Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 21, 2017

Sarah Baartman: The Movie

Sarah Baartman_Black_Venus

‘Black Venus’ poster (Wikipedia)

I had to share the trailer for the movie on Sarah Baartman, Black Venus, which starred Yahima Torres and was released in 2010. The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, where [for what it is worth] it was awarded the Equal Opportunity Award. Here are articles from the BBC about Sarah Baartman The significance of Sarah Baartman, SA History – Sarah Baartman, and this article by Brand South Africa. As stated in this New York Times article, “[the story of Sarah Baartman] is “a symbol of the alienation and degradation of colonization, lost children, exile, the expropriation of female labor and the sexual and economic exploitation of black women by men, white and black.”

Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 19, 2017

Sarah Baartman: The Black Venus

Sarah Baartman_Caricature drawn in early 19th century

Caricature of Sarah Baartman from the 19th century

I have long wanted to talk about Sarah Baartman, known as the Hottentot Venus or the Black Venus. This Black woman was promised a life of fortune, taken to Europe as a slave to be exhibited naked to men and women around Europe just because of her physique, the physique of a Black woman. Her life was that of humiliation, prostitution, and slavery of another name. Her story is a very hard one to hear when you are a Black woman, when you love Black women, or when you love women in general. Her life was not that of a Venus, but rather that of a sex slave and zoo animal being exposed naked all the time, and raped by men who dreamt of “trying” this Black Venus. She was displayed as a freak because of her unusual physical features, studied, dissected after death and will only finally be put to rest 187 years after her death.

Sarah Baartman_1

Saartje

Sawtche, from her real name, was born in 1789 in the Eastern Cape, of modern-day South Africa. Her father was from the Khoikhoi tribe, and her mother came from the Bushmen or San tribe, the oldest tribe in Southern Africa. Women from that tribe are known to have a lighter skin tone, with very developed hips. In the Khoi tribe, it is a sign of beauty, but to Europeans who had never seen it, it was considered a physical deformation or a sign of racial inferiority (not sure how having a flat bum-bum can attest of a race superiority). As a teen, Sawtche was a typical Khoi woman of medium build and light skin tone, and as will be said today, with a big bootie. Even if she was beautiful, no one in her tribe was shocked by her physique given that thousands of women were just as Sawtche.

Sarah Baartman_2

Exposed face of Sarah Baartman from the French Museum

She was captured and moved to the Gamtoos River as the slave of a rich Afrikaner farmer for whom she worked several months. A Dutch doctor working for the Royal Navy, William Dunlop, met the farmer, and noticed Sawtche and was not indifferent to her physique. She seemed to meet all his sexual fantasies, and so he decided to buy her. He made her his slave and sexual servant, and took her back to Cape Town, and from there taken onboard a boat to London where he gave her the name Sarah or Saartjie (little Sarah in dutch).

Sarah Baartman_La_Belle_Hottentot_illustration de la mode des zoos humains

La Belle Hottentot on display, French print, 19th century

In 1810 in London, Sarah was only 16, and Dunlop was very manipulative. He constantly had sexual relations with her, and the young woman thought he loved her. He made her believe that in London, and throughout Europe, she could become rich just by exposing her body. He told her that white women didn’t have the same physique and will be willing to see her in exchange for some money. White Men will be crazy to touch and get the power to touch a Black woman, object of their wildest most secret fantasies, in exchange for money.

Sarah accepted without hesitation, and was quickly exposed in cities in England and in the Netherlands, exhibiting her body under all orders given her. As an animal, she walked, stood up or sat obediently. The public was mixed with astonishment, amusement, disgust, and stupefaction. Those men and women who wanted to approach her, those who wanted to touch her did. People told her all sorts of words, sweet as well as disdainful. Doctors and scientists came up with all sorts of theories to explain her anatomy. It was clear to them that Sarah was the proof of the Black race’s inferiority! To them, she was victim of a sickness that was the lot of all people of her race. Her sickness was called steatopygy, and since her sexual organs were abnormally developed she was said to be suffering from macronymphy (even though this is a normal characteristic found only in Black women).

