In my family’s compound there were two slave families, and they had been there for at least three generations. The last thing they wanted to hear was that they had to go. Officially these people were only servants. But they wanted it known—to other Africans, and to poor Arabs and Indians—that they were really slaves. It wasn’t that they were proud of slavery as a condition; what they were fierce about was their special connection with a family of repute. They could be very rough with people they considered smaller fry than the family.