Slavery was originally practised in West Africa as a means of integrating into society individuals who had been cut off from their families after an inter-tribal war or some form of natural calamity. The entire dynamics changed drastically when the Portuguese and Arabian traders went to West Africa. Because of the need for cheap labor supply in their home lands, these foreign traders switched to trading in slaves by exchanging their Mediterranean or Asian goods for West African slaves. Between 1441 and the middle of the 19th century, the expanding slave trade became the Black African's only link with Europe and America especially, the Americas where cheap supply of human labor was needed on the cotton and sugar cane plantations. Before the Missionaries arrived on the West African Coast, the natives practised traditional African or Islamic religions. With the slave traders came the Christian Missionaries who, prior to the exportation of slaves, preached to them, converted them, baptized them and gave them biblical names. The slaves left their home land of West Africa with clouds of spiritual confusion on their minds and coupled with these was their inability to worship freely in the New World.While most or all the original slaves lived and died uneducated, enslaved, and emotionally traumatized, their children, grand children and great grand children after them enjoyed freedom to worship the way they wanted, attended schools and became literate. They moved as freely as they wanted, and raised their own families with as much unrestrained freedom as they dreamed of, However, the psychological and spiritual bruises on their psyche left them perpetually traumatized to the extent that most of them forgot their West African origin, custom, culture, and their traditional African religious belief systems.Today, however, descendants of former West African slaves who live in the Diaspora appear to be more privileged than their West African brethren. This paper traces the brief history of slavery from its unsavory beginning in the 14th century, to the period of its final abolition in the United States in 1865. The majestic roles of representative samples of the liberated Africans of the Diaspora are presented, the ongoing problems plaguing West African countries are highlighted, and specific intervention programs to correct for the ills of the past brought about by the slave traders and the Western Christian Missionaries are discussed. It is concluded that while the Missionaries might have had good intention, the end result did not justify the means; converted West African slaves were bruised emotionally and spiritually than they were blessed. This paper highlights series of the appropriate reparations that should be paid to measurably alleviate the centuries old posttraumatic stress syndrome and spiritual confusion suffered by the original slaves and their descendants.
Olayiwola Oyekan, J. (2002), "The psychological and spiritual implications of western christian missionaries' influence on the African diaspora: Special reference to West African countries", Lehmann, J. (Ed.) Critical Theory: Diverse Objects, Diverse Subjects (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 239-294. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0278-1204(03)80012-9Download as .RIS
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