Reparation, slavery and political realism: The challenge of contemporary African leadership
In spite of some revisionist attempts to rationalise slavery as just another form of trade between interested parties, there is an overwhelming conviction that it represented an age of man’s highest inhumanity to fellow man. Accordingly, calls have been loud and persistent as to the need for reparation which though will never compensate for actual loss, nevertheless has the possibility of symbolising penitence and serve as cushion for some of the debilitating damages done. This paper examines the moral basis of the call for reparation. In agreeing with the moral validity of the claims, the paper probes further in a realistic manner and argue that African states in their present situation cannot make a serious case for reparation. The paper argues further that for African states to position themselves for genuine reparation struggles in this age of political realism, urgent steps must be taken to ensure the useful and productive deployment of available resources in Africa and remove the continent from its appendage status with the west. The paper concludes that only when African states are able to break the cycle of poverty and underdevelopment, freeing themselves from external manipulations can a credible and rewarding case for reparation be made.
Keywords: Reparation, Slavery, Realism, Africa, Leadership