OLAUDAH EQUIANO

July 13, 2020

Olaudah was kidnapped from his Nigerian village at age 11, shipped through the gruelling “Middle Passage” of the Atlantic Ocean, worked like a horse in the Caribbean and then sold to a planter from Virginia in the U.S.A. He was then purchased by a British Naval Officer, as a present for his cousins in London. After 10 years working with his British ‘owner’ on the high seas, Olaudah ‘bought’ his own freedom. 

At 44, he wrote and published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, registering it at Stationer’s Hall, London, in 1789. In his book, Equiano recalls his childhood in Essaka (an Igbo village formerly in northeast Nigeria). His writing gives us a unique insight into traditional African life before the arrival of the European invaders. He also recounts his travels throughout the Americas, Turkey, and the Mediterranean and his participation in major naval battles during the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War).

Olaudah worked alongside Granville Sharpe in the British Abolitionist Movement. He was appointed to an expedition to settle London’s poor Blacks in Sierra Leone, which at the time was a British colony, situated in West Africa.  However, he never lived to make the earthly journey back to his home continent, instead of making the spiritual journey to join his ancestors on 31 March 1797 aged 52.

Recent posts
JAMAICANS LIVING IN UKRAINE WHEN RUSSIA INVADED IN FEBRUARY, SHARE THEIR ACCOUNTS (2022)
On February 25, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Many students from African and Caribbean nations were trapped in Ukraine, due to the suddenness of the invasion. Here, some Jamaicans share their accounts.
CHERRY NATURAL (JAMAICA) SPOKEN WORD
Cherry Natural considers herself as a feminist dub poet or activist, and her sources of inspiration include the late Jamaican poet Louise Bennett. Louise Bennett is well-known as the first Caribbean poet who used Creole or patois consistently and to great effect in her ballads, and who relentlessly stood up for the people's language as opposed to standard English which was then considered as the only passport to social elevation.