May 13, 2021

OPINION: Really Hilary?

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By Nathan ‘Jolly’ Green. June 22, 2020.

Is there a time and place for apologising even if you are not personally guilty? Perhaps, but all situations are different.

It is important to remember that apologising is not necessarily an admission of guilt; it can also be an admission of responsibility. Taking responsibility for something that someone else has said or done within a department, government, or a corporation is common when you are the one in control of the perpetrator. Some people even go further than just apologising for the actions of others; they often resign their position of power.

Would you expect to be held responsible for something your predecessors in a company or government did? How about what your ancestors did, or what your country did 200 -400 years ago? Well, I suppose it would be unreasonable to hold a person responsible for the past behaviour of others. But it does not hurt to apologise for the conduct of others, particularly if it helps quell the ill feelings of others. But the apology must be sincere.

Some African rulers have apologised for their predecessor’s involvement in the slave trade. They apologised knowing full well that it was Africans that sold Africans and their African ancestors involved in the trade earned millions from it.

1998, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told an audience including Bill Clinton: “African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their people and selling them. If anyone should apologise, it should be the African chiefs. We still have those traitors here even today.”

Ref: Smith, David. “African chiefs urged to apologise for the slave trade”. BBC News.


1999, Odeefuo Boa Amponsem III, the King of Denkyira, was elected President of the National House of Chiefs. During his term heading the national chiefs, officially apologised to all descendants of victims of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade for the role that African chiefs played. The Kingdom of Denkyira itself was enriched by the slave trade and grew to its greatest strength in the 17th century through a combination of the gold and human trade.


1999, Benin, Africa: Luc Gnacadia, minister of environment and housing for Benin said: “The slave trade is a shame, and we do repent for it.”

1999, President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin (formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey) while in America astonished an all-black congregation in Baltimore by falling to his knees and begging African-Americans’ forgiveness for the “shameful” and “abominable” role Africans played in the slave trade.

Ref: “Ending the Slavery Blame-Game”, The New York Times, April 22 2010.

Adding to the apology Luc Gnacadia, minister of environment and housing for Benin, later said: “The slave trade is a shame, and we do repent for it.”

Ref: “Benin Officials Apologise for Role In U.S. Slave Trade”. Chicago Tribune, May 1 2000.

Researchers estimate that 3 million slaves were exported out of the Slave Coast bordering the Bight of Benin.

1999, West African President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana apologised for his country’s involvement in the slave trade.

Ref: Ref: “Ending the Slavery Blame-Game”, The New York Times, April 22, 2010.

2000, West Africa, Benin: In Cotonou, Benin, before an audience consisting of high-level delegates from Africa, Europe and the Americas, the president of Benin, Mathieu Kérékou, formally apologised to the descendants of slaves throughout the world. These two unprecedented, dramatic events were part of a two-day conference convened by President Kérékou to start a reconciliation process between the descendants of slaves, the descendants of slave traders and the descendants of their African accomplices. In his opening speech, President Kérékou welcomed delegates from the black Diaspora to Benin, a country, he said, they “are related to by such links that the tragic painful mistakes of the dark centuries of our history have not been able to alter. The president added that “the heart and conscience of Africans and African Americans are swelled up with the chapters of four centuries of history written in tears and blood. He recalled the “sad memories of blood-trailed route, of ephemeral objects sailing out of view on the sea, of Blacks thrown to sharks, families parted forever. Recalling “Those men and women sold in the shameful trade markets, enslaved and turned into mere cattle on hostile plantations, the president did not shy away from “our guilty complicities in this hideous trade: the man-hunts that took place in the hostile forests, moments of great anxiety and the time of departure for unknown places.”


2002, Ghana, West Africa: The Archbishop of Accra [Ghana] Charles G. Palmer-Buckle apologised on behalf of Africans for the part Africans played in the slave trade, and the apology was accepted by bishop John Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

Ref: Tom Roberts, Ghanaian bishop offers apology for Africans’ part in slave trade, National Catholic Reporter, September 13, 2002.