Sawtche_(dite_Sarah_Saartjie_Baartman),_étudiée_comme_Femme_de_race_Bôchismann,_Histoire_Naturelle_des_Mammifères,_tome_II,_Cuvier,_Werner,_de_Lasteyrie

Illustration of Sarah Baartman from Illutrations Histoire Naturelle des mammiferes (History of Natural studies of mammals)

A young Jamaican, Robert Wedderburn, activist against racism and slavery watched those disgusting scenes and decided to act. He formed a support group for Sarah and started a series of judiciary pressures against the British government to stop this sort of horrible spectacles. Because of all these pressures, Sarah was taken to Paris, where she was exposed publicly between two circus spectacles, in music halls, and in the halls of the Haute Bourgeoisie. They called her the Hottentot Venus. She ended up being forced to prostitute herself at private soirees where she became a true sex object, believing that in due time she will be given the money she had made up to then.

It is at that time that she became the subject of studies by zoologist and surgeon Georges Cuvier, generalist, and surgeon of Napoleon Bonaparte. For him, Sarah was the missing link between the animal and man. The zoology professor and administrator of the National museum of Natural History of France, Etienne Geoffroy de Saint Hilaire, asked for the official authorization to “profit from the circumstances given them to have a Bushman woman in Paris to study, with more precision, the distinct characteristics of a peculiar race.” [« profiter de la circonstance offerte par la présence à Paris d’une femme bochimane pour donner avec plus de précision qu’on ne l’a fait jusqu’à ce jour, les caractères distinctifs de cette race curieuse. » ] de Saint Hilaire concluded his studies by comparing the face of Sarah with that of an orang-utang and her buttocks to those of female mandrills!

Sarah Baartman_A_Pair_of_Broad_Bottoms_caricature de William Heath 1810

1810 caricature of Sarah Baartman by William Heath

Later, the writer Victor Hugo made reference to Sarah in his work “Les Misérables” in 1862, describing the activities of the city of Paris: “Paris is like a good child. He royally accepts everything: it is not difficult in fact of a Venus; Her callipyge is Hottentot; provided he laughs, he amnesties ; ugliness cheers him, difformity delights him, vice distracts him […]: « Paris est bon enfant. Il accepte royalement tout ; il n’est pas difficile en fait de Vénus ; sa callipyge est hottentote ; pourvu qu’il rie, il amnistie ; la laideur l’égaye, la difformité le désopile, le vice le distrait […] »

Sarah died in Paris on 29 December 1815 at the age of 26. She died poor, she who was made to think that she could become rich by exposing her body as an art object.

After her death, Georges Cuvier dissected her body, and displayed her remains. He gathered her brains and genital organs which he conserved in formol. He extracted her skeleton and continued his studies about the missing link between humans and monkey. In 1817, he presented his work at the Academy of Medicine, and concluded, “the races [the niggers] are condemned to eternal inferiority.” [« Les races à crâne déprimé et comprimé [les “ nègres ”] sont condamnées à une éternelle infériorité. »]

Sarah Baartman_Hottentot_Venus_Poster

Advertisement for Sarah’s exposition

Her genitals, skeleton, brain, and a plaster cast of her body were exposed for over 150 years in Paris until 1975. In 1994, when Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, the Khoi people’s first request was for the return of Sarah’s remains. But the French government refused stating that they wanted to conserve their “national collections.” However, after several discussions, on 9 August 2002, Sarah was inhumed near the village of Hankey in Eastern Cape in a ceremony presided by President Thabo Mbeki, several ministers, and traditional chiefs Khoi.

Weird how today, most women around the world wish for a nice bum-bum, and some are willing to pay thousands to have it protruding, while the beautiful Sarah was exploited, humiliated, raped, for simply being beautiful, the way her Creator had made her.

Mandela_1

Nelson Rohlilahla Mandela

There’s more to the story: Sarah would have been considered highly attractive and desirable to her people. The Dutch told Sarah if she came with them to Paris they would make her a celebrity and she would be treated like a queen. Her humiliation was even greater because she was deceived. If only Sarah had known that nearly 50 years after her death she would inspire the fashion of the times. Women wanted to resemble her shape so they began wearing corsets and ridiculous layers of clothes with a back bump. Her shape became the most coveted and white women would risk death wearing constricting corsets. In fact, many white women died from having their ribs crushed and internal organs like kidneys and the stomach moved up and out of place. Instead Sarah died of shame and disease.  At last, in 2002, she was laid back into dignity at home among her ancestors!

Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 17, 2017

Quote by Miriam Makeba on Endurance

A true African beauty: Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba

A true African beauty: Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba

I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.” Miriam Makeba

Black ant

Fourmi / Ant

Soulier1Celui qui porte des souliers, ne craint pas les épines (Proverbe Ewe – Ghana, Togo).

Thorny_bushThe one who wears shoes, does not fear thorns (Ewe proverb – Ghana, Togo)

Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 10, 2017

Ghana launches its first satellite into space

Ghana_Satellite team

The development team behind the satellite (Source: BBC)

This article is from the BBC. I had to share the article in its entirety. Celebrate the Ghana Satellite Earth Station. Check out also this article, and this very good one from The Telegraph.

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Ghana has successfully launched its first satellite into space.

GhanaSat-1, which was developed by students at All Nations University in Koforidua, was sent into orbit from the International Space Center.

Cheers erupted as 400 people, including the engineers, gathered in the southern Ghanaian city to watch live pictures of the launch. The first signal was received shortly afterwards.

It is the culmination of a two-year project, costing $50,000 (£40,000).

It received support from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The satellite will be used to monitor Ghana’s coastline for mapping purposes, and to build capacity in space science and technology.

Project coordinator Dr Richard Damoah said it marked a new beginning for the country.

It has opened the door for us to do a lot of activities from space,” he told the BBC.

He said it would “also help us train the upcoming generation on how to apply satellites in different activities around our region.”

For instance, [monitoring] illegal mining is one of the things we are looking to accomplish.”

Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 7, 2017

The Lord’s Prayer from Sarafina

Sarafina1

Sarafina, the movie (Amazon)

It’s been a while since I saw this movie, but I had to share the South African rendition of the Lord’s prayer from the 1992 movie Sarafina!. The movie centered on the Soweto Uprisings of 1976, in opposition to the implementation of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in schools. I loved it then, and I still love it today! Enjoy!

 

Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 5, 2017

King Leopold II and The Congolese Genocide

Today, we will talk about Leopold II, the Belgian King, who killed millions of Congolese. Most people know about Hitler. Before Hitler, there was Leopold II. Very few know about this, but Leopold II should be known as a Hitler, or even worse than Hitler, but then again, that is if people consider Congolese (Black people) as people. He forced Congolese into hard labor, so hard that some died from exhaustion, and if they rebelled they were maimed, killed, or enslaved. It is said that he must have executed and maimed over 15 million people! Check out these websites: Leopold II, When you kill 10 million Africans you aren’t called Hitler, and this article from The Guardian.

Conference de Berlin 1884

Conference de Berlin 1884

Here are some selections (Chapters 4 – 6) from the final act of the Berlin Conference signed on 26 February 1885. For the entire document, find it here in English and French. For both of these versions, we thank the work of the South African History Online.

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CHAPTER IV

ACT OF NAVIGATION FOR THE KONGO

Article XIII

The navigation of the Kongo, without excepting any of its branches or outlets, is, and shall remain, free for the merchant ships of all nations equally . . . the subjects and flags of all nations shall in all respects be treated on a footing of perfect equality . . . no exclusive privilege of navigation will be conceded to Companies, Corporations, or private persons whatsoever . . .

CHAPTER V

ACT OF NAVIGATION FOR THE NIGER

Berlin Conference_1Article XXVI

The navigation of the (River) Niger, without excepting any of its branches and outlets, is and shall remain entirely free for the merchant ships of all nations equally . . . [both Britain and France which had parts of the region of the Niger under protectorate status also undertook to apply the principle of free trade in their territories].

CHAPTER VI

REGARDING NEW OCCUPATIONS ON THE COASTS OF AFRICA

Article XXXIV

Any power which henceforth takes possession of a tract of land on the coasts of the African Continent outside of its present possessions, or which, being hitherto without such possessions, shall acquire them and assume a protectorate. . . shall accompany either act with a notification thereof, addressed to the other Signatory Powers of the present Act, in order to enable them to protest against the same if there exists any grounds for their doing so.

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884

Le partage de l’Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884-1885

Article XXXV

The Signatory Powers of the present Act recognize the obligation to insure the establishment of authority in the regions occupied by them on the coasts of the African Continent sufficient to protect existing rights, and, as the case may be, freedom of trade and of transit under the conditions agreed upon.

Article XXXVII

The Powers signatory to the present general Act reserve to themselves the right of eventually, by mutual agreement, introducing therein modifications or improvements the utility of which has been shown by experience ………………………………..

