This is the second mode of production in human history/development but the first exploitative mode in which slaves were the major means of production.

People who owned nothing i.e. the “haves not” became slaves and those who had surplus production i.e. the “haves” became slave masters

Slavery is a situation whereby a person is owned by another person as the instrument of production and has no any right.

Slaves were not paid, they were given things like food which could help them to live and they were prohibited to marry. Some of the societies in Africa that passed through this mode of production include the Coast of East Africa and Egypt.

Explain The Reasons For The Abolition Of Slave Trade The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade The Abolition Of The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade

“In Africa there were few slaves and certainly no epoch of slavery” (Walter Rodney, 2001:38)

This is the first exploitative mode of production which was pre-dominantly existed in the areas with strong Islamic influences. Here a person became an absolute Property of another man.

Slaves dominated/controlled by slave masters. It should be noted that many African societies transformed directly from primitive communalism to feudalism as a result slave mode was not well developed. It was highly practiced in Egypt, Slavesbuilt pyramids.

Slavery was the second mode of production in the history of mankind; slaverywas the first exploitative mode through which man passed.

In Africa several societies had some elements of this mode including, the Coast of East Africa, Egypt and Zimbabwe. Most of the scholars including Walter Rodney (2001:38) believed that there was no epoch of slavery iii Africa.

Elements of African slavery disqualified it to be the complete mode of production as how it existed in other societies like European and Asian societies.


1. It was exploitative mode of Production – slaves were the victims in this mode as they were badly exploited by the slave masters.

Slaves had no any right, they had to work without payment and they were treated like commodities, they were chained, paraded and branded.

2. It involved the existence of classes – Two classes of people existed: slaves and that of the slave masters. The slave masters were above the slaves as far as the economy was concerned.

3. There was slight improved level of science and technology – man was in progress in terms of productive forces if compared to primitive communalism.

4. There was surplus production – slaves used in production

5. No equality – because classes and exploitation existed among the people.

6. Presence of the private ownership of the major means of production – the major means of production owned by the slave masters including the slaves.

Explain The Reasons For The Abolition Of Slave Trade The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade The Abolition Of The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade


1. Slaves were used to take care of the elders of the slave masters.

2. Slaves performed domestic activities such as fetching water, cooking and cleaning.

3. Slaves provided labour in farms and took care of the animals.

4. Slaves were used as watchmen and gate keepers.

5. Slaves provide labour in public works such as construction building roads, mining

6. Slaves were used to carry loads for traders and rulers as they moved from place to place.

7. Slaves served in the military to strengthening the army


The followingfactors reveal that there was no epoch of slavery in Africa;

1. In Africa There Were Few Slaves Even where Elements of Slavery Existed.

Existence of few slaves disqualified such elements to be called the mode of production. Few slave holding societies involved Egypt, Zimbabwe and the Coast of East Africa.

2. Only Few Parts of Africa had Elements of Slavery.

Elements of slavery existed in Egypt, Morocco, Zimbabwe and the Coast of East Africa. Most of Africa like South Africa had no slavery.

3. African Slaves Were Used for Domestic Activities.

In a slave mode of production slaves should work in various productive activities, contrary to African slavery where slaves were used for domestic activities.

4. Slavery in Africa did not develop from Within the Societies.

A mode of production should develop from within the society contrary to African slavery where slaves were just war captives from neighboring societies.

5. Elements of Slavery in Africa Existed the Moment when Feudalism was Stronger. So; therewas no any time when slavery became the dominant mode.

6. African Slaves Qualified to become Society Members after Staying for a Long Time. Some of them could be married by their masters and some slaves could marry from their masters’ families.


The Following are the reasons showing clearly that the pre-colonial Africa did not develop slave as mode of production:-

1. Slavery Existed in Few Parts of Africa as an Institution and not as a Mode of Production.

These areas were In Zanzibar; where by slavery existed after Sultan Seyyid Said shifted his capital from Muscat-Oman to Zanzibar in 1840, so slaves were taken from Central and East Africa to perform various activities or tasks in Zanzibar island like domestic activities such as cooking, mopping, fetchingwater, keeping gates (watch), taking care of elders and children and others offered labour in cloves and coconut plantations.

In Egypt; where by slaves were taken from western Sudan and forest areas toperform various activities during Pharaoh’s regime (Period)(rule), these activities were such as constructingcanals, making calendar, building tombs, performing variousdomestic activities.

Maghreb societies (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria); slaves were taken from various parts of Western Africa And Northern East Africa to perform various activities in Maghreb societies, for example they were taken to offer their labour in Agriculture like palm dates and domestic activities.

2. Slavery Co-Existed together with Feudalism in Many Parts of Africa. In Africa slave mode of production was not noted as the mode of production simply because the only mode of production in those areas was feudalism for example in Zanzibar the mode of production was feudalism however slavery also existed there.

3. In Pre -Colonial African Societies there was no Slave Masters or Class of Slave Masters.

This was which showed clearly that the mode of production existed in pre -colonial Africansocieties were not slavery and rather it was feudalism.

4. The level of development of productive forces used during the transition from primitive to feudalism.

This also showed that the slavery (Slave mode of production) did not exist in Africa for example some societies which were in transition to feudalism decided to use hoe to cultivate on the land which showed as the mode of production existed was feudalism based on land ownership.

5. The cruel exploitation of slaves and ruthlessness and oppression done by the save masters to slaves.

This led the slaves to revolt against the slave masters hence slaves became free from being controlled by the slave masters this led to the collapse of slavery (slave mode of production).

6. The Slave owners (slave maters) with vast number of slaves were not interested in including the tools of production.

They continued to use the old productive forces which automatically led to the collapseof slave mode of production.

7. The constant military campaigns led to the number of slaves to drop down and the prices to get slaves increased.

This led slave masters to fail to continue with this mode of production (slavery).


It reached a stage when slavery disintegrated and paved the way for the next mode. There were some issues which influenced disintegration of the slavemode of production including the change in productive forces.

Improvement of productive forces influenced the change of a mode ofproduction; slaves were tired of this system and demanded freedom. Another thing was the increase of slave revolts; the slave revolts were expensive to put down, they led to destruction of properties.

Such violence caused the slave masters to provide freedom to slaves hence the changeof relation of production and a modeof production at all.


The Major factors for the decline of slavery and the emergenceof feudal mode of production were as follows:-

1. Improvement of productive forces during the slavery; changed the social and technical relation of production and geared to the decline of slave mode of production and therise of feudalism.

2. Existence of class struggle in slavery. The series of slaves uprising against the masters at the end of the day led to collapse of slave mode of productionand hence emergence of feudalism.

3. The Failure of the productive forces to correspond with social and technical relational production (relation of production). According to Karl Marx (1818-1883) pointed out that if productive forces and social and technical relation of production in a certain mode of production are not going hand in hand with the existing mode of production then such modeof production will collapse and pave a way to another modeof production.

4. Slaves lacked interest in labour; they frequently destroyed the equipment of production owned by slave masters hence slavery collapsed.

5. The cruel exploitation of slaves and ruthlessness and oppression done bythe save masters to slaves led the slaves to revolt against the slave masters hence slaves became free from being controlled by the slavemasters this led to the collapseof slavery(slavemode of production).

6. The Slave owners (slave maters) with vast number of slaves were not interested in including the tools of production; they continued to use the old productive forces which automatically led to the collapse of slavemode of production.

7. The constant military campaigns led to the number of slaves to drop down and the prices to get slaves increased this led slave masters to fail to continue with this modeof production (slavery).


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