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"Wonders of Africa": A Eurocentric Enterprise

Molefi Kete Asante


I have tried to delay further commentary on the Gates' project until several articles I am writing come out in other venues. However, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's comment greatly disturbed me because of its personal nature toward Ali Mazrui. Like all of us, both have flaws, but it is not Mazrui's project that is under scrutiny here, but Henry Gates.' We all confronted Ali during his time on the video stage. Now let us look carefully at the nature of the negativity that is included in the Gates project. The beautiful African coastline in Ghana is studded with the haunted vestiges of slave fortresses built by European nations over a period of four hundred years. It is not unlike the history of the European Slave Trade in other parts of West Africa, from Mauritania to Angola, where more than six hundred slave ports were constructed by Europeans to support the rape of Africa. If one listens closely to Henry Louis Gates, the entire project of slavery would not have occurred if it had not been for African involvement. Blaming the victim for the predicament of enslavement is neither historically correct nor morally valid.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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