BOOK REVIEW ‘NOT MY BROTHERS KEEPER’
Title: Author: Chishimba M. Lumbwe
By EXPENDITO CHIPASHA CHIPALO
THE cruelty and shame of the slave trade has always made it difficult for those responsible to come to terms and acknowledge their guilt.
Many books have been written about slavery by western writers either asfiction or as factual accounts of what transpired in the Trans-AtlanticTriangular Slave Trade. But finally, there is a book written from theAfrican perspective by an African Author – Not My Brotherís Keeperanswers many questions that come up as accusations or defences against slave traders.
For example, what role did the African chiefs play in the Slave Trade? Did they co-operate with the slave traders, was slavery an African tradition which was expanded by the commercialism imposed by western countries? How was it so easy to trade in human beings with feelings and souls as a commodity?
Who was the first to trade in slaves, was it the Arabs, was it the Portuguese or the Britons or the French and which ere the slave holding states in the United States of America and what impact does the slave trade have on the functioning of American democracy today?
If you are in search of answers to all these questions, then the latest book by Dr Chishimba Lumbwe, a well-known Zambian author will help you to get all the answers regarding the Slave Trade.
Not My Brothersí Keeper is a literary fiction based on actual eventswhich transcend three generation. It tells the full story of the Slave Trade; the capture of the slaves, the goods exchanged in the trade, the passage and the dehumanisation and humiliation that the slaves suffered at the hands of the slave owners in the plantations of the Deep South of the United States of America.
Not My Brothersí Keeper is set in two parts. Book One is the fiction storybased on true events. It deals with the origins of slavery, the protagonists of the trade and the nations and races that participated in the trade with remarkable detail.
Book Two deals with the actual trade as it happened in Africa, the Middle Passage and the auction floors in the slave holding states referred to as the Confederate States.
Not My Brotherís Keeper ‘lays bare the savage truth about slavery andhow black flesh and bones were the cash crops’ of slave breeding plantations in the Deep South of the United States of America.
The book also has a very useful appendix which contains very detailedreferences. It gives a full account of all the nations that participated in the slave trade.
The appendix makes part two of Not My Brotherís keeper a literal walkthrough the museum of the slave trade in America. It actually explains why American society is so dysfunctional today.
The book provides evidence to explain how the old attitudes of the slave holding states have prevailed to this date. Readers will appreciate why today some states in America are disenfranchising people of colour. Readers will understand how the post-abolishment laws known, as Jim Craw laws, still affect current American laws.
I really found the appendix to be very useful to students of the slave trade. The long list of topics covered include slave coffles in America, slave traders and slave holders, slavery and the United States presidency, the condition of slaves in American laws, (Jim Craw), slave codes and segregation, Britain and the West Indies slave colonies and the French slave territories.
It also deals with the role of Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Denmark a country which is rarely mentioned in discussions about slavery. Some hidden truths about slavery are revealed through the detailed appendix.
The debate about the role of religion is usually emotive. Many people ask where the religious leaders were while humans were treated like emotionless creatures. The book clearly explains the role that was played by the three main Abrahamic religions; Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
There were two Bibles during the Slave Trade; one was used by whites and there was an abridged edition meant for black people. This abridged edition confirmed that blacks were created by God to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. In many white churches in the Deep South, a belief that slavery was for the good of the universe was a major criterion for admission as a member.
Those who said otherwise and called for abolition of the slave trade were accused of working against the will of God. They were instead warned against succumbing to the will of men.
Not My Brotherís Keeper also explains how the white slave owners triedto eliminate the freed slaves through miscegenation and importation ofmore white people from Europe. The slave holders became very worried about Africanisation of their states and went to extremes to hold the expansion of black populations in the Americas.
I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who wants to read for entertainment or as a reference for further reading and research into the Slave Trade. Not My Brotherís Keeper is a mind opener which should enter the Libraries of all African Universities.
Other books by Chishimba M. Lumbwe are Too Young To Die, UkwaliNsoke Takufwa Muntu (in the Bemba language) and Sundu!.
Not My Brother’s Keeper is available from Bookworld in Zambia, Takealot, Amazon (ebook and printed paperback), and Kindle Direct Marketing.