Words can’t describe how excited I was to see Olaudah Equaino’s picture up as the Google Doodle for today, 16th October 2017.
I remember coming across a beautiful book; EQUIANO’S TRAVELS while I was in my final year at the University of Ibadan.
The first time I heard about EQUIANO, I was in my second year and in the third month of an Academic Union Strike that lasted for Six months – Six Months of my precious life!
I remember sitting on the bed at home and for want of something to do; I picked up my phone and went straight to Google where I typed: THE IGBO PEOPLE. That was the day I first heard about OLAUDAH EQUIANO.
I was genuinely happy when I saw his book. Sadly, I could not take it out of the library and so I devoted my time to reading two chapters each day and putting it up on my blog.
Author,Chika Unigwe, rewrote Gustavus Vassa’s eventful life into a remarkably epic and a timeless love story in a book; THE BLACK MESSIAH. It is also a compelling tale of adventure that takes the reader inside the holds of slave ships and at the heart of the eighteenth century.
Although originally written in English, The Black Messiah appeared in Dutch translation under the title De zwarte messias, published by Antwerp-based De Bezige Bij in 2013. The original English version is yet to be released.
In a Facebook post, Chika Unigwe wrote:
Google is celebrating Olaudah Equiano’s birthday today. While I am glad to celebrate his greatness, let us remember that his “birthday” was a date chosen arbitrarily by one of his slave masters. Equiano was Igbo, came from a culture where precise age meant nothing. People belonged to age groups. Equiano’s abductors had no way of knowing his real age (nor would they have cared). His date of death is not in doubt and was not chosen by someone who had paid money to “buy” another human being. Maybe that’s the better date to dedicate to remembering him?