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Akyaaba Addai-Sebo - the architect of Black History Month in the UK

24 Octobre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #blackhistory, #akyaabaaddaisebo, #ENG, #blacklegacy, #UK

Photo Credit: CNN

Photo Credit: CNN

As we celebrate Black History Month in the UK, have you ever wondered who was the mastermind of it. Well,  his architect is Ghanaian born Akyaaba Addai-Sebo. After visiting the US in the 1970s and being inspired by the Black History Month US held in February, Akyaaba Addai-Sebo initiated Black History Month in the UK in 1987, which is celebrated in October. Its initial aim was to support Black children sense of self esteem and social construct. October was chosen because it was shortly after the UK summer vacation and was the traditional harvest period and time when African leaders gathered to settle differences and appraise the state of the community.

Akyaaba Addai-Sebo also worked to promote diversity in a variety of roles for organizations including the Greater London Council, African Refugees Housing Action Group, Notting Hill Carnival, and Organization of African Unity. In 2014, he was executive producer of "One Humanity," a documentary on the 1988 and 1990 Wembley concerts for Nelson Mandela.

For further reading: Akyaaba Addai-Sebo - Black History Month 2021


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The origins of the Kora

30 Juillet 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #blackhistory, #blacklegacy, #music, #diabelcissokho, #carosika, #ENG

Tiramagan Traoré was a general of the great Soundjata Keïta, founder of the Mandinka empire, also referred to as the Mali Empire at the end of the twelfth century through to the sixteenth century.

The story goes that Tiramagan Traoré went to the heights of Kabul (present-day Guinea-Bissau which was formerly a territory of Gambia) with his griot Djelimadou Woulen Diabate and two hunters. During this expedition, Tiramagan spotted a Jinn, in front of a cave, which is a spirit in a form of a woman, living in the mountains. When she saw the expedition, the Jinn became frightened and took refuge in the cave.

Back home, Tiramagan told Waligelenjan, a descendant of Kamisoko, about his adventure. All decided to leave the next morning with a fishing net in order to catch this famous Jinn. When they arrived on the scene, the spirit woman was sitting in front of the cave. Immediately, the hunters launched the net on her to capture her. She, once more, took refuge in the cave and came out with a Kora. Tiramagan married this very beautiful woman and gave the Kora to his griot since he was a nobleman and wasn't permitted to play it. Djelimadou Woulen then exclaimed: "Nobleman, that's an instrument of ours, which belongs to the Mandika people".

It is from this story that the Kora, a stringed instrument of twenty-two strings with crystal sounds, draws its feminine gender. The first person to play it was this griot. When he died, in his honour, a string was removed. Since this time, the Kora has twenty-one leather strings. From the time of the first griot Djélimadou Woulen Diabaté, the Kora has been transmitted from Father to Son and has known more than 70 generations of griots.

The origins of the Kora

Here is below an interview that took place at the Jazz Cafe couple of years back with a griot from the Cissokho family "Diabel Cissokho" by Caro Sika. Enjoy :)

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FREE African Cultural and Artistic Market on Saturday 12 October from 12 to 4pm, Wood Green

30 Septembre 2019 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #event, #ujamaa, #2019, #blackhistory, #ENG, #uk

FREE African Cultural and Artistic Market on Saturday 12 October from 12 to 4pm, Wood Green

This is a FREE FAMILY FRIENDLY COMMUNITY EVENT to celebrate Black History Month that will take place on Saturday 12th October 2019 in Wood Green Library from 12 to 4pm.

The event will be opened by Haringey’s Mayor Cllr Sheila Peacock at 12noon. There will be an African Cultural and Artistic Market with vendors selling a range of items from original fashion pieces, accessories, jewellery, arts and crafts, books and natural products. There will also be drumming and drama workshops by All Eyes on Egypt and BAP face painting by NaaLa Lartey, an ACLT blood donor registration drive, charities and local community organisations holding stalls such as Haringey IAPT, Obaseki Solicitors, Manhood Academy whilst Reggae Britannia will be providing food.

