Distant Relatives – #BlogFest

Happy new month friends. We should be grateful. If you think you have nothing to be thankful for then just think about every other beings that have been caught and lost their lives in the terror held region all over the world, you are not better or wiser than them, neither are you more important but His grace kept you. Whatever it is you feel you didn’t achieve this year or you feel you are meant to have passed a particular stage, just remember that God makes everything beautiful In His own time. Stay strong and keep at whatever you are doing. You will soon receive that miracle that sounds like a lie.

It’s the last month in the year 2014, Thanks to you for being a part of this #BlogFest – #50DaysCountDownTo2015 . Today we on DAY 31. Written by Adedeji Aderounmu, He blogs at coolestblognameever.wordpress.com. Please do use the comment box. Thanks

DISTANT RELATIVES; TRACK 13

There is a book that has been making the rounds in recent times. It talks about how ‘Europe Underdeveloped Africa ’ and it was written by Walter Rodney. I haven’t read it and I don’t intend to. It is a predictable book; it will probably talk about how Europe used missionaries to infiltrate Africa and manipulate us with religion or how Europe poached Africa’s resources for its own development or how the colonialists divided Africa up like friends sharing pizza or how European nations continues to work behind the scenes to influence events on the Dark Continent. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I think its okay to judge this one by its title. I will not read this book because I think it misses the point entirely; at best it will end up being an insightful read about African history and at worst it will breed more resentment towards our colonial masters. The real problem with Africa is Africans and any attempt to distract us from the role we play in our present state of ‘shittiness’ is just another attempt to shift blame and wallow in our self-pity.

Like Mr. Rodney surely did, let us go back to the beginning. Africa used to be called The Dark continent back when the Sub-Saharan region was unexplored. The use of the term has declined significantly and is even now considered politically incorrect because of its racist connotations. I like calling Africa the Dark Continent though, mainly because our skin is dark and there is no light. Europeans infiltrated Africa and while they met a semblance of civilization in some regions, most of the Dark Continent was occupied by barbaric tribes who were in constant conflict with one another. Like any system, the lack of social cohesion made it easy for Africa to be conquered physically and psychologically. Whether by religion or by force the Europeans took control. The question I have always asked is: what were Africans doing when the white man was taking over our lands and enslaving us? We definitely couldn’t fight; our bronze swords and leather shields were no match for bayonets and gun powder. This leads to another question: What were we doing when our white mates were inventing cannons and ships to sail to our shores? These questions have often sounded simplistic to me but I have been unable to find satisfactory answers. I don’t know if this is because they are rhetorical or because the answers mean I have to accept that Africans are, or were, intellectually inferior.

The white man was more powerful and he used that power to his advantage. This is normal human behaviour. The illusion of egalitarianism is just that, an illusion. Also, at that time in history, the gospel of equality we preach today must have sounded like idealistic nonsense. Any sane person who is in power does not want to relinquish it and they will surely use it to make themselves better than the weak. The error people make is to assume that human beings are set to be good by default. It is naïve to expect that the powerful white man would not use his power to take advantage of obtuse Africans who were willing to betray their kin for trinkets. They took us as slaves and when that became uncool, they cut us up into countries and enslaved us in a totally different manner. But something happened. They let us go to school and we learnt what freedom was. Fortunately for us, it was becoming more and more uncool to enslave people even in the watered-down form they called Colonialism, so they left us alone. They gave us Independence and we danced in the streets. But what have we done with it?

Africans complain that they never chose their countries, that the white man lumped different random tribes into geographical and political units for his own gain. We say the white man brought religion and divided us, that he destroyed our history and identity, that he took our dignity when he enslaved us. The question is; what has Africa done about it? Are we not smart enough to break the chain? Are we too barbaric to co-exist in peace just because we have different origins? Do we even have the right ideals that could make us a great continent? Are we going to restore our dignity by screaming #MadeOfBlack and ‘Black is Beautiful’ or by taking action to become the things these ideals represent? How can we claim to be puppets when our problems are of our own making? Blaming the West for our choice to remain mentally enslaved is like blaming the person in power for taking advantage of your weakness; it will only bring moral victories and like the inimitable Jay-Z said “ moral victories is for Minor League coaches” . The truth is Africa’s biggest problem is the systemic Corruption which has crippled growth and development across the continent. Corruption that, like a metastatic cancer, sprung up from the failure of internal control mechanisms, spread to different organs of the body leading to progressive multi-organ failure and eventual death. We complain about racism but we are probably the most tribalistic race on the planet. That we are constantly engaged in debates or civil wars that centre around ethnic differences because we cannot co-exist peacefully is a pointer to another one of our self-inflicted problems. We cannot blame these problems on the white man. We are responsible for ourselves and nobody owes us anything. We say the foreign media depicts us as a continent in chaos as if we don’t realize that bad news sells faster and these bodies have agendas of their own. Nobody will report bad news that does not exist and a microphone cannot amplify in the absence of sound. In the same vein, nobody will pander to us because we have refused to grow up. It is our fault our continent is the way it is. Our fault.

If we want to play at the highest level, we have to stop expecting the people at the top to pull us up. The climb is ours to make, alone. The strong always controls the narrative. Africans must decide whether we are content with the role of conflicted puppet who swears that he is as smart as his master but doesn’t know how to exist without him. We cannot continue to play the victim and expect to be treated as equals.

The title of this article is ‘Africa Must Wake Up’ from the classic Distant Relatives album by Nas and Damian Marley.

On second thought, maybe I will read Mr. Rodney’s book. Just for the sake of it.

 

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