Biram dah Abeid is from Mauritania. Hisgrandparents were slaves and when his grandmother was pregnant, the master fell ill and was advised that he would feel better if he freed one of his slaves. The master didn’t want to lose a slave of working age, and chose to emancipate the foetus. So it was that Biram’s father was born free – into a family of slaves. Biram himself has spent his whole life campaigning – at great risk – against slavery in Mauritania, where it is still very much a live issue.