I get the impression that many people didn’t know about Africa prior to colonialism. They knew almost nothing of the people, of the land and of the vegetation and of the mineral resources. So they accept whatever was told them by western explorers who skewed the history of Africa to justify the exploitation of the continent. The colonialists claim that they brought “civilization” to Africa. That, they did Africans a favour by transporting some to the Americas etc. How is putting people in chains and whipping them a favour? The indigenous African was free and happy in his little hut before slave trade and slavery.
Today the world speaks of food security in Africa but none seem to know precolonial Africa had food security. Our ancestors had huge barns full of yams and maize and they had livestock as well. Each man, woman and sometimes child had their own farm, so nutritious food was available year round. They never asked for foreign aid or grants or loans.
Today the world speaks of technology and inventiveness but Africa had indigenous inventions such as the kente weaving loom, gold weighs, farming implements or the marimba etc. These were invented more than 1000 years before colonialism. The inventors did not see any prototype from Europe. I’m not even sure Europe had those inventions at the time.
The world speaks of eco houses as a symbol of civility and refinement but our ancestors lived in eco houses (made of clay, bamboo and straw) long before the word “eco” was invented. How then can European colonizers say they brought civilization to Africa? They brought slavery. Today when I see international government organisations and charities claiming to teach Africans how to build houses, farm, trade or make fabric, I say to my own heart what happened to us? I think the real colonialisation of Africa began after “independence.”
Finally, some may ask: “So what’s the way forward?” There is no way forward except the European way. The only other way is to go backward and select a traditional African development model, compatible with what indigenous Africans already know and practice.
Concerning my second poetry book (“Blackman’s Sorrow and Other Poetry”), which is available on Amazon and other online book stores, someone asked me what I meant by “Blackman.” He was of the view that Africans in the Diaspora consider it offensive to be refered to as “Black.” In America, it’s African American, in Britain it’s Black British. In France, French African (I think). In China or Korea, I will assume it’s African Chinese or African Korean. All this is hogwash. If you’re Black (irrespective of nationality or mother tongue etc.) you’re African. period. You carry a powerful genetic design unique to Africa.
Now concerning the book, by “Black” I do not mean literal or absolute black. I haven’t seen anyone as black as charcoal as yet. All humans with darker skin pigmentation – from light to dark brown are collectively called “Black”. It’s not derogatory. It’s descriptive. “Negro” is different. Negro carries with it the memories of the brutality of slavery. I do understand that it can hurt the feelings but that’s all it is – feelings. The word “Ghetto” originated with the Jews but do you hear any Jew complaining about it?
The point is, I don’t think if people stopped calling African Americans “Black” or “negro,” they will have equal rights and justice and progress. Black People should rise above trifles (name calling etc) and focus on the pertinent realities of their existence. Also, let’s learn from experience. Black professors and teachers should get out there and help educate black communities. Only then can the dream of equality, justice and black progress begin to take shape. It begins with education.
I promised to make some of Kwame Nkrumah’s ebooks available to some of you. The links are at the end of this post. When Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966 many of his books were burnt so most Africans haven’t likely read him. His name appears in the Internet Encyclopeadia of Philosophy as a panAfrican thinker who was first to define “neo-colonialism”. In “Consciencism” Nkrumah traces the history of philosophy from Thales through to Aristotle and makes a brilliant defence of where African philosophy fits. Below are some of Nkrumah’s books. I have also added other books which I think will help readers understand the African existential problem better. “Lumumba’s Last Days” chronicles a series of events that led to