Guest Speakers will be Patrick Vernon OBE and Danny Thompson who will both present on Black History Month.

This event is open to all. Let's come together to learn and celebrate Black History  as well as networking with and discovering artists, artisans, charities and  grassroot community organisations all working for the good of our communities.

For more info, see website below:

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Black History Activity Books - A huge success!!

28 Janvier 2019 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #book, #author, #blackhistory, #kids, #ENG, #uk

The Black History Activity Books have been designed to inspire and educate young people on some of the greatest figures in history.  The books use a series of puzzles and activities to stimulate the minds of the reader whilst aiding them to learn in a fun and exciting way.

"We believe that it is our responsibility to inspire and educate our children about their history.  There are many positive black role-models that are truly inspirational. No longer will they be kept away from us and hidden in the shadows and there contributions to be ignored! We highlight these role-models, giving young people a greater sense of self thus building confidence. We believe that educating young people about our achievements, contributions to society and this civilisation is of paramount importance".

Their Launch in 2018 was a major success!! Click on youtube link below for their latest video:

The preparation for their second Black History Month event in 2019 is already well under way and 900 tickets have already been booked in less than a week!! Make sure to register online as soon as possible!!

Read on to book your ticket today!!

Black History Activity Books - A huge success!!
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African Holocaust Day - Educate, celebrate and inspire !!

10 Août 2018 , Rédigé par Caro Sika Publié dans #carosika, #blackhistory, #society, #event, #shezallaing, #sankofaday, #ENG, #uk

Shezal Laing, Director and Founder of Slavery Remembrance and My Tribe

Shezal Laing, Director and Founder of Slavery Remembrance and My Tribe

The Founder of Slavery Remembrance - Shezal Laing

Shezal Laing is a trailblazer. She’s just the type of person that would make things happen if she has set her mind on it.

She would say of herself that she wants to be happy with the world as it is but with the current knowledge she has, it has been impossible for her…Nevertheless, she sets out to do something about it …. Not just for her but as a mother of 2 sons of Caribbean and African origins, she wants to set « a path as clear and easy as possible for them and fight as many battles as possible while alive so they don't have to ».

In 2016, what Shezal qualified as being in a horrible place near a breakdown, was actually in hindsight, her springboard into championning the Slavery Remembrance Day in London. While spending time in Jamaica to recuperate from a very stressful work situation, it was while discussing with her children’s grandmother about the lack of visibility and initiatives around the International Slavery Remembrance Day promoted by the UNESCO that the spark came on and she simply decided to do something about it. She observed that the Jewish Holocaust Day was widely accepted while the International Slavery Remembrance Day was receiving very little or no recognition whatsoever.

« I will do something. I will hold a memorial to recognise this day » she decided from then on

And so after incorporating Slavery Remembrance as a company, immediately upon her return from Jamaica, she birthed the African Holocaust Day the very same year and made history by holding the first ever memorial in Trafalgar Square London. She still remembers, baby on her back, welcoming contractors by herself in the morning as they started putting out the barriers. She litterately started on her own.

Slavery Remembrance Day, now African Holocaust Day

The first memorial was a resounding success centered around « educating, celebrating and inspiring » all from African, Caribbean descents and beyond to learn from the past and be empowered to have a common vision for change and success !! The Sankofa Badge, which is also the logo of Slavery Remembrance, embodies our past and heritage as the African diasporas, and represents the foundation to lay down and the stepping stone it provides on our way to achieving in the world we live in as a cultural entity, an economic force and a united people.

And fostering unity, celebrating black history and black culture is at the heart of the initiative which is self-sustained. Slavery Remembrance is more than just a memorial and much more happens throughout the year, also through its sister’s company « My Tribe » which aims at connecting diasporas and supporting black businesses, entrepreneurs and organisations. Shezal also observes that the memorial triggers many different responses within the afro-caribbean communities from anger, guilt, denial. « the memorial  has really changed my understanding of where our biggest battle is….. It has opened my eyes to so many mindsets and the need for a collective understanding of what happened. Some are still traumatised by it. Honoring and remembering our ancestors is like a counselling session. People are coming to terms with it, it is a gradual process ».

