Post-Colonial Slave Trade Initiatives: Construction Of Afro-Descendant House May Be Beginning Of Reparations

Nefertari (R) & Kounchou addressing guests at FIIAA arts exhibition ground

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

The Founder and Chairperson of the Afro-Descendant House Foundation, André Kounchou Feze, has observed that contributions from citizens of goodwill across the world for the construction of the Afro-Descendant House may just be the beginning of reparations for slave trade.

Kounchou made the observation in a chat with The Post at FIIAA (place of creativity for play and enjoyment) at the Bastos neighbourhood in Yaounde that served as an exhibition and sales ground of artistic works to raise funds for the construction of the Afro-Descendant House.

The exhibition that also saw the launching of crowd funding for the Afro-Descendant House project last May 25 rounded off on July 8, 2022. Kounchou had told reporters that the objective is to “gather resources and build a house that would readily receive our parents, brothers and sisters who are Afro-Descendants.”

Assessing the month-long exhibition and justifying the Afro-Descendant House project, Kounchou re-echoed that, 300 to 400 years ago, “our parents went on a forceful journey during the slave trade and their descendants are today conducting DNA tests to retrace their countries of origin.

“Many are yearning to come back home and we don’t want them to come back as tourists to stay in hotels, but as parents, brothers and sisters returning home to reconnect. The building, covering 850m2, is under construction at Nkolondom I passing through Messassi in Yaounde.

He said the fundraising online is going on unperturbed, but noted that, during the exhibition, they discovered that some people are unwilling to donate online, reason why a list was opened at FIIAA to collect and record their contributions. He, however, said the names of all donors are uploaded online.

He said Afro-Descendants whose parents left the continent under very difficult conditions should come back home as every other child to stay in the house for free. “So, we are calling on all Cameroonians, Africans and other citizens across the world to generously contribute for the construction of this house because I am of the opinion that this may just be the beginning of reparations for this human tragedy,” the Founder and Chairperson of the Afro-Descendant House Foundation told The Post.

Kounchou disclosed that one biggest expectations that was accomplished was the sale of a sculpture to a buyer in Nantes-France with part of the proceeds to go into the funding of the Afro-Descendant House project. He said many people admire the artistic works but are yet to concretise such through the purchase of the products.

He said FIIAA remains open as they are setting up a cultural gallery; opening up a restaurant with focus on African dishes and flavours and the presentation of African films, amongst others. He said FIIAA remains true to its slogan: “Beautiful Africa,” as reflected in the different aspects of the African culture.

Speaking at the event, Founder and Community Manager of KEM’s Land, Nefertari Garnier of Guadeloupe, narrated how she got into contact with the Afro-Descendant House Foundation and completely bought their idea. She said she is an Afro-Caribbean and, above all, an African considering the roots of her grandparents. 

“Through DNA tests, we are today retracing and coming back to our ancestral land. We strongly believe that, through your contributions and solidarity, the Afro-Descendant House project would come to fruition,” she stated.

She said, because of sacrifices over the years, there are hopes Afro-descendants shall return to the culture-rich continent of Africa as reflected in the works exhibited by the artists.

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