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 Colonial Gambia: SLAVERY WAS ABOLISHED ON PAPER

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Momodou Posted - 11 Jul 2019 : 08:28:53
SLAVERY WAS ABOLISHED ON PAPER IN GAMBIA BUT NOT IN PRACTICE AND THE COLONIAL GOVERNMENT LOOKED THE OTHER WAY.

By Dembo Fatty


Though slavery was abolished, the colonial government allowed skilled slave labor from Goree who would return after their assignments. Lieutenant Governor George Rendall in particular ignored this illegal business to flourish on the grounds that Barthust lacked labor.

Reverend Robert Maxwell Macbriar, a linguist employed by the Fula mission made it his work to expose labor abuses.

One Pierre xxxxxx (last name ommitted deliberately by me ) who later became a Weslyan preacher was only liberated when the Mission raised money to buy his freedom. (Reference material ommitted deliberately by me. Pierre has family descendants. Some history is sensitive).

In another incident a lady who converted to christianity in Bathurst was forced to chop fire wood in the bush in Bathurst without pay. When she refused, he her husband was taken to the bush and beaten.

When they complained to the Magistrate he said he had no powers and only the Governor could do something. When they approached the Governor, his response was that the bush was outside of his jurisdiction as if the island of Barthust was not British territory. See MacBriar page 213.

Further reading:

R. Maxwell MacBriar 1839 "Sketches of a Missionary's Travels in Egypt, Syria and Western Africa", London: Simpkin Marshsll and Co, 211

J M Gray 1966: A History of the Gambia.

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