The Sankofa

The Sankofa, which is also the logo of Slavery Remembrance, embodies our past and heritage as the African diasporas, and represents the foundation to lay down and the stepping stone it provides on our way to achieving in the world we live in as a cultural entity, an economic force and a united people.

African Holocaust Day - Educate, celebrate and inspire !!

The next African Holocaust memorial will be held on Saturday 18th August 2018 in Trafalgar Square.

As a small grass root organisation community leader and director, Shezal Laing encourages all of us to step up and share the load. Every job description is needed from admin, bid writing, web content, PR, marketing and more. You can support and contribute in many ways from volunteering on the day and throughout a year, as well as financially by buying a badge or more.

Shezal’s last word « come and enjoy the day, share the event, share the news. »

See Teaser and link of the event below to share extensively!


Caro Sika and Shezal Laing

Caro Sika and Shezal Laing

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Coalition of Artists for The General History of Africa by Unesco

3 Juillet 2018 , Rédigé par Caro Sika Publié dans #blackhistory, #carosika, #artist, #ENG

The concept of SANKOFA is derived from the Akan people of West Africa. The term comes from the words "san" (return), "ko" (go), and "fa" (look, seek, and take).  

The concept of SANKOFA is derived from the Akan people of West Africa. The term comes from the words "san" (return), "ko" (go), and "fa" (look, seek, and take).  

Why a general history of Africa?

"Crushed by centuries of oppression, Africa has seen generations of travelers, slave traders, explorers, missionaries, governors, and scholars of all kinds give out its image as one of nothing but poverty, barbarism, irresponsibility and chaos. And this image has been projected and extrapolated indefinitely in time, as a jurisdiction of both the present and the future... Is it surprising, then, that African History should have been accorded such a small and subordinate place in all the histories of mankind and of civilization" Introduction by J.Ki-Zerbo, GHA Volume I, Director of Volume I

"At a time when the peoples of Africa are striving towards unity and greater cooperation in shaping their individual destinies, a proper understanding of Africa's past, with an awareness of common ties among Africans and between Africa and other continents, should not only be a major contribution towards mutual understanding among the people of the earth, but also a source of knowledge of a cultural heritage that belongs to all mankind". Bethwell A. Ogot, President, International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa

"In the new African renaissance, we place great emphasis on the presentation of history"

"Our History needs to be written as the History of our society, not as the story of European adventures. African society must be treated as enjoying its own integrity; its History must be a Mirror of that society, and the European contact must find its place in this History only as an African experience, even if as a crucial one. That is to say, the European contact needs to be assessed and judged from the point of view of the principles animating African society, and from the point of view of the harmony and progress of this society." Kwame Nkrumah, First President of Ghana, 1st Congress of Africanists, Accra, 1962

The monumental venture of recording the General History of Africa (GHA) was therefore initiated in 1964 in response to the aspirations of the newly independent African states to decolonize their History, and re-appropriate renewed discourses on the African past. Under the scientific and intellectual leadership of 39 members International Scientific Committee, including two-thirds of scholars from Africa such as A.Hampâté Bã, Pr. Cheikh Anta Diop, Pr. Gamal Mokhtar and more, some 350 authors, translators and volume editors from different regions, worked together for more than 35 years in view of the elaboration of the GHA.

Continue to read below for more information on the General History of Africa:

A.Hampâté Bã (left), Pr. Cheikh Anta Diop (middle), Pr. Gamal Mokhtar (right)A.Hampâté Bã (left), Pr. Cheikh Anta Diop (middle), Pr. Gamal Mokhtar (right)A.Hampâté Bã (left), Pr. Cheikh Anta Diop (middle), Pr. Gamal Mokhtar (right)

A.Hampâté Bã (left), Pr. Cheikh Anta Diop (middle), Pr. Gamal Mokhtar (right)

History was recorded from both written archives but also by confronting oral sources and little-known African written annals such as the Ajamis (in Wolof, Fulani, Mandingo, Bambara, Songhai, Soninke or Tamashek.... and calligraphed into Arabic script). The outcome forms a first series of 8 volumes; the main editions being in English, Arabic and French and translated into 13 languages including Kiswahili, Fulfude, and Hausa. In addition, 12 "studies and documents" and 13 volumes on the "Sources of African History" were published to accompany and complement the collection.

