King Charles’ “sorrow and regret” are meaningless unless they are linked with formal apology and reparations for historical crimes

Africans Rising takes note of the visit of the British Monarch, King Charles III to Kenya in his first trip to Africa since ascending the throne. In his remarks, the King is reported to have expressed his “deep regret and sorrow” about the crimes committed against African people by his country. It must be made clear to the King that his expression of regret is totally meaningless without a formal apology and payment of reparations for those crimes that he admits were committed, namely slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

Kenya was one of the places where the brutality and violence of British colonial crimes in Africa manifested quite glaringly. We remember the suppression of the Mau Mau movement in Kenya, a freedom-seeking organization that fought against the oppressive and violent occupation of their land. But this was neither isolated in its occurrence nor exceptional in its brutality. For hundreds of years, the British colonial empire exploited, pillaged our lands, raped our women, killed our children and dehumanized our peoples both in and out of Africa. The horrors of slavery and its enduring legacy in the institutions, structures and systems at the local and global levels are a constant reminder of the historical crimes of empire.  These are crimes that can never be forgotten on the altar of tokenist overtures designed to use puppet regimes to sanitize this relationship and hoodwink our people, no matter how many red carpets their puppets spread for them.    

The African people – in the continent and in the diaspora – are united in our demand for restitution, reparations and accountability for historical and ongoing crimes of slavery, racism, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

Africans Rising through the #ReRightHistory campaign wrote to the late Queen Elizabeth, mother and predecessor of the visiting King Charles. This letter was hoisted on the houses of Parliament by brave activists who faced various levels of legal harassment. The current monarch has the unique opportunity to address the demands and concerns of the African peoples. We reiterate the demands of that November 2020 letter as follows;    

  • Acknowledge and accept responsibility of harm and human cost of slavery and colonialism
  • Tender a  formal apology for colonial crimes and atrocities committed
  • Pay Reparations for historical injustices and slavery 
  • Return the stolen art works

Addressing these demands will be a good first step towards a future of mutual respect and cordial relations. Otherwise this visit is just another ruse to advance the interests of the empire and continue the exploitation, which we on the other hand have a duty to resist.

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