Within the last 40 or so years, there have been an influx of movies, television series, documentaries and books that attempt to encapsulate the abject horrors of the Black/Afrikan Holocaust. Most fail miserably, due to a deliberate whitewashing of some of the gorier details, in a sickening attempt to alleviate some of the guilt of the guilty parties in order to make the retelling of the story more “entertaining” or accessible to the mainstream. Celebrated educator/author/warrior/scholar Mwalimu K. Bomani Baruti makes absolutely no such concessions or compromises with his book Kebuka! (Akoben House, 2005). In this book there are no kind slave masters with hearts of gold or sympathetic white savior types invented within the retelling, so that whites or their apologists who may stumble across this book can morally excuse themselves through such characters. To the contrary, this book is presented as a journey through a virtual hell through the eyes of our stunned, bewildered ancestors going through the psychological shock of being forcefully, violently and suddenly removed from their families, homelands and everything else they once knew into a dehumanizing literal human cesspool of rape and torture, both physical and mental.
The genius of this book lies in its hyper descriptive narrative. Baba Baruti takes you deep into this horrific, traumatic experience, describing the unfathomably evil sounds, sights and smells. He takes you on a journey from the coffle lines, where our people were rounded up and made to march through Afrika like animals to the slave dungeons before our cruel, lustful, unbelievably wicked mortal enemies, who passed the time looking for victims to rape and torture to quench their sick thirst for terror. He then further chronicles the journey from the dungeons (misnamed castles by our devilish enemies), which was a completely new experience for our ancestors as there was no documented evidence of jails or places of detainment existing in Afrika before these savages slithered onto the continent, into the tortuous, smelly hellholes called slavers (slave ships). As horrendous as the entire journey must have been, the experience on those ships (ironically named things like Jesus, John The Baptist, Victory, Africa, Perseverance, kwk) in terms of cruelty and dehumanization must have been like nothing ever experienced before or since.
Imagine coming from the richest place on earth in terms of natural resources, where food is abundant and no one starves (before slavery and/or colonialism), to being chained together in one spot with 300 or so other Afrikans for months on end, being incessantly physically abused and/or raped, never bathing, getting increasingly ill and weak, eating gruel and slop that is really not fit for human consumption, and drinking warm stagnant water. Imagine being tortured and raped by dirty, disgusting virtual walking diseases, who come from a place of abject filth, hardened by a life of plagues, famine and natural disasters (europe was just coming out the period of time known as “the dark ages” where filth, pestilence, famine and subsequent cannibalism was the norm). Imagine being crammed 3 or 400-deep in a ship that was built to hold about 50 passengers, chained to the next man barely able to move even an inch, lying in a mixture of blood, puss, urine, excrement and other unidentified fluids, hearing the screams of your wife or child (male or female) being raped by our unforgiving, bestial enemies, sometimes right in front of you, while not being able to do a thing about it. This is the realistic, sickening, and infuriating picture that Baba Baruti so brilliantly paints with his words.