Slavery has come to mean different things to different people, based on socio-cultural and logical imperatives. In some societies in Africa, the number of slaves an individual have would determine the honour and respect that would be accorded to such individual. Based on that premises, societies in Africa had a brutal method of acquiring slaves. The commonest way was through war and fighting battles. This includes a neighbouring community conquering and forcefully capturing inhabitants of another community. This was a typical example of slavery before colonialism.
Indices from the explanation above gave a vague evaluation of slavery. To be enslaved means to be controlled. Oxford Dictionary saw a slave as ‘a person who is owned by another and who is not free’.
Slavery during colonialism had a more brutal manifestation. It was richly characterized by poor working condition, poor feeding, and great dehumanization of Africans. Trans-Atlantic slave trade would come to mind, where thousands of Africans were taken to European countries and were controlled or slaved.
However, the end of colonialism was not necessarily the end of slavery in Africa. There was a paradigm shift in the method used to control Africans. Slavery was more indented and most effective because the illusion of freedom was given while still being enslaved. The great digital revolution and application occasioned by the World Wide Web (WWW) and the internet has been described by Nosa Owens-Ibie (2014,3) as ‘the new public sphere which presents the picture of a media illusion’, that ‘offers an alternate space for the exchange of information, personality, identity and probably even consciousness in text, sound and visuals’.
The slavery of the 21st century shouldn’t befuddle anyone who’s sensitive to recent and lingering happenings of Africans. People now seek approval from strangers on the internet, fighting for likes online to gain popularity, following with keen interest the trends of Europeans and relegating their customs and values, while exalting European’s.
One thing to note about slavery is the fact that it enriches its master at the expense of the enslaved. A practical example would be seen in the way the internet has brought opulence to its developers at the expense of users. The implication of this is that every act could hardly escape the lenses of ubiquitous internet in the hand of a restless generation.
The internet world has held many, controlling and influencing the activities of majority who seek for validation from the e-world, living and breathing on the internet. This is the highest form of slavery because it gave the illusion of freedom yet people are controlled regularly.
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