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WHO WAS BEHIND AFRICA’S FIRST COUP?

Why You Should Care: Because French meddling in African affairs has left a lasting, debilitating legacy. “The night may be long but the day comes. And that big day, so much desired, now has arrived …” Sylvanus Olympio, the first president of the independent Republic of Togo, was a gifted orator. This was clearly on display when he led the Togolese in the celebration of their independence in April 1960. He gave a fiery speech with ringing phrases like “masters of our destiny.” Some people did not like his rhetoric, or him, at all. And 33 months later, they struck. OLYMPIO WAS NEVER OUR FRIEND. JACQUES FOCCART, FORMER ADVISER ON AFRICAN POLICY TO THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT The Atlantic Ocean sends its waves crashing onto the beach of the Togolese capital, Lomé, just as it did on the night of Jan. 13, 1963, when President Olympio was either sleeping or working on a speech he was going to deliver to his counterpart in Liberia, William Tubman. His house was separated from the beach only by a single road. Versions of this story differ on details. But the main lines are clear. Olympio, either sleeping or working, is disturbed, shortly after midnight, by a noise […]

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Slavery Routes – Black History Month at SOAS

Slavery Routes: 4 part Documentary Series (4×52′) Date: 8 October 2018Time: 7:00 PM Finishes: 26 October 2018Time: 9:00 PM Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Type of Event: Film Screening Dir. by Daniel Cattier, Juan Gélas, Fanny Glissant Producers: Compagnie des Phares et Balises, ARTE France, Kwassa Films, RTBF, LX Filmes, RTP, Inrap This is the story of a world whose territories and own frontiers were built by the slave trade. A world where violence, subjugation and profit imposed their routes. The history of slavery did not begin in the cotton fields. It is a much older tragedy, that has been going on since the dawn of humanity. From the VIIth century on, and for over 1,200 years, Africa was the epicenter of a gigantic traffic of human beings traversing the entire globe. Nubian, Fulani, Mandinka, Songhai, Susu, Akan, Yoruba, Igbo, Kongo, Yao, Somali… Over 20 million Africans were deported, sold and enslaved. This criminal system thrived, laying the foundations of empires around the world. Its scale was such that for a long time, it has been impossible to relate it comprehensively. And yet, it raises a fundamental question: how did Africa end up at the heart of the slavery routes? Series convened by Dr Marie Rodet (SOAS Department of […]

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