In this epochal historical novel, Professor Modey takes another look at both the European slave trade to Africa and plantation slavery in the New World, both are old subjects. He dramatizes an imaginary journey of apology and shows how a delegation from fundamentalist groups from the former Old South traveled to Africa to show genuine remorse, make atonement and ask for reconciliation from the chiefs. He points out how the Europeans and Americans, who had the lion’s share of the trade and made tons of wealth from it, must go past the sugar coated words of apology – -make “atonement” for the profane past and ask for final reconciliation.
He points out in the book that regardless of what people think, Africans did not invite the Europeans to their shores to buy their blood brothers and sisters. The “Oburonis” just showed up in Africa, but claimed that they just stumbled upon the continent. They imposed the slave trade on the African people using their guns and cannons to force the chiefs to exchange prisoners of war for guns, broadcloth and rum. So he said Africans are the victims and should not be going around doing all the apologizing and performing atonement rituals.
The opposition to the slave trade from the African chiefs and kings is well-dramatized in the historical novel. He discusses the physical and demographic effects of the “mfecane” in detail. He demonstrated that the most lasting impacts are the psychological scars – -inferiority complex in Africans everywhere and institutionalized racism across the globe. Hence the struggles to overcome the forces – -betrayal, disunity, distrust and, unlike the recent economic success of Asian nations, the African leaders’ inability to experience similar success in the modern global economy effectively, he blames on the Americans and Europeans because of the stigma.
He discusses efforts to apologize for the slave trade – -the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Southern Baptists, the USA Congress and Senate, several American states such as Virginia, North Carolina and New Jersey. But Professor Modey points out that, instead of sweet sugar-coated words of apologies, the African leaders need atonement – -help for Africa to heal from the lingering effects of the notorious slave trade. But he wants the Europeans and Americans to put Africa back where it once was before their ancestors came and decimated the continent with the wicked trade and destroyed the continent at iconoclastic proportions. Though the setting of the book is the Panfest festival at Cape Coast, Ghana, highlighting the dungeons, the Palaver Hall, the Portuguese chapels, the cannons, the lighthouse and the Shrine of Music, the author uses Memphis, Tennessee to demonstrate the lingering impact of plantation slavery on the Africans in the Diaspora.
The author dramatizes how time is running out for atonement and present scenarios of remarkable disastrous consequences if the descendants of the former slave trades and plantation slave owners refuse to atone for the profane past. In spite of his drama of disasters and turmoil emanating from the restless souls of the dearly departed, the book, however, ends on a note of optimism about the future – -Africa shall rise and the world would eventual emerge from the ashes of the greatest calamity in global history.
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