Done at Berlin, the 26th day of February, 1885.

Patrice Emery Lumumba

Patrice Emery Lumumba

The 30 June 1960 marks the independence of the then Congo-Belge (Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)) from Belgium. We will celebrate DRC’s independence today with a poem by one of Congo’s proud sons, none other than its first democratically elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, “Pleure, Ô Noir Frère bien-aimé (Weep, beloved black brother)”. This poem was published in the journal INDEPENDANCE, organe du M.N.C., en septembre 1959 (Cf. La pensée politique de Patrice LUMUMBA, textes et documents recueillis par Jean VAN LIERDE, Présence Africaine, 1963, p. 69-70). Translated to English by Lillian Lowenfels and Nan Apotheker.

 

Pleure, O Noir Frère bien-aimé

O Noir, bétail humain depuis des millénaires
Tes cendres s’éparpillent à tous les vents du ciel
Et tu bâtis jadis les temples funéraires
Où dorment les bourreaux d’un sommeil éternel.
Poursuivi et traqué, chassé de tes villages,
Vaincu en des batailles où la loi du plus fort,
En ces siècles barbares de rapt et de carnage,
Signifiait pour toi l’esclavage ou la mort,
Tu t’étais réfugié en ces forêts profondes
Où l’autre mort guettait sous son masque fiévreux
Sous la dent du félin, ou dans l’étreinte immonde
Et froide du serpent, t’écrasant peu à peu.
Et puis s’en vint le Blanc, plus sournois, plus rusé et rapace
Qui échangeait ton or pour de la pacotille,
Violentant tes femmes, enivrant tes guerriers,
Parquant en ses vaisseaux tes garçons et tes filles.
Le tam-tam bourdonnait de village en village
Portant au loin le deuil, semant le désarroi,
Disant le grand départ pour les lointains rivages
Où le coton est Dieu et le dollar Roi
Condamné au travail forcé, tel une bête de somme
De l’aube au crépuscule sous un soleil de feu
Pour te faire oublier que tu étais un homme
On t’apprit à chanter les louanges de Dieu.
Et ces divers cantiques, en rythmant ton calvaire
Te donnaient l’espoir en un monde meilleur…
Mais en ton cœur de créature humaine, tu ne demandais guère
Que ton droit à la vie et ta part de bonheur.
Assis autour du feu, les yeux pleins de rêve et d’angoisse
Chantant des mélopées qui disaient ton cafard
Parfois joyeux aussi, lorsque montait la sève
Tu dansais, éperdu, dans la moiteur du soir.
Et c’est là que jaillit, magnifique,
Sensuelle et virile comme une voix d’airain
Issue de ta douleur, ta puissante musique,
Le jazz, aujourd’hui admiré dans le monde
En forçant le respect de l’homme blanc,
En lui disant tout haut que dorénavant,
Ce pays n’est plus le sien comme aux vieux temps.
Tu as permis ainsi à tes frères de race
De relever la tête et de regarder en face
L’avenir heureux que promet la délivrance.
Les rives du grand fleuve, pleines de promesses
Sont désormais tiennes.
Cette terre et toutes ses richesses
Sont désormais tiennes.
Et là haut, le soleil de feu dans un ciel sans couleur,
De sa chaleur étouffera ta douleur
Ses rayons brûlants sécheront pour toujours
La larme qu’ont coulée tes ancêtres,
Martyrisés par leurs tyranniques maîtres,
Sur ce sol que tu chéris toujours.
Et tu feras du Congo, une nation libre et heureuse,
Au centre de cette gigantesque Afrique Noire.

 

