Meet the Cast
played by Youssou N'Dour
Olaudah Equiano played by Youssou N'Dour
Meet Olaudah Equiano
A central figure in the abolitionist movement in Great Britain, Olaudah Equiano (c.1745–1797) wrote an eyewitness account of his life as a slave and of his work in the anti-slavery movement: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African. Though born in what is now Nigeria, Equiano was kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood and taken as a slave to the New World. As a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy, and later to a Quaker merchant, he eventually earned the price of his own freedom by careful trading and saving.
Equiano, like Wilberforce, stood for more than just abolition. Equiano was an African, a slave, a sailor, an Englishman, an abolitionist, a Christian, a writer. He used his many titles to show how slavery brutalizes society as a whole.
He wrote: "Is not the slave trade entirely a war with the heart of man? Such a tendency has the slave trade to debauch men's minds and harden them to every feeling of humanity! For I will not suppose that the dealers in slaves are born worse than other men…it corrupts the milk of human kindness and turns it into gall. Surely this traffic cannot be good, which spreads like a pestilence and taints what it touches!"
About Youssou N'Dour
Grammy® Winner Youssou N'dour is one of Africa's music pioneers, who has put African music on the world map over the past fifteen years.