Please note that the volumes of the General History of Africa are available to consult and free to download. See some of the volumes and find more info by clicking the link below:

Continue reading the article below:


Coalition of Artists for The General History of Africa by UnescoCoalition of Artists for The General History of Africa by UnescoCoalition of Artists for The General History of Africa by Unesco

The coalition of artists

Despite their undeniable scientific and political success, the first eight volumes of the GHA remained largely unknown to the general public and African youth. Drawing lessons from this, the global strategy for the second phase of the GHA has included a more attractive form for its products that is more in harmony with new forms of knowledge consumption, using digital technology and interactive, fun methods. It has also established a communication plan supported by opinion leaders, such as artists, to convey the message of the GHA to young Africans and the diaspora in particular. In that connection, UNESCO, represented by Ali Moussa Iye, chief of the section for History and Memory for Dialogue, as well as Tabue Nguma who coordinates the project since 2015,   is  establishing a network of African and non-African artists (musicians, film-makers, playwrights, actors, painters, photographers, etc.), called “the International Coalition of Artists for the General History of Africa”, in order to raise awareness among young Africans and the general public regarding the importance of a better understanding of the African continent’s history and cultures.  A number of events have already taken place in Paris around different topics such as hip hop or the cinema and their artistic creations connected with the continent.

I had the pleasure to speak to both of them. They expressed their desire and commitment to see these resources reach a wider public, especially the youth in need of representation; as well  as duplicating these artistic events, with a view to engaging a dialogue on African History. London could be a next location for such events.

See link below for more info and pics:


Caro Sika and Ali Moussa Iye, chief of History and Memory for Dialogue Section, UNESCO
Caro Sika and Ali Moussa Iye, chief of History and Memory for Dialogue Section, UNESCO

Caro Sika and Ali Moussa Iye, chief of History and Memory for Dialogue Section, UNESCO

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Rose Lokissim - An outstanding soldier, a tragic destiny

15 Mai 2018 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #blackhistory, #society, #roselokissim, #ENG, #tchad, #africa

Rose Lokissim - An outstanding soldier, a tragic destiny

Rose Lokissim (1955-1986) was one of the first women to become an elite soldier in Chad.


Rose was born around 1955 in a small and remote village in Chad, to one of her father’s wives. Not much is known about her childhood, other than that she was a calm and peaceful child with a strong will. By the time she was twelve, she was able to hold back her father in a fit of fury. Hardworking and ambitious, she refused to let her gender hold her back and by the time she was around 23, she joined the Chadian Army and went on to become one its first female elite soldiers. 


When she joined the army, there was a civil war in full swing. The former President had been killed ca. three years prior and around one year later, in 1979, rebel forces led by Hissène Habré took the capital, collapsing any kind of authority structure in the country. Now there were armed groups contending for power, the French colonialists (who just had to give up Chad as a colony in 1960 when it gained independence) rapidly lost influence and the whole country was in chaos. In 1982,  Hissène Habré officially became President of Chad. Violently crushing his opposition he quickly turned his reign into a dictatorship. Soon everyone who dared speak against him was persecuted and the people lived in fear of denunciation. Around 40.000 people were killed during his eight years in power. By 1984, Rose realized she could no longer be a part of this army and had joined by then the opposition.


She began to smuggle information to rebel forces and to speak out against the regime, hoping to gain international attention to remove Habré from office. However on December 14th of the same year, Rose and several others were arrested by the DDS, Habré’s secret police. The arrest was painful, involving electro shocks and a fair deal of violence. They were brought to La Piscine, an underground swimming pool that had been turned into a windowless prison. Rose was seen as a real threat by the DDS as only a day later she was taken to Les Locaux in N’Djamena, a prison for notorious criminals (mostly political prisoners), and instead of a women’s cell was taken to a cell to share with 60 men. Its real name was Cell C but it was known as the Cell of Death as few prisoners made it out of there alive.


