"Slavery lasted for years", it was written on the cover of exercise books for primary school children in Sierra Leone, "but freedom lasts forever."
In the 1550s, a plantation was opened in the Americas. Its owners needed people to work on it, hence the start of the transatlantic slave trade. In 1562, an English slaver, John Hawkins, came to Sierra Leone and captured some 300 slaves. His second trip was repelled by locals. But that did not end the quest for Sierra Leonean slaves, and the country provided thousands.
Freetown retains many vestiges of its slave trade history: the largest government hospital is housed in what used to be the registration centre for Recaptives, and the headquarters of the postal services were once the court where British slave traders were tried after abolition. But few Sierra Leoneans know much about these buildings' history.
Dr Allie says he still feels bitter today but adds: "We must forge ahead and stop blaming the slave trade for everything." He shrugs off British Premier Tony Blair's recent refusal to apologise for the slave trade, and expresses disgust at the idea of paying reparation to Africa, believing it would be impossible to determine who gets what and why. He'd prefer the focus to be on the "modern-day slave trade and the bad governance in Africa that has led to the youth streaming out of the continent for greener pastures in Europe".
A major documentary series Free At Last - The Beginning of the End of Slavery will be broadcast in March
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