Segu Essay examples

1150 Words Apr 26th, 2005 5 Pages
Essay Number One
The Spread of Islam and the Slave Trade

"Segu is a garden where cunning grows. Segu is built on treachery. Speak of Segu outside Segu, but do not speak of Segu in Segu" (Conde 3). These are the symbolic opening words to the novel Segu by Maryse Conde. The kingdom of Segu in the eighteenth and nineteenth century represents the rise and fall of many kingdoms in the pre-colonial Africa. Therefore, Segu indirectly represents the enduring struggles, triumphs, and defeats of people who are of African decent in numerous countries around the world. There are three major historical concepts that are the focus of this book. One is the spread of the Islamic religion. Another is the slave trade, and the last is the new
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A typical slave was between ten and thirty years old. The people trading the slaves viewed them as property, with absolutely no regard for their feelings or their families. The consistent trade of the slaves caused much fear and the people became alienated.
"What reason could there be for parting children from their mothers, men and woman from their homes, and fellow countrymen" (Conde 76)? This is a question Naba once asked himself because he could not possibly grasp the concept of slavery. He, along with many others were dumbfounded with the idea of purchasing "human souls" (Conde 76). In Segu, Naba actually becomes a slave. Initially, he is kidnapped and converted to a Christian. Then he is sent to Goree Island where he is a slave and is controlled by the French. The once content, happy individual is transformed into a walking zombie. He works for Anne Pepin and is horribly unhappy, even attempting suicide at one point. This just demonstrates the torture many slaves went through that nobody seemed to care bout or even think was slightly inhumane. He was happy for a short time when he fell in love with a girl named Ayodele and they were married. However, shortly thereafter, he is found with an Islamic document and executed because he was earlier converted to a Christian and this was seen as a threat. When Naba fell in love with Ayodele, she was a woman with similar views as him. She strongly disliked the

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