International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Grade 7 learners from Lynnwood Ridge Primary School showing their red palm cut-outs

The United Nations declared 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to remind people about the negative impacts and consequences of the slave trade.

On this occasion UNIC Pretoria organised a screening of the movie “Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess” for Grade 7 students of Lynnwood Ridge Primary School in Pretoria. The purpose of the screening was to teach students about slavery and to emphasise the role of the United Nations in the abolition of slavery and restoration of human rights and dignity to all victims of slavery.

The movie depicted African heroines who fought to liberate black people from slavery. Among these heroines were: Granny Nanny of the Maroons in the Americas, Nana Yaa Asantewaa of the West Africa’s Ashanti, Queen Nzinga of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms in West Africa. These were strong women who, during the 17th and 18th century, fought against slavery and the lack of human rights that slaves were subjected to.

This International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade was also an occasion for UNIC Pretoria to talk about slavery and its relevance to the Sustainable Development Goals which promotes reducing inequalities. Links were also made between slavery and the rise of racism and, xenophobia and how Africans were treated as commodities to be battered and traded in exchange for goods and material items.

The Grade 7 learners in anticipation for the visit from UNIC Pretoria prepared a short verbal demonstration against Slavery. Using red palm cut-outs, they chanted “Slavery is cruel… We must have respect for each other, each other’s humanity and each other’s cultures… Therefore, we can no longer ignore slavery, we are all equal… Let’s stop slavery, Let’s abolish slavery all over the world”. The activity comes in the same week of the UN commemorating International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which is marked as Human Right Day in South Africa.