Pre-Colonial (1790) Manufacture in Africa

Listen Siblings, I come in peace,

“If you want to keep something secret from black folks, put it between the covers of a book.” — African Proverb (America)

While tanning leather in the open air, gun shots rang and my village went into a panic.  We were being invaded.  Brave drummers beat out the position and number of the invaders.  We could not withstand such a large force.  Yet we mobilized: we’d rather die free than live as slaves.

It was farewell Earth for most of us.  I saw that my mother, sisters and wife were guarding the safe house.  I kissed and embraced each.  Then I held my son for the last time–he was in their care now.  The women handed me my lance and concealed their poniards.  They smiled at the men who would die for them.  I heard the invaders closing in.  The signal was made and I rushed to the fray hoping to get at least two of them.

Four–not bad.

I watched the fruitless sacrifice of my kin as I lay dying on the floor.  Relentless women slashing at kidnappers, ’til their bodies were riddled with gunshots.  They never gave up, being kicked and shot on the floor, they still grabbed onto legs to save their children.  True mothers of African standard.

Though through it all.  My only offspring survived.  He would slave in America for thirty-years then suddenly slump over in a cotton field and die.  For thirty-years he disdained a Father whom he believed swung from trees and sold him on his off-day.  This was two-hundred years ago, but his descendants still never learned what we manufactured in Africa.

The record is here and can be ‘common sense’ when we act in our interest and create African Blood Siblings Community Centers.  To know that we manufactured exquisite goods is the first step to becoming exquisite manufacturers.  Pass on this message and write to create a center.  It’s your commitment that will make a difference for African people.  From consumers to producers: subscribe, share, love.

The following is an Excerpt from the Introduction of “Before the Slave Trade” by Robin Walker,

Pre-Colonial (1790) Manufacture in Africa
Comments and Bold by Onitaset Kumat
Passage written by Robin Walker
Video by Robin Walker

Before The Slave TradeThe Select Committee on the Slave Trade (1790)

In April 1790 a British Government Select Committee called Charles Berns Wadstrom to testify before them. They published his testimony on 11 May 1790 in a report entitled Minutes of the evidence taken before the Select Committee on the Slave Trade.

In discussing the kidnapping and mass enslavement of Africans, the Select Committee cross examined a number of expert witnesses who had first-hand experience of the enslaving process. Mr Wadstrom, for example, was particularly well informed about its impact on the West African territories today called Senegal, Gambia, and Gorée Island. What follows here is taken from his testimony given on 29 April 1790.

The Select Committee was keen to know about the quality of culture in that part of Africa. They asked Wadstrom: “Have they any manufactures amongst them?”

Mr Wadstrom’s reply was most edifying: “I have been surprised to see with what industry they manufacture their cottons, their indigo, and other dying articles, as well as several sorts of manufacture in wood; they make soap; they tan leather, and work it exceedingly well, and even with good taste … they work bar iron … into several articles, as for instance, lances, instruments for tillage, poniards, &c.; they work in gold very ingeniously, and so well, that I never have seen better made articles of that kind in Europe; a great number of articles for ornaments of gold, silver, brass, leather, &c.” (Minutes of the evidence taken before the Select Committee on the Slave Trade, p.32, by Norris et al.)

Wadstrom further stated that: “Their cloth and their leather they manufacture with uncommon neatness; and I have samples with me to shew [sic] in case it should be desired.” (Ibid., p.33.)

From the Wadstrom testimony, additional facts emerged. The King of that region was called Dalmanny. A well educated man, he held the position of Grand Marabout before his election as King. His subjects were very honest and hospitable and showed Wadstrom “all civility and kindness.” In addition, they had “an extraordinary genius for commerce.” Interestingly, they also had a “Materia Medica” of “about 2,000 or nearer 3,000” plants. (Ibid., pp.28-36.)

King Dalmanny “had entirely prohibited the Slave trade throughout his whole Kingdom.” He also banned the sale of alcohol. However, the Senegal Company, a French concern, initially attempted to bribe the King to change his policy on the trade in people, but he refused their presents. Consequently, the Senegal Company resorted to bribing the lighter-skinned Moors to attack and kidnap Dalmanny’s subjects. The Company supplied the Moors with the necessary arms, gunpowder and ammunition to carry out the raids.

[Read More in “Did We Sell Each Other Into Slavery?” by Oscar L. Beard]

The result of the aggression, according to Wadstrom, was “the chief hindrance to the improvement of the cultivation; in so far as the Negroes never venture to go out into the fields unless very well armed.” (Ibid., p.36.) Significantly, the Select Committee asked: “Do you mean to say, that if the Slave Trade was abolished, they would extend their cultivation and manufactures?”

Wadstrom answered: “Yes; particularly if some good European people had enterprising spirit enough to settle among them in another way than is the case at present.” (Ibid., p.35.)

[Read More as to why he answered this way here: “The Philosophical Basis of Racial Separation and the Means to Achieve it.”]

The testimony of Charles Wadstrom is highly important. How many people know that Africans used to manufacture soap? How many people are aware that Africans manufactured in gold so well that no better made articles of the goldsmith’s craft were to be found in Europe?

This is also evidence that the image of a primitive and backward Africa was NOT believed by the British Government. They knew better. This is noteworthy and ironic since they were the leading players behind the kidnapping and mass enslavement of Africans! Moreover, the Select Committee were shown exquisite items of African manufacture that may STILL be in the possession of the British Government or its kindred institutions.

Other witnesses before the Select Committee mentioned the large number of West Africans who were trilingual – i.e. fluent in English, French and Portuguese – in addition to speaking their own languages Wolof, Mandinga, etc. This high facility with language occurs over and over in African history.


Watch Robin Walker destroy more myths:

2 thoughts on “Pre-Colonial (1790) Manufacture in Africa

  1. Also consider the Scottish explorer Mungo Park’s observation of the city of Segou, in what is now Mali:

    The view of this extensive city; the numerous canoes upon the river; the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding country, formed altogether a prospect of civilization and magnificence, which I little expected to find in the bosom of Africa.

    1. The positive review is plentiful. They also fit into the world view stating the African Origin of Civilization and Civility. The problem for African’s is not the past; but the present and in turn the future.

      The Race today is on an unwitting course to Genocide. The predicament is well told on a farm. Numerous animals exist on farms under the belief that their lives are better than less “domesticated” animals. But for whom are farms? Farm animals or Farmers?

      Only a Farmer gains from the Farm Animals treatment. And when she’s ready to maximize profits, it’s at a great cost to the Animal. More, when the Farmer needs to take a life–the Farmer does so surreptitiously.

      It’s the same for the African Race. My concern is to awaken enough to prevent Genocide. But for that I need willing recruits.

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