OMAN– Write about an Ancestor: “Our Slave Heritage and Family Hero”


A few years ago in Oman, I planned and held a writing contest.

For this contest I asked the advanced level students to research or prepare a topic about one of their ancestors. Here is what one female student shared. (I have revised it mostly only for grammar–not content here. I have chosen to change the authors name as well.)–Kevin Stoda

By miriam

Our family is our life. Everyone loves their family, they mean so much to us. We can’t really live without family.

The persons who once guided our family are our ancestors. For me, the ancestor that is or was the most important in my family was the oldest person in the family that I was raised in. He was the one who saw life before the others of us. This was my grandfather, who meant so much to me. He both taught me and let me learn the rules of life, and he taught us all how to trust in ourselves and to never give up.

My grandfather was of African origin. He was from Africa and was born in 1945–that’s really a long time ago [for me]. His education was very poor. He couldn’t read nor write. He was illiterate.

He came to Oman through other Africans who had sold him in Oman to a rich man. That was a long time ago, and life was like that then.

By the way, by the time he was 15 year-old, grandfather was able to buy his freedom from his owner and start a new life in the country. He had been very very eager to do that since he had arrived in Oman.

However, the Omani owner had also bought his brothers sisters, so eventually my grandfather also had to be able to buy his brothers’ and sisters’ freedom. Because he could not live without his family, my grandfather became creative and a good at earning money. My grandfather refused to leave the area of the owner’s family until all his relatives were free. After all, he was the oldest [and that is the role of the eldest in the family–to take care of the others].

When my grandfather was 20 years-old, he found work as a slaughterer of cattle. He was strong and able to do that hard work, and this hard life only made him stronger. After working as a cattle slaughterer, my grandfather decided to open up his own business. He started taking business trips to different countries, especially from Oman to India.

This travel and work made him even stronger and hardened him, but he never forgot how to fall in love. When he was in a country more than three months, he married but when he left that country, he would divorce. Eventually, he had married about 20 women–but he ever had any children from these marriages.

He only married these women for their beauty and the love he observed in their hearts. However, as he got older he could do this no more. He remained married only to two women–one in Oman and the other in India. Altogether, he had 23 children. Only six of these were girls.

In his business, grandfather traded dokban, frankincense, perfumes and a lot of other things. His first lasting marriage was when he was 20-years-old. The last marriage was when he was 56-years-old.

Grandfather couldn’t marry any longer because of his smoking. He was a ferocious smoker and totally addicted. Until he got cancer in his lungs and brain, he always smoked at least one pack a day. After this, he could not doing anything–only sitting around, however, he was fighting his diseases till the very end–his last second of breath.

He passed away in 2004. In the wake, he left a lot of love for him behind. We still have this love for him in our hearts.

All things considered, he probably lived a happy life and was probably happy at what he had done. In our eyes, we gave him much respect. Many of his children became like him–strong businessmen and businesswomen. They are still really proud of their father, too.

I really appreciate [many aspects of ] his life and how he never gave up. Nothing ever stopped him. He chose, and then followed the life he had chosen. He wanted to be a successful businessman, so he became a successful businessman. He lived a life so that if people mentioned his name, they recognized him overall as a good man–not pondering much his badness of some of his ways.

When he passed, one Omani magazine showed grandfather’s photo and discussed him and his life. I’m really proud of my grandfather, the one who never stopped fighting. He wasn’t a perfect man, but he wanted the best for his children. That is why we hide his bad memories and lift up our good memories of him. We can see a successful man who worked hard. It is a life that said the more you learn, the more you will earn. You will also get what you desire in this way.

The more he worked, the more he earned: So, he taught us. You can obtain freedom and things that you want. He taught me to never stop believing in myself.

Now, [these days in Oman] all of us are free, and life is no longer at all like it was in the old days. That is a good thing, but we should still work hard in our lives and never stop believing in ourselves. This is what my grandfather told me.

I really hope some day that the world will know my name in a good way–and for good things. I will work really hard for this, and this is what my grandfather has blessed me with. God bless my grandfather.

Like my ancestors, I have advice for you, i.e. to believe in yourself and never give up. Then you will not miss out on anything important. Be like your strong ancestors. You can then even be better than them as and after you study, read and write. Then you will do the best.

Work on your life every single day. It’s your life we are talking about. Nothing is more important.

In summary, trust in yourself [as grandfather said] and life will be great. You will be a successful person–and that will be a great feeling.

Good luck in your lives.

NOTES from Internet on Omani Slavery from Kevin

Horror and Heartbreak in Oman | Human Rights Watch
https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/12/horror-and-heartbreak-oman

Jul 12, 2016 – Oman is a very hospitable country, and is known as being more tolerant and open than others in the region. It’s true Oman has a history of slave trade; centuries ago, it brought slaves over from the east coast of Africa. But when slavery was abolished in the 20th century, many former slavesgot Omani citizenship.History of slavery in the Muslim world – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery_in_the_Muslim_world

Slavery in the Muslim world first developed out of the slavery practices of pre-Islamic Arabia, ….. Slavery was not formally abolished in Yemen and Oman until the following year. The last nation to formally enact the abolition of slavery practice …‎Slavery in Islamic Arabia · ‎Slavery in the Ottoman … · ‎Slavery in the late 20th …Arab slave trade – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_slave_trade

The Arab slave trade was the intersection of slavery and trade in the Arab world, mainly in … Walter Rodney argues that the term Arab Slave Trade is a historical ….. Zanzibar was once East Africa’s main slave-trading port, and under Omani …‎Scope of the trade · ‎History of the Arab slave … · ‎Geography of the slave …History of Oman – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Oman

Oman is the site of pre-historic human habitation, stretching back over 100,000 years. …. When Great Britain prohibited slavery in the mid-19th century, the sultanate’s fortunes reversed. The economy collapsed, and many Omani families …‎Persian period · ‎Foreign invasions · ‎Late 19th and early 20th … · ‎Late 20th centuryOmani history slavery – historic clothing
https://www.histclo.com/Country/me/oman/hist/oh-slave.html

Aug 23, 2011 – Yemen was an important link in the African slave trade. The second major force in Yemeni history has been religion. Many scholars separate …slavery – Oman and Zanzibar Virtual Museum
omanisilver.com/contents/en-us/d240_Omani_Slavery.html

The Omani Arabs controlled the slave-trade during the 18th and 19th century with …. Wendell Phillips in his Oman a History writes on page: 100:101: “Sohar was …Omani Music Masks A Slave Trading Past – Al-Fanar Media
https://www.al-fanarmedia.org/2017/03/omani-music-masks-unpleasant-past/

Mar 30, 2017 – Researcher says scholars should recognize the true origin of African sounds in Omanitraditional music.Slavery and Society in East Africa, Oman, and the Persian Gulf …
https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/what…slave…/slavery…oman…/core-reader
Apr 26, 2018 – An examination of the history of slavery in the western Indian Ocean … that bound slavery on the East African coast with slavery in Oman and, …Modern-day Slavery in Oman? Domestic Workers in Peril | Inter Press …
www.ipsnews.net/2016/07/modern-day-slavery-in-oman-domestic-workers-in-peril/

Jul 25, 2016 – Once they arrive in Oman, new employers often seize their passports so that they … Many other female domestic workers share Asma K.’s story.Showing Off Your Slaves in Oman | Keeping it Real in Oman
https://realityinoman.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/showing-off-your-slaves-in-oman/

Oct 2, 2009 – Its been a while since I blogged about stuff here in Oman, but there has been … As you see from the title, its about people showing off their slaves in Oman. … Ex-slaves in Oman are mainly of African origin, but they became …

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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