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Why Britain’s forgotten slave owners?

 

BRITAIN’S FORGOTTEN SLAVE OWNERS

PROCUDER & DIRECTOR:  BEN CHRISTON

DAVID OLUSOGA as Writer and Presenter.

#Prompt# Did this documentary challenge any preconceived notions you had about the subject matter of this film? What were they and where did they stem from?

I barely had any notions before watching this documentary. To be honest I know slavery has existed, and it is still arguable that it still exists today, but I had never thought about it in the way that David Olusoga, the writer of this film, presented it.

When I think of slavery, what comes to mind is usually the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, plus of course the slavery in America. I had never really focused on slavery in Britain and how it must have been even though that I know chunks of enslavement had been there. Neither did I know that the extent to which slavery in Britain had been practiced was as large as the revelation that I got when I watched the film.

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I have always known slavery is an evil, that it was horrible, but I had never fully understood its depths. It was the vastness of the archives that shocked me however. The huge number of slave owners around Britain, and how many slaves these owners had.

My team and I did the topic ‘The Trans-Atlantic’ slave trade in my African Philosophical Thought class last year. The experience was great. The lessons enormous. But barely in our research did we come across Britain. Most of the videos and literature we came across was American. So we did not really delve deeper into Britain. Watching this video has however opened my eyes to these realities. Learning that even after the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was abolished, slavery still existed. This gave me insights on themes like Trans-Atlantic slave trade Abolition versus The Abolition of slavery as a whole.

It was also amazing to learn that the slave owners had to be compensated for, but what was even more amusing was the fact that they invested their money in huge national projects, sparking a new wave of development. Which makes me wonder. Were the slave owners/traders inherently aggressive and enterprising? After all, when the slavery was being abolished, they fought. When they were at losing ends, they filed for a compensation and when they got the money, they invested it in even more productive or rewarding activities.

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The thirst and drive at which these men ran the country was mesmerizing. They were boisterous, aggressive, and influential. They were powerful. They had an overwhelming thirst for prosperity and wealth. They prospered at everything they did despite the cost. No wonder men like George Hibbert defended slavery as much as they could. It is not surprising that one woman in Jamaica, had to completely devalue her slaves, in order to make it clear to the Royal government that the compensation they were making was not enough whatsoever.

Watch Video Here…

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BBC 4’s LOST KINGDOMS OF AFRICA – THE GREAT ZIMBABWE. A Documentary Journal.

I am back with my one pager Documentary Journal for Dr.Gus’ BBC Films. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that this a task I am doing for my Social Theory class. More of analysing history and several philosophical thoughts. 

Prompt #. How do you think the title of this film relates to its content? Discuss.

Even though the title is ‘The Great Zimbabwe’, I found the content highly unrelated to the title. Perhaps the documentary could have been named ‘The Swahili,’ Or the Eastern Coast, The rituals of Manyikeni or even Mapungubwe, since in my opinion, these are the topics the film covers. Up to half way through the film, Dr. Gus is still taking his audience around the Eastern African Coast, Mozambique, and the interior while Zimbabwe itself is barely in there. One could  defend that BBC had been earlier denied the opportunity to film in Zimbabwe but seems to make totally no difference as even when permission was finally granted, the audience could have heard the tales from the people of Zimbabwe as a nation. Not the representation of a country’s history by a group of less than twenty people.

Despite the fact that Zimbabwe was mentioned, that the documentary covered at least the eleven meters tall Great wall of Zimbabwe, I found a very small relationship between the title and the content.

WATCH VIDEO HERE…

From the beginning, Dr. Gus travels around Kilwa, in Tanzania, unveiling the hidden wealth and history of the East African coast. He unveils how Kilwa was a gateway to the coast through its Gold market, its major supplier being the Great Zimbabwe, likewise the filming of Manyikeni in Mozambique. In my opinion, this documentary was not about Zimbabwe and neither was it about Tanzania or Mozambique.

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A corridor in the Great Zimbabwe wall…

It was rather about specific places in these particular countries. The film was about Kilwa and its Gold trade, it was about The Great Mosque of Kilwa, and it was about the Manyikeni in Mozambique, about the rituals of ‘spiritual blessings’ at both Manyikeni and the Zimbabwe Highlands. These were the only detailed places and the film seemed largely focused about them. The documentary lacked the richness of the evidently missing people and culture of the Great Zimbabwe. There was very little evidence even in making the connections. This documentary, in comparison to others like that of ‘the lost Kingdoms of Africa: West Africa or Ethiopia’ where the evidence was floating before the viewer’s eyes, was way not detailed at all. It seemed to have touched the surface instead of the core, unfortunately for me since the title of the documentary had triggered a lot of excitement and expectations.

WATCH VIDEO HERE OR ABOVE…

BBC 4’s Lost Kingdoms of Africa: The Great Zimbabwe

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the video after you’ve watched it… Enjoy!