2003, USA: Cyrille Oguin Ambassador for Benin Africa, whilst touring schools and churches throughout the United States offered a formal apology for the country’s ancestries’ involvement in the slave trade. “In the name of the government and the people of Benin, on behalf of President Mattie Ke’re’kou, I say to you all, we are sorry,” says Oguin. “We are deeply, deeply sorry.”

Beyond the straightforward apology, a key part of the ambassador’s message addressed the issue of responsibility. Slave traders only share part of the blame for what happened centuries ago, he says. “We believe it is easy to say that those other people did it, but we also believe that if we are not helping them, if we did not assist them, if we did not play a role in it, it would not have happened.”

Benin’s slave trade reconciliation movement has been under way since 1999, when the country’s president sponsored a conference on the subject. In addition to healing old wounds, the ambassador says seeking forgiveness has offered new economic opportunities. Reconciliation, he says, is the first step to healing old wounds and opening economic development. “The president of Benin, the people of Benin have asked me to come here and apologise for the government, for the Benin people and for Africa for what we all know happened,” Oguin says. “Where our parents were involved in this awful, this terrible, trade.”

2009, Nigeria, The Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria wrote an open letter to all African chieftains whose ancestors participated in the slave trade calling for an apology for their role in the Atlantic slave trade: “We cannot continue to blame the white men, as Africans, particularly the traditional rulers, are not blameless. Because the Americans and Europe have accepted the cruelty of their roles and have forcefully apologised, it would be logical, reasonable and humbling if traditional African rulers accept blame and formally apologise to the descendants of the victims of their collaborative and exploitative slave trade.”


Ref: “Ending the Slavery Blame-Game”, The New York Times, April 22, 2010.

2010, Libya: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi apologised for Arab involvement in the slave trade, saying: “I regret the behaviour of the Arabs… They bought African children and then bought Africans then brought them to North Africa, they made them slaves, they sold them like animals, and they took them as slaves and shamefully traded them.” Ref: “Gaddafi apologises for Arab slave traders”. Press T.V. October 11, 2010. Ref:

2013, Alabama, USA: African King Kpoto-Zounme Hakpon III of Benin told a black audience in Alabama, “I want to apologise for the role my ancestors played in the slave trade….I knew one day I wanted to come to this land and ask forgiveness of my black brothers and sisters. I wanted to cross the ocean to see the land where my ancestors suffered.”



2017, February 2, Ghana: A plaque at Elmina Castle [installed] shows the role African chiefs played in the slave trade and apologises for letting it happen in the first place. Ref:

2018, Nigeria: In a statement, Oba Akanbi [Oluwo {king} of Iwo land] said:

Excerpt: “I regret the involvement of traditional institution in slave trade. Monarchs were one of the stakeholders that promoted the ignoble trade. “White men never forced us to sell our children as slaves. Humans were offered in exchange for glittering material gifts. Such ignorance shouldn’t have survived without the [African] monarch’s consent, which by then were the heads. So, as a paramount and natural ruler, I am taking the lead to tender our apologies.

Ref: Article by Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo. June 16, 2018, in News, News Update.

2018, African King apologises for slavery, video.


2018, October, Jamaica: African religious leaders made an apology to Jamaicans and the world, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, for the role their forefathers played in the trans-Saharan and transatlantic slave trade centuries ago.

Led by Chairman of the African Forum on Religion and Government (AFReG), Professor Delayno Adadevoh, the leaders asked for forgiveness and made a number of promises, to work for the betterment of humanity.

Hilary Beckles is demanding more than $70 billion from Britain and Europe, but nothing from African countries?

So why do Afro-Caribbean’s – still deny that slavery was an African thing for centuries, long before the white man arrived, and want to deny that Africans sold their ancestors? Here are several Africans who have apologised after admitting their ancestors captured, kept, and sold slaves. Has anyone demanded reparations from them or their country’s? Why not? Because it is better to demand reparations from the white man, it helps with the ingrained racism and hatred that many Caribbean’s carry and portray.

Plus, Hilary Beckles has a second job, writing and selling books. The books sell much better when the white man can be totally blamed for everything. It does not help his demand for reparations when Africans are in the frame as well; it ruins his book sales.


DISCLAMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ or official policies of iNews Cayman/

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