Olaudah Equiano, an Igbo, is believed to have written the first anti-slavery narrative. “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of O. Equiano, or G. Vassa, the African” was published in 1780, promoting the cause for abolition of human commerce.
Olaudah was born in what is now known as Nigeria and became a slave at the age of 11. He was the son of an Igbo nobleman in Igboland, not the son of a slave.
After being shipped to the Bahamas and then to the United States, he was eventually bought by an English naval officer who took him to England.
As I watched Dr. Bennet Omalu (Omalukwuo) explain his name in Concussion (the movie) as “Say what you know,” I think it is important we know the meaning of Olaudah Equiano.
The first name “Olaudah” means “treasure that makes heavy sound,” while the surname (Ekwuanuo) is “Do what you say” a variant of Ekwueme.
More than two hundred years later, Olaudah remains a treasure whose sound is heard world -wide. His actions spoke louder than words. He was Omalukwuo of his time.
Today, the Igbo are still fighting for equity, equality, fairness and justice for all.
In the coming days, I will be sharing snippets from Olaudah Equiano’s book.
Written by Barr Emeka Maduewesi