Hidden slavery story translated into English for first time

  • Hidden story of a boy who fell victim to the trans-Atlantic slave trade has been translated and made available to English speakers for the first time
  • The graphic novel, based on a true story, reveals a new insight into the lives of millions of Africans who fell victim to the trans-Atlantic slave trade
  • Quaco; My Life in Slavery tells the true story of a boy who was kidnapped, bought by Dutch slavers and transported to the Caribbean where he was ‘lent’ to a Dutch-born Scottish army captain who was hunting down runaway enslaved people
  • Story has only ever been available in Dutch, but now University of Sheffield modern languages students have translated the novel bringing it to a global audience of English speakers for the first time

A graphic novel revealing a new insight into the lives of millions of Africans who fell victim to the trans-Atlantic slave trade has been brought to English speakers across the globe for the first time, thanks to modern languages students at the University of Sheffield.

Quaco; My Life in Slavery, tells the true story of a boy who was ruthlessly kidnapped by human traffickers in the 18th century, bought by Dutch slavers and taken to the Caribbean where he was ‘lent’ to army captain John Gabriel Stedman, whose task was to hunt down Maroons (runaway enslaved people).

Quaco is a real person whose life story was researched and reconstructed for the novel by Dutch author Ineke Mok. The biggest source of information on Quaco’s life comes from Stedman’s diary – a Dutch-born Scottish soldier who was involved in a military expedition to fight the runaway slaves in Suriname at the end of the 18th century, a Dutch colony at the time.

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