Rose survived. After eight months she was transferred to a women’s cell. She would be the one to unite her fellow prisoners, keeping their hopes for a better future alive. They had friends in the prison too: there were officers who were willing to pass on messages to their families, letting them know they were still alive – or how and when they died. Rose was instrumental in smuggling out those messages.


At some point, the prisoners were given soap by one of those officers and Rose had an idea. She asked her friends to keep the soap boxes intact and give them to her, 15 boxes in total. She started to write on them about her experiences in prison in excruciating detail. She chronicled death, burials and torture. She recounted the officers who came to see the prisoners. And she described the abuse, the torture, the beatings, the sexual assault and the deprivation of food. After running out of soap boxes, she continued to write on scraps of cigarette paper and anything else she could find. Despite all warnings of the consequences these notes would yield not only for her but for all the women in her cell, she was determined to leave evidence of the inhumane treatment she and her fellow prisoners had to endure. For one year she kept on writing in secret, hiding even from her friends.


In 1986 Rose was due to be released but word about her documentation reached Habré. Her writings were immediately confiscated and she was transferred back to Cell C. She was executed on May 15th at the age of 33 years old, and buried in a mass grave known as Plain of the Dead.


In 1990, Habré was overthrown by the former President, Idriss Déby, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he was sentenced to life in prison for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during his rule in a charge led by the victims of his regime. Among the documents that sealed his conviction, found in the abandoned DDS headquarters, were files on Rose Lokissim. There was proof that in the two years she was imprisoned, Rose had never faltered, never given in on her position, instead she was vocal about it and considered a true threat by the secret police, even as she was in prison. The files also contained her final words:

“If I die, it will be for my country and family.
History will talk about me and I will be thanked for my services to the Chadian nation.”





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Louis Delgrès, hero of the fight against the restoration of slavery in Guadeloupe

10 Mai 2018 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #blackhistory, #ENG

Louis Delgrès, hero of the fight against the restoration of slavery in Guadeloupe

Louis Delgrès was of mixed heritage and was named after his father Louis Delgrès, who was the director of the French King's estates in Tobago. Louis lived with his parents in Martinique and then in Tobago. He then began his military career on 10 November 1783. He is soon appointed sergeant, stationed in Martinique. Inspired by revolutionary movements in American colonies, he will assert his anti-slavery and abolitionist opinions throughout his military career.


Delgres left Martinique island after its conquest by the Royalists in 1791 and moved to the island of Dominique, where he participated to local Republican elections. During the last decade of the 18th century, he dedicated his life to the service of the French Republic.  He fully supported the abolition of slavery by the French National Assembly in 1794 and supported the Republic twice, firstly by defending Guadeloupe against a British invasion in 1794, and secondly by participating to the Garifuna riots in Saint-Vincent in 1795 where the black population of this island rose up against British rule. His involvement in these conflicts led to his participation in major battles against England.  He was captured and imprisoned twice in three years between 1794 and 1797.  His reputation in the French army grew and he was promoted to Captain and became a major adviser to French Admiral Jean-Baptiste Raymond de Lacrosse.


In 1801, after the death of the General Antoine de Bethencourt, Admiral Lacrosse appointed himself Governor of Guadeloupe while much of the officer corps wanted mixed-race Magloire Pelage to be the next governor of the island. Lacrosse was removed by the French government and deported on 1st November 1801.  Louis Delgres then joined the rebellion against French rule. Magloire Pelage, now Governor of Guadeloupe, appointed Delgres as Chief of the  Basse Terre Distric, a jurisdictional entity of Guadeloupe. During the months of January and February 1802, immediately following his appointment, Delgres dismissed white French civil servants and officers, accusing them of communicating with Lacrosse or attempting to restore slavery to the island under the rulership of Napoleon Bonaparte. On 6th May 1802, Napoleonian General Antoine Richepance arrived in Guadeloupe with a French Army to reestablish slavery.  Whilst Governor Magloire Pelage quickly surrendered, Delgres and his men decided toto fight Napoleon’s troops.  On 10th May 1802, Delgres signed a call to insurrection written by his secretary, citizen Monnereau, titled “The Last Cry of Innocence and Despair.”  This revolutionary document called on the people of Guadeloupe to rise up against the invading French forces “who just want Black men (…) in the chains of Slavery.”. This call inspired many local people from Guadeloupe to embrace the motto, “Live free or die”.

