Slave trade in East Africa

Slave trade in East Africa

Slave trade was the trade that involved the exchange or selling of people as commodities. It was carried out between some African leaders and the coastal people dealing with foreigners like Europeans, Americans and Arabs.

The coming of the missionaries in East Africa called with this in human trade. They therefore put pressure on the mother countries to stop buying slaves from East Africa as soon as possible.

Problems Caused By Slave Trade to the Africans

  • A  number of Africans lost their lives because of slave trade raiding that at times involved shooting at the escaping Africans
  • There was destruction of property such as home states, houses hold property and burning of gardens which left many Africans in misery.
  • It led to the displacement of the Africans from their native homes as soon as they ran away into hiding places for fear of being captured by slave raiders.
  • East Africans also experienced a decline in population as many people lost their lives and others taken away as slaves.
  • African labour was greatly exploited on the farms of the coastal farmers such as clove plantations, sugar cane and coconuts. In this case they were over worked and yet they were not paid.
  • African women were sexually abused by the Arabs during slave trade. The Arabs could buy them for sexual satisfaction and used them to buy others.
  • Hatred and anger developed among different communities because of consistent raids on each other. This promoted disunity among East African communities.
  • There was family breakdown due to the fact that some family members were taken into slavery and others abandoned for fear of being captured.
  • There was insecurity in the interior of East Africa as different communities raided each other in search for slaves
  • The people of the interior suffered from famine a partly because the able bodied young men and women were taken away into slavery hence no food production.
  • Slave trade undermined the African dignity because human beings were reduced from community by buying and selling.
  • There was also decline in African culture as some of the Africans were disrupted from practicing their traditional religions because of insecurity.
  • It also made some Africans to practice intermarriage which was against their norms.
  • Slave trade also led to the exploitation of African natural resources especially minerals which were exploited by slave trade dealers.
  • African art and craft industry declined as slave trade dealers imported finished goods into East Africa e.g.  beads, clothes, mirrors etc. Many Africans started using those goods than their locally made goods like bark cloth.
  • Some African leaders lost their powers and authority due to slaves trade e.g. the Nyamwezi chiefs were raided by Mirambo hence bringing them under his personal control and leadership.
  • Slave trade partly contributed to the colonization of African by the British, this is because the British came in the name of abolishing slave trade but they ended up colonizing Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania for their own economic interests.
  • Very many people were captured and faced hard life as they were always crying on their way to the coast due to the cains they were wiped and sometimes they were chinned whether healthy or un healthy.
  • Those captured as slaves were loaded with heavy trade items on their heads as they were walking to the coast which made them suffer the more.
  • Slave trade led to the emergency of many orphans ever it AID a major threat. Orphans suffered as they lacked elders to care of their well being because the death of their parents during slave raids.
  • Slave raiding disorganized the long distance trade because it hindered the importation of high quality goods for African to use due to the insecurity.
  • Slave trade exposed the enslaved Africans to unfair hard labour yet they were poorly paid and sometimes were not paid at all.

Qn. Discuss the challenges brought by slave trade towards the people of East Africa

Problems faced by the ex-slavers in East Africa.

  • Ex-slaves were those who were freed/ set free from slavery. They are also called free slaves after being set free, they experienced the following problems:
  • Some lacked clear geographical knowledge and understand of their native homes and therefore many of them got lost on their way back home.
  • They suffered from loneliness and lack of company which stressed their lives. This is because slave trade had distanced them from their families.
  • They lacked medical care due to scarcity of medical services yet many of them were frequently attacked by tropical diseases. 
  • The adult ex-slaves suffered from sexual starvation because they lacked company of their sexual patterns.
  • The ex-slaves found it had to find and acquire land for settlement and begin a new life. This is because they feared to go back to their homes to avoid being recaptured.
  • They suffered from language barrier which led to poor communication among the coastal people.
  • They lacked a source of lively hood since they had no serious economic activities from where they could earn a living.
  • Those who decided to go back home In the interior of East Africa had to endure moving long distance
  • They suffered from psychological torture because they had been exposed to hard times of life e.g. rape which made their lives difficult.
  • Some ex-slaves were kept with a feeling that they were not yet free and there4, they equally lived as if they were still under slavery.
  • They constantly lived in a worrying state which made them uncomfortable and most of them lost their lives shortly after escaping from slavery.
  • Some ex-slaves were still too young to establish independent home and start for themselves new families.
  • They considered themselves as social misfits /out casts in the society because of the humiliations they went through like being striped necked.
  • They were demoralized and lost hope in life. Therefore many of them retired from normal, social and economic activities because they saw no bright future ahead of them.
  • They lost social contacts with their own family members and relatives which also left them psychologically traumatized.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *