 1818.

    This historian – holder of a doctorate in letters and human sciences from the University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne – did not mince his words: “There are no buyers without sellers, we (Africans) were sellers.”

    Abiola Félix Iroko (74 years old) is a Beninese historian, author of several books on African civilizations and slavery in Africa. Holder of a doctorate in literature and human sciences from the University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne, he is Professor in the Department of History and Archeology at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin). He is also the president of the Scientific Council of the university (HECM), High School of Commerce and Management of Benin.

    He continued: “When the slave trade was abolished, Africans were against abolition. King Kosoko of Lagos (Nigeria) was against abolition at the time. A king of Dahomey whose name I do not mention was also against abolition. The slave trade which lasted four centuries is an unfortunate phenomenon of long duration that must be classified among the crimes against humanity for which Africans are also partly responsible.

    “It is a question of co-responsibility. It is not the buyer who must be condemned, the seller must also be condemned and moreover the seller because the seller has ties of affinity and kinship with the one who is sold. Of those who were sold and had offspring there, many returned after the abolition. Some returned home with Portuguese-sounding names, Da-Silva, D’Oliveira. Unfortunately, some of them who came in the 19th century became, in turn, slaveholders and bought slaves for their correspondents who remained in Brazil. Africans resumed this trade after abolition.”

    He said that eventually machines accomplished more in one day than a slave could accomplish in five days. The slave trade was thus abolished, but those who initiated it “did not do it” because “they loved blacks”. Abiola Félix Iroko explained. “It was not out of philanthropy as many think,” concluded the professor, adding that capitalism actually wiped out the slave trade. “It is because they noticed at a given moment that with the development of capitalism and especially of machinery, they no longer need as much labor.”

    In his book, La côte des esclaves et la traite atlantique : les faits et le jugement de l’histoire, the eminent historian firmly dismissed “the rhetoric of the supporters of the thesis of reparations” in no uncertain terms. “The Africans haggled for almost half a millennium with slave traders over the price of their kin they were selling. They still want to continue today to haggle with the descendants [of slave traders] over the market value of the blacks that their ancestors sold to the detriment of the development of their own regions,” wrote the historian (pp. 148-149).

    He also explained that historical place and context were important. “The statue of King Leopold II of Belgium in Brussels does not have the same meaning as the same statue in Kinshasa, for example. We must therefore avoid amalgamation. The statue of King Leopold in Brussels seems very welcome to me. He is a very important character for them and who represents something glorious for their past. They dominated a colony which they exploited. It is a good thing for them and I am opposed to the acts of vandalism consisting in unbolting such a statue in Brussels (Belgium).”

    He said the same statue [statue of King Leopold II of Belgium, editor’s note] had no reason to exist in Africa, regardless of the location. “King Leopold II is like an insult to Africans, an insult to Zairians […] But if there are Congolese who are in Brussels and who are embarrassed by these statues, let them go home calmly.”

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    • ronehjr

      This will go nowhere because it is too reasonable.

    Africa

    Violence, retribution and the South African justice system

    PretoriaHowever one looks at it, the country has lost its way: the South African police are not in a position to handle crime effectively, declared the ANC’s own chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on police Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson in November 2020. For four years in a row, the police service could only garner a qualified audit because the department did not fulfil the requirements set out for a clean audit. Reasons such as unauthorised spending and the poor quality of the department’s financial affairs were given for this failure.

    Macron tells Africans ‘France has no fixed identity’

    PretoriaEmmanuel Macron concluded his two-day visit, to Rwanda and then to South Africa, on a very political note. Praising, in a speech to the French community in South Africa, the “partnership” that he wants to forge with the countries of the continent, the president said he aimed to “change views and minds” on France's relationship with Africa. For France the message was also very clear: Macron declared that "France has no fixed identity".

    Video clip shows how South African hero fights off armed attack

    PretoriaA film clip from South Africa shows how a former task force member heroically fights his way through an armed robbery on a motorway in the South African capital Pretoria. Despite the fact that the vehicle is hit by bullets a large number of times, the man, Leo Prinsloo, 48, does not lose his cool but rams the robbers' cars several times before he, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, chases them on foot.

    The race for Sudan

    KhartoumIs Washington once again trying to be a hegemonic power in Africa? Are the Americans back?

    ‘Who are the great apes?’ French school in Morocco stirs up controversy

    CasablancaConfusion, anger, incomprehension… The parents of students at the French primary school Ernest Renan in Morocco were somewhat taken aback. On Thursday March 25, their children received a peculiar science exercise.

    Ahmed Maiteeq: Is he the newcomer and future leader of Libya?

    TripoliAfter a period of failed Tunisian negotiations under the auspices of the UN and UNSMIL's Stephanie Williams, which led to discord among the participants and exacerbated relations between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), there is renewed hope in Libya for the gradual restoration of constructive dialogue through economic arrangements.

    ‘Economic terrorism’: Attacks on foreign truck drivers intensify in South Africa

    PretoriaIn South Africa, in recent weeks, dozens of trucks have been set on fire with Molotov cocktails, cargoes looted, drivers injured, killed, in a fresh wave of particularly brutal attacks. The road transport industry is "under siege", according to the South African press. Most of the assaulted drivers are foreigners.

    Libya: Bashagha’s career puts Europe at risk

    TripoliA criminal Libyan politician and his Islamist gang are getting ready to run the country and threating the West and Europe. How did that happen?

    Fathi Bashagha: An ambitious radical seeking to seize power in Libya

    France and the United States may want to support him, but the price will be a new round of escalation in the conflict.

    Radicals among the radicals – Libya’s new leadership may even be more radical, Islamist

    TunisThe UN-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) is often criticized for its links to radical political Islam.

    Go to archive