Obama key speaker at Kampala slave trade conference

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Obama’s Speech at the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture

Former US president Barrack Obama who is expected to visit Uganda in December, will be a key speaker at a week-long conference to mark 400 years since the start of slavery against Africans.

Obama is the first African-American to rise to the highest office in the world’s most powerful country.

Organisers told Daily Monitor the conference, whose theme is ‘400 years since debut of slavery; a renewed people’, will be held in the first week of December.

The conference’s vision is ‘emancipation from all forms of racial bondage, starting with the initiation of enslavement of the African people in antiquity to all manner of modern-day slavery generating the enslavement of the mind.’

It is co-organised by the Ankrah Foundation and Bugema University.

Dr Maxine Ankrah, the head of the Ankrah Foundation, also co-chair of the conference, told Monitor the conference aims at creating a new outlook for the African people and the Africans in the Diaspora.

On Obama attending the conference, Dr Ankrah said: “His invitation was officially delivered earlier this week, and he is one of the speakers during the week.”

Dr Ankrah said Obama’s father was their family friend.

A great granddaughter of slaves, Dr Ankrah was born Eleanor Maxine Moore on January 29, 1934 to Rodges and Minnie Moore, in North Carolina in the US.

In Uganda, Canon Ankrah worked with the administration of the Anglican Church and as a lecturer at the Bishop Tucker Theological College [now Uganda Christian University] in Mukono District. He died in 2015.

She said the keynote speaker will be the first female chancellor of Ghana University, Ms Mary Chinery-Hese, whose husband, the late L.J. Chinery-Hesse, was Uganda’s legislative drafting consultant in the directorate of the First Parliamentary Counsel from 1989 to 2014.

Dr Paul Mukasa, the director for research at Bugema University and co-chair of the conference, said despite the relatively small number of Ugandans who were sold into slavery compared to West Africa, Uganda too shared in the evils of slavery.

President Museveni is also expected to attend the conference, which organisers say will attract numerous academicians and eminent people of African descent from all over the world.

Mr Obama, the first African-American to rise to the highest office in the world’s most powerful country, has been intricately involved in causes for the emancipation of Black people in America, and often quotes Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the icon of the Civil Rights Movement, who was assassinated for the cause in 1968.

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