I'm blogging from the International Colloquium on Slavery, Slave Trade and Their Consequences, which opened at the Royal Park Hotel, Iloko-Ijesa, Osun State, on Monday 23 August.
The Colloquium is organised by the UNESCO Category II Centre of Black Culture and International Understanding, based in Osogbo, headed by Professor Wole Ogundele. Heading the organising committee of the colloquium is Professor Abi Derefaka.
Major scholars, writers and thinkers as well as performers are here: Toyin Falola, Bolanle Awe, Runoko Rashidi, Chinweizu, Edmund Moukala, Paul Lovejoy, Ivor Miller (who's doing major research into Calabar Efik culture in the Diaspora as a result of the Slave Trade), Doudou Diene (UN Special Rapporteur on these matters, who delivered a beautiful Keynote Address on opening day 23 August, in a speech that seemed to come straight from his soul), Ali Moussa-Iye (of the UNESCO Slave Routes Project), Sheila Walker (who's made a major film on the Slave Trade in conjunction with UNESCO), historian E.J Alagoa... The list is endless.
Osun Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola attended a session this morning, on 'Slave Market, Routes, Monuments, Relics and Tourism'. Other plenary sessions have included: 'Reconciliation, Reparation and Rehabilitation', Globalisation and New Forms of Enslavement', 'Women, Slavery and the Slave Trade' (see my report from one session), 'Regional Pespectives on Slavery and the Slave Trade' and 'Historiography of the Slavery and the Slave Trade'.
Last night Tiki Mercury-Clarke gave a performance on the role on Negro Spirituals during slavery and the roots of Gospel Music (I now have her CD 'Life Every Voice and Sing!). The foregoing URL shows Mercury-Clarke with a bald head, but here in Iloko-Ijesa she's got a locked hair flowing past her shoulders. There's a Gala Night tonight, with a performance by Orlando Julius, the great Highlife musician whose wife is African American.
The Colloquium is accompanied by an exhibition curated by the UNESCO Slave Routes Project (see photo above).
The colloquium had a joint opening ceremony with the Global Conference of Black Nationalities, holding right now in Osogbo. Both come to a close tomorrow.
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