Today, Google marks the 272nd birthday of Olaudah Equiano, the abolitionist who helped to end African slave trade. Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745 – 31 March 1797), known in his lifetime as Gustavus Vassa was a prominent Nigerian in London, a freed slave who supported the British movement to end the slave trade.

Born in Essaka (his hometown) within the Eboe province (of the Igbo people) in the area that is now southern Nigeria, on October 16, 1745. His early life is unclear due to the absence of records, but he recounted how he was kidnapped with his sister when he was 11. He was then sold by local slave traders and shipped across the Atlantic to Barbados and then Virginia. In Virginia, Equiano was sold to Michael Pascal, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, who renamed him ‘Gustavus Vassa’ after the 16th-century Swedish king.

Equiano had already been renamed twice: he was called Michael while onboard the slave ship that brought him to the Americas; and Jacob, by his first owner. He travelled the oceans with Pascal for eight years, during which time he found Christianity and was baptised as well as learning to read and write.

Pascal then sold Equiano to a ship captain in London, who took him to Montserrat, where he was sold to the prominent merchant Robert King. King set Equiano to work on his shipping routes and in his stores, working as a deckhand, valet and barber whilst also earning money by trading on the side. In 1765, when Equiano was about 20 years old, King promised that he could buy his freedom for £40 (worth £6000 in the present day). In less than three years, he made enough money and was freed in 1967.

Equiano then spent much of the next 20 years travelling the world, including trips to Turkey and the Arctic. In 1786 in London, he became involved in the movement to abolish slavery. He was a prominent member of the ‘Sons of Africa’, a group of 12 prominent Africans living in Britain, who campaigned for abolition and he was active among leaders of the anti-slave trade movement in the 1780s. Equiano was befriended and supported by abolitionists, many of whom encouraged him to write and publish his life story.

He published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789), which depicted the horrors of slavery. Equiano’s personal account of slavery, his journey of advancement, and his experiences as a black immigrant caused a sensation on publication. The book fuelled a growing anti-slavery movement in Britain, Europe, and the New World. His account surprised many with the quality of its imagery, description, and literary style. Some readers felt shame at learning of the suffering he had endured. It went through nine editions and aided passage of the British Slave Trade Act of 1807, which ended the African trade for Britain and its colonies.

As a free man, Equiano had a stressful life; he had suffered suicidal thoughts before he became a Protestant Christian and found peace in his faith. After settling in London, Equiano married an English woman named Susannah Cullen in 1792 and they had two daughters.

He died on 31 March 1797 in London; his gravesite is unknown. Equiano’s death was recognized in American as well as by British newspapers. Since the late 20th century, when his autobiography was published in a new edition, he has been increasingly studied by a range of scholars, including many from his homeland of Nigeria.

Plaques commemorating his life have been placed at buildings where he lived in London:

Inscription“The African’ Olaudah Equiano Baptized Gustavus Vassa in this church.” 

Location: St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey.

Region: London

Inscription“Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797) “The African” lived and published here in 1789 his autobiography on suffering the barbarity of slavery, which paved the way for its abolition.”

Location: 73 Riding House Street, Paddington.

Region: London

Once again, Happy Birthday to a great MAN: Olaudah Equiano (We Salute and Celebrate YOU)!

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Yours in love – The Renaissance Lady ©

I am all about Female Empowerment and celebrating the hustles of my people. And as a proud British-Nigerian Lifestyle Blogger and Serial Mompreneur, I celebrate the tenacity we have shown in breaking boundaries and creating a niche for ourselves in this world of Blogging and Vlogging so you can imagine my excitement when I saw an article as featured on essence.com on 11 African Beauty Bloggers You Should Absolutely Be Following.

Beauty bloggers write (or sometimes talk verbally about) the latest news and trends in beauty, using the blog or YouTube to communicate their thoughts and opinions about beauty products and brands. They often review the latest products and update their blogs at regular intervals, typically twice a week or more. Beauty bloggers utilise social media and promote their blogs via YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook etc. and are often able to build up large followings by doing so. TwitterFacebookInstagramYoutube

Being a beauty blogger can have many perks especially if you’re successful at it; because you can get free beauty products and opportunities to work with famous brands. Often when a mutually beneficial relationship develops between bloggers and the beauty brands and products – the brand receives free advertising of their product and the blogger/vlogger gets to widen his/her fanbase and often receives free products to sample as a consequence. The most prominent beauty bloggers are often invited to exclusive events hosted by the brands that they collaborate with whilst others are paid to sit on the front row of shows wearing free designer clothes in return for tweets. Good Bloggers and Vloggers amass followers who will return frequently to the blog or their YouTube channel and they achieve this by providing reliable, readable content and being honest in their appraisal of products. 