Weep, Beloved Black Brother

O black man, beast of burden through the centuries,
Your ashes scattered to the winds of heaven,
There was a time when you built burial temples
In which your murderers sleep their final sleep.
Hunted down and tracked, driven from your homes.
Beaten in battles where brute force prevailed.
Barbaric centuries of rape and carnage
That offered you the choice of death or slavery.
You went for refuge to the forest depths,
And other deaths waylaid you, burning fevers,
Jaws of wild beasts, the cold, unholy coils
Of snakes who crushed you gradually to death.
Then came the white man, more clever, tricky, cruel,
He took your gold in trade for shoddy stuff,
He raped your women, made your warriors drunk,
Penned up you sons and daughters on his ships.
The tom-toms hummed through all the villages,
Spreading afar the mourning, the wild grief
At news of exile to a distant land
Where cotton is God and the dollar King.
Condemned to enforced labor, beasts of burden,
Under a burning sun from dawn to dusk,
So that you might forget you are a man
They taught your to sing the praises of their God,
And these hosannas, tuned in to your sorrows,
Gave you the hope of a better world to come.
But in your human heart you only asked
The right to live, your share of happiness.
Beside your fire, your eyes reflect your dreams and suffering,
You sang the chants that gave voice to your blues.
And sometimes to your joys, when sap rose in the trees
And you danced wildly in the damp of evening.
And out of this sprang forth, magnificent,
Alive and virile, like a bell of brass
Sounding your sorrow, that powerful music,
Jazz, now loved, admired throughout the world,
Compelling the white man to respect,
Announcing in clear loud tones from this time on
This country no longer belongs to him.
And thus you made the brothers of your race
Lift up their heads to see clear, straight ahead
The happy future bearing deliverance.
The banks of a great river in flower with hope
Are yours from this time onward.
The earth and all its riches
Are yours from this time onward.
The blazing sun in the colorless sky
Dissolves our sorrow in a wave of warmth.
Its burning rays will help to dry forever
The flood of tears shed by our ancestors,
Martyrs of the tyranny of the masters.
And on this earth which you will always love
You will make the Congo a nation, happy and free,
In the very heart of vast Black Africa.

 

Posted by: Dr. Y. | June 28, 2017

Selection from the 1885 Berlin Conference Final Act

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884

Le partage de l’Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884

Today I would like to talk about the atrocity which divided Africa in 10,000 pieces… you know, the one known as the Berlin Conference. How the livelihood of millions of lives could be decided by some foreigners at some tables thousands of kilometers away is beyond me! In reality, the Berlin Conference drafted from 1884 to 1885 is still in action today, over 132 years later, and that is why it is important to talk about it today. This conference regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period. Organized by Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Germany, its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, is seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa. This conference officialized European colonization, and eliminated or overrode existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance. I print here a selection from the final 1885 Berlin Act from Chapter 1-3, and I will print the rest later.

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Selections from the 1885 Berlin Act

Conference de Berlin 1884

Conference de Berlin 1884

Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India; His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia; His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, etc, and Apostolic King of Hungary; His Majesty the King of the Belgians; His Majesty the King of Denmark; His Majesty the King of Spain; the President of the United States of America; the President of the French Republic; His Majesty the King of Italy; His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxemburg, etc; His Majesty the King of Portugal and the Algarves, etc; His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias; His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway, etc; and His Majesty the Emperor of the Ottomans,

WISHING, in a spirit of good and mutual accord, to regulate the conditions most favourable to the development of trade and civilization in certain regions of Africa, and to assure to all nations the advantages of free navigation on the two chief rivers of Africa flowing into the Atlantic Ocean;

Berlin Conference_1

Division of Africa between European powers resulting from the Berlin Conference

BEING DESIROUS, on the other hand, to obviate the misunderstanding and disputes which might in future arise from new acts of occupation…on the coast of Africa; and concerned, at the same time, as to the means of furthering the moral and material well-being of the native populations;

HAVE RESOLVED, on the invitation addressed to them by the Imperial Government of Germany, in agreement with the Government of the French Republic, to meet for those purposes in Conference at Berlin, and have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries, to wit:

Who, being provided with full powers, which have been found in good and due form, have successively discussed and adopted:

  1. A Declaration relative to freedom of trade in the basin of the Congo, its embouchures and circumjacent regions, with other provisions connected therewith.
  2. A Declaration relative to the slave trade, and the operations by sea or land which furnish slaves to that trade.
  3. A Declaration relative to the neutrality of the territories comprised in the Conventional basin of the Congo.
  4. An Act of Navigation for the Congo, which, while having regard to local circumstances, extends to this river, its affluents, and the waters in its system…, the general principles enunciated in Articles CVIII and CXVI of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna, and intended to regulate, as between the Signatory Powers of that Act, the free navigation of the waterways separating or traversing several States—these said principles having since then been applied by agreement to certain rivers of Europe and America, but especially to the Danube, with the modifications stipulated by the Treaties of Paris (1856), of Berlin (1878), and of London (1871 and 1883).
  5. An Act of Navigation for the Niger, which, while likewise having regard to local circumstances, extends to this river and its affluents the same principles as set forth in Articles CVIII and CXVI of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna.
  6. A Declaration introducing into international relations certain uniform rules with reference to future occupations on the coast of the African Continent.

