Soyinka decries slavery at refugee camps in Africa


wole_soyinkaProf. Wole Soyinka has condemned the use of refugee camps in some parts of Africa for sex exploitation of women and underage girls.

Presenting a paper on ‘Slavery by any other Name’ in the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, on Friday, Soyinka said that such exploitations reduced the pride and dignity of victims.

“The name refugee camp assumes an ironical and cynical definition. Instead of being a place to find protection during crisis, it is now exposed to slave camps where women are turned to objects of sexual exploitation.

“In Africa, refugee camps from North East Sudan to Congo and Zimbabwe and most recently Mali have now turned to slave camps,’’ he said.

The Nobel laureate noted that sexual exploitation brought back memories of what happened in the past where Africans were sold into slavery by colonialists.

He also said that politics as practised in some countries could be seen to be politics that encouraged slavery.

“Certain political practices, especially the ideologies of a theocratic order, the collaboration of religion and politics are the worst enslaving mechanisms used by some governments, especially in Africa, under the doctrine of submission to enslave the people,” he said.

Soyinka said although slavery assumed different forms in modern times, its consequences to human beings remained identical.

He called on different countries of the world to legislate against any form of slavery in order to boost the dignity of people.

According to him, dignity is not a momentary façade but a summation of human existence in volition.

“Without volition, there is no dignity and without dignity, there is no humanity,” he said.

In his remarks, the Manager, Global systems and Intercultural Competencies of the University of Wuerzburg, Dr Jan-Christoph Marschelke, thanked Soyinka for honouring the invitation.

Marschelke said the lecture would help the students and the university in handling issues of slavery.




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