These days, when it comes to making it big in business it seems to be the new generation of bloggers and vloggers who have all the power. The beauty bloggers market is heavily saturated, and there are thousands of independent content providers currently blogging & vlogging worldwide but as previously stated: thanks to essence.com who graciously put together a list of 11 of Africa’s most popping YouTube beauty divas who we definitely want to check out like right NOW! These ladies have helped put AFRICAN beauty on the map and have solidified their niche within the beauty industry.

Jackie Aina: @JackieAina Instagram

At the top of this list is Jackie Aina, a Nigerian-American with a large YouTube following who is bound to take over the world with her wit and beauty. She’s so fun to watch, but make sure your budget is in tact, because she’ll definitely leave you wanting to by every product she uses! At1.6 million YouTube subscribers, Jackie is the real deal.

Nyma Tang: @NymaTang Instagram

Nyma Tang is a Texas-based beauty blogger, originally hailing from South Sudan. Her star is really in the ascendant (one of her videos has 2.6 million views) and with her shorter, punchy videos, she explores which makeup brands have shades that will work for the darkest skin tones. And it certainly doesn’t hurt her makeup always looks amazing

Ronke Raji: @ronkerraji Instagram

Ronke Raji is a Nigerian beauty blogger whose attention to detail is truly unmatched. The gorgeous MUA recently caused quite a stir on social media alongside her equally-stylish bae when their photos from a breathtaking fashion shoot went viral. She also made her NYFW debut in September.

Dimma Umeh: @dimmaumeh Instagram

Dimma’s eyebrow tutorial—which is more of a makeup ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ than a full-on tutorial— is the best one around. Cheers to making scary eyebrows a thing of the past, and to helping makeup making sense to those of us who don’t use much of it, but still want that firm know-how.

Nikki Perkins: @jamieandniks Instagram

Nikki Perkins is a Sudanese-Australian model and lifestyle vlogger, whose sister Duckie is successful high fashion model and most recently appeared in Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty campaign. She’s detailed her struggles to find her shade of makeup in Australia on her blog, so she was naturally excited to find a Fenty Beauty shade that matches her flawless skin perfectly.

Mihlali Ndamase: @mihlalii_n Instagram

Mihlali Ndamasehas the most subscribers of the South African beauty vloggers and it’s not hard to see why. She’s the social media darling who knows how to whip up and describe her makeup looks perfectly. She’s also got quite a personality and her facial expressions are life. She’s also been very open about her skin health journey, which hasn’t always been easy.

Toni Olaoye: @toniolaoye1Instagram

We’ve never seen anyone execute doll-like make up magic as fast as stunning Nigerian beauty blogger Toni Olaoye. Although she is most known for her signature dramatic looks, she can also tone it down without skipping a beat.

 

Patricia Bright: @thepatriciabright Instagram

Patricia Bright is the Brit Nigerian who’s charming, funny and amazing in the makeup department. With 1.4 million YouTube subscribers, all you really need to know is that you’ll have a blast watching her do her thing. She is gold.

 

Cynthia Gwebu: @cgwebuofficial Instagram

A South African beauty blogger who’s on the rise, Cynthia Gwebu’s videos have a unique quality that keeps her audience coming back. She’s also known for using about products that viewers can access right in Cape Town.

Melanain Rich Nyajal: @MellyRichNyajal Twitter

Melanain Rich Nyajal is another South Sudanese, US-based beauty blogger who enjoys showing dark-skinned women with beautiful complexions similar to her own how to enjoy makeup. She also does great hair reviews.

 

Shirley B. Eniang: @ShirleyBEniang Instagram

Shirley B. Eniang is a half-Nigerian, half-Ghanaian-Canadian beauty blogger who was born in London and also focuses on fashion and lifestyle on her increasingly popular channel.

 

There are plenty who dabble in beauty blogging, but these beauty-istas have built entire industries around their names, bang-on recommendations, fast and furious insider knowledge, and an unadulterated love of product and styling tips of which I am so addicted to watching on a daily basis.

Ladies, we salute you…

Do like, comment and follow my BLOG for upcoming posts.

Yours in love – The Renaissance Lady ©