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Capture – (1st Hand View of The Historical Slave Trade)

A first hand view of the slave trade in the 16th-18th century.

Capture!

I, Kay-a-le Olatunde, am from the Yoruba State. I was the woodcutter on my village. I had a wife, Nadia Buari, and a beautiful daughter, Jackie Appiah.

My troubles started when, after wudu one morning, I was in a clearing some miles west of my village. I was preparing charcoal for the local blacksmith, Van Vicker, when I heard a slight rustle behind me. Turning to look, I made out two faces, one white and one black, peering at me from the bushes. In my panic, I dropped the axe foolishly and ran – right into the arms of another black man. In desperation, I fought savagely with him and broke loose.

To my horror, I glanced back and realized that there were five men right on my heels. This, however, caused me not to see a rock in my way, and I tripped, flying headway into a tree trunk. The place suddenly became dark.

The next thing I was aware of was that I was my hands and feet were bound. And I was being hauled along, in the midst of these men. I thrashed about furiously, only to receive a rain of boxes dispensed all over my face. I could taste the blood from a cut on my lip.

After a while, they forced me to walk, pulling me along like a goat until we reached a medium-sized hut; a barracoons they called it. There, to my horror, I met some of the men from my village. They informed me of a massacre my village had suffered, and of how the females had been raped and sodomised, and half of them killed. I broke down upon hearing that my wife and daughter were among the dead.

After two months passed, which saw more tribesmen captured, we were tied together in a coffle, a group of seven to eight of us one behind the other, with forked sticks connecting our heads together. We started a journey with our captors to the sea, which took about a month and a half. Many of my companions either took ill or died during the journey, and by the time we reached the seashore, about half of us were left behind. We were hardly fed or rested during that time.

We were then checked by a physician, and the unhealthy and unfit among us (they were called ‘makrons’) were cast aside and ignored. Some of them were whipped for sport. Those of us that were kept were branded and stored, once again, in barracoons.

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