Louis Delgres and his followers resisted the much larger French Army for 18 days. On 20 May 1802, Delgrès and his troops were forced to retreat to the fort of basse-Terre which they then had to abandon on 22nd May 1802 (escaping secretly with his men) to take refuge at the foot of la Soufrière in Matouba, towards Saint-Claude.

On 28 May 1802,
when it became clear that they would be defeated, Louis Delgrès and his 300 companions committed suicide by exploding their reserves of munitions.  By doing so, they took their own lives and those of some of the many French soldiers arrayed against them under the revolutionary motto "Live free or die".

Mémorial Louis Delgrès and the fort named after him in Guadeloupe

Mémorial Louis Delgrès and the fort named after him in Guadeloupe

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10th May - French National Day of the Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery

10 Mai 2018 , Rédigé par Caro Sika Publié dans #carosika, #blackhistory, #society, #afroculture, #2018, #ENG

10th May - French National Day of the Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery10th May - French National Day of the Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery

May 10 is the "National Day of the Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery" since 2006, in France.

This day honors the memory of African Slaves and commemorates the abolition of slavery. It also refers to the proclamation of the colonel Delgrès on 10th May 1802, when he was head of the resistance against the Consular troops of the General Richepance, sent by Bonaparte to restore slavery in Guadeloupe. The proclamation would be displayed on the walls of Basse-Terre:

"To the entire universe, the last cry of innocence and despair:" 

This date also marks the day of the unanimous adoption by the Senate, in the second and final reading of the Act of 2001 recognizing slavery as a crime against humanity in France.

And yet,....
........Slavery is still rampant in 2018. The mass of Afro-descendants, throughout the world, was violently confronted, in November 2017, to a practice that has never stopped, although illegal and inhumane, forced on sub-Saharan migrants fleeing austere, fragile, corrupt regimes, devoid of opportunities; or simply deceived in the pursuit of a European ideal maintained by a hegemonic system which devalues and impoverishes the African continent with, too often, the complicity of its elites and leaders. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, everywhere in Europe, outraged by the horror of slavery which persists!!!

These protests have had the merit of awakening our consciences, if nothing more...

For the account of Afro Culture, we chose to partner with Red Entertainment to launch a Song Challenge #iamnot4sale and to organize two artistic events, one in London in February 2018 and a second in Paris, in March 2018, to continue to raise awareness on the plight of sub-Saharan migrants and to raise funds to support actions on the ground in the Gambia for young migrants who experienced hell in Libya through a Partner organisation "Youth against irregular migration" YAIM. We are particularly encouraged by their campaign of prevention in the rural areas of the country sharing their experience to deter the youth from leaving their homeland and encouraging them to invest in developing the economy of their country.

Red Entertainment Ltd, has also facilitated the sponsorship of young returnees from Libya so that they have access to professional training which can lead to an employment or the creation of a small business.

For the International African Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday 18th August 2018 in Trafalgar Square, London, the artists S. rise and and the rapper K9, who participated in the Song Challenge #iamnot4sale, will represent  #iamnot4sale Campaign, performing song tracks. African Holocaust Remembrance Day is organised by the founder of "Slavery Remembrance" Shezal Laing.

Let us all continue to denounce the practice of Slavery and honour our ancestors!

For more info,
on the Campaign #iamnot4sale - www.iamnot4sale.org

on YAIM - Https://www.facebook.com/yaimgambia/

on Slavery Remembrance and the African Holocaust Day - www.slaveryremembrance.org

10th May - French National Day of the Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery10th May - French National Day of the Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery
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