And deeming it expedient that all these several documents should be combined in one single instrument, they (the Signatory Powers) have collected them into one General Act, composed of the following Articles:

CHAPTER I

DECLARATION RELATIVE TO FREEDOM OF TRADE IN THE BASIN OF THE CONGO, ITS MOUTHS AND CIRCUMJACENT REGIONS, WITH OTHER PROVISIONS CONNECTED THEREWITH

Article I

The trade of all nations shall enjoy complete freedom….

Article II

Cecil Rhodes with his transafrican train project from Cairo to Cape Town - the most imperialist ever

Cecil Rhodes with his transafrican train project from Cairo to Cape Town – the most imperialist ever

All flags, without distinction of nationality, shall have free access to the whole of the coastline of the territories above enumerated, to the rivers there running into the sea, to all the waters of the Congo and its effluents, including the lakes, and to all the ports situated on the banks of these waters, as well as to all canals which may in future be constructed with intent to unite the watercourses or lakes within the entire area of the territories described in Article I. Those trading under such flags may engage in all sorts of transport, and carry on the coasting trade by sea and river, as well as boat traffic, on the same footing as if they were subjects.

Article III

Wares, of whatever origin, imported into these regions, under whatsoever flag, by sea or river, or overland, shall be subject to no other taxes than such as may be levied as fair compensation for expenditure in the interests of trade, and which for this reason must be equally borne by the subjects themselves and by foreigners of all nationalities.

All differential dues on vessels, as well as on merchandise, are forbidden.

Article IV

Merchandise imported into these regions shall remain free from import and transit dues….

Article V

No Power which exercises or shall exercise sovereign rights in the abovementioned regions shall be allowed to grant therein a monopoly or favour of any kind in matters of trade.

PROVISIONS RELATIVE TO PROTECTION OF THE NATIVES, OF MISSIONARIES AND TRAVELLERS, AS WELL AS RELATIVE TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Article VI

All the Powers exercising sovereign rights or influence in the aforesaid territories bind themselves to watch over the preservation of the native tribes, and to care for the improvement of the conditions of their moral and material well-being, and to help in suppressing slavery, and especially the slave trade. They shall, without distinction of creed or nation, protect and favour all religious, scientific or charitable institutions and undertakings created and organized for the above ends, or which aim at instructing the natives and bringing home to them the blessings of civilization.

Christian missionaries, scientists and explorers, with their followers, property and collections, shall likewise be the objects of especial protection.

Freedom of conscience and religious toleration are expressly guaranteed to the natives, no less than to subjects and to foreigners. The free and public exercise of all forms of divine worship, and the right to build edifices for religious purposes, and to organize religious missions belonging to all creeds, shall not be limited or fettered in any way whatsoever….

Slavery_capture

Slave capture

CHAPTER II

DECLARATION RELATIVE TO THE SLAVE TRADE

Article IX

Seeing that trading in slaves is forbidden in conformity with the principles of international law as recognized by the Signatory Powers, and seeing also that the operations, which, by sea or land, furnish slaves to trade, ought likewise to be regarded as forbidden, the Powers which do or shall exercise sovereign rights or influence in the territories forming the Conventional basin of the Congo declare that these territories may not serve as a market or means of transit for the trade in slaves, of whatever race they may be. Each of the Powers binds itself to employ all the means at its disposal for putting an end to this trade and for punishing those who engage in it.

berlin-conference

Africa’s partition 1885-1914 among European powers

CHAPTER III

DECLARATION RELATIVE TO THE NEUTRALITY OF THE TERRITORIES COMPRISED IN THE CONVENTIONAL BASIN OF THE CONGO

Article XII

In case a serious disagreement originating on the subject of, or in the limits of, the territories mentioned in Article I, and placed under the free trade system, shall arise between any Signatory Powers of the present Act, or the Powers which may become parties to it, these Powers bind themselves, before appealing to arms, to have recourse to the mediation of one or more of the friendly Powers.

In a similar case the same Powers reserve to themselves the option of having recourse to arbitration….

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF the several plenipotentiaries have signed the present General Act and have affixed thereto their seals.

DONE at Berlin, the 26th day of February, 1885

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