When, a couple of years ago, I exploded in indignation at the folly and ignorance of dunderhead political figures who apologised 'to Africa' for the Slave Trade the reaction from certain quarters was as though I'd denied the holocaust.
The truth is that if the West was a willing buyer of slaves, Africa was a willing seller. Of the 11m - 15m African slaves transported across the Atlantic between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, all but a few thousands had been captured and enslaved by fellow Africans in a cultural practice that pre-dated by centuries the first sight of a European on those shores. Their pre-European market had been the Gulf and the Arab states. Right up until abolition, Europe hardly had a foot ashore in Africa; the vast continent was only colonised post-abolition, when Quinine prophylaxis, the breech-loading rifle and steam gunboats made it possible.
Yet a distorted teaching of history in our schools has left a generation with the impression that it was chaps in Pith helmets and khaki drill who rounded up the natives and packed them off to Virginian tobacco plantations. And dunderhead politicos breathe it all in and apologise 'to Africa'.
And of course apologising for the behaviour of our ancestors prior to the effects of the Second Enlightenment makes about as much sense as apologising to elephants for our ancestors having hunted their tusked woolly cousins.
And although there is now an interesting suggestion from Nigeria that Africans ought to apologise to the Afro-Americans and our Afro-Carib population for the Trade, the idea of a Nigerian village girl apologising to Shirley Bassey or Michele Obama for having brought them to their present state seems a little incongruous.