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September 15 , 2007

The Theologian Slave Trader


A Personal commentary on Fredericus Svane Africanus' autobiography.

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The Theologian Slave Trader explores the life of Fredericus Petersen, a mulatto adopted in 1710 by a Danish Lutheran Priest at Christiansborg Fort in what is now Ghana and who was subsequently brought back to Denmark as a teenager. The Danish king, no less, Frederik IV, was his godfather. Fredericus Petersen wrote a compelling autobiography which for many years has been largely ignored.

In The Theologian Slave Trader, Dr Christiana Oware Knudsen, herself a Ghanaian who for 50 years has lived in Denmark, brings this autobiography, The General Declaration, to life and contemporary relevance by contextualising Africanus' experience within a personal commentary on her personal family history in Ghana.

Dr Knudsen approaches this historical material with the lively and engaging approach of an African story-teller, interweaving historical facts with family legends and documented impressions of the period. In so doing, she also poses a number of challenging contemporary questions about aspects of our understanding of slavery and inter-cultural relations.

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