A UNIQUE DOCUMENTARY on Slavery"Daughters of Igbo Woman" written by Chike Ofili
Though Africans from the supply side of the evil trade in human beings called the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade have endlessly continued to play innocent, and even play the victim of an evil act they were very actively involved in as voluntary sellers of their own people without any form of hypnotism except that they were driven by greed. At least history deposits with us the fact that the great Benin empire took a palace decision to never sell Benin sons save their daughters into slavery. This was about the best attempt at fighting back the evil which still ended in another evil, discrimination against women. A boomerang effect that still rings back in new tunes today in a different type of trade in the female body and even in a renewed trade in human beings. Africans, their forbears and their children have over time imposed defining silence on this evil act of theirs barely ever capturing it in songs, stories or riddles as they are wont to.
The shame or the memory of it seems to have sealed their lips. But not so the children of their sold brothers and sisters who bore and still bear the bitter brunt of the soul-scaring experience. So it is good to see that the story of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade is still being revisited unforgettably; and even with new creative treatment. But also importantly telling the often less told aspect of the story, how African women managed the horror of the evil trade from their own multidimensional levels of abuse. The torture of being uprooted into servitude, and the greater horror of losing both their freedom and their private parts. African American creative productions have often relayed their sexual horror at the hands of their slave masters who called a fellow human nothing, and yet constantly desires their body for sex. Daughters of Igbo Woman is a beautiful creative treatment of rethinking and redesigning the entire concept of documentary; where the emphasis is shifted away completely from pictures, evidences and documents as burdens of proof, to language and poetry as the burden of memory.
An execution style where the focus is Igbo and English languages in elevated poetic renditions through the narrators’ voices of the three generations of women who went into slavery irretrievably from their native Igbo land in this three part stories of the three women connected by blood and slavery. Poetry as a visual narrative is made to assume the place of history, documents and evidences or assumptions of them.
So, from the three generations of the three women enslaved across the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the narrative and narrators move from the presentation style of docu-drama to high poetry and then to poetic prose in those three parts of presentation of this about 30minutes documentary.
Poetic language becomes the research document and the conveyor of the history and its experiences and evidences with just the representative character as the dominant picture of illustration. The documentary is purely and simply a celebration of language as memory more than anything else at little or no cost to poetic pictures that took the place of real documentary evidences or by any other means of proof. Great job! Chike Ofili poet, biographer, reviewer, and author has been chairman- Association of Nigerian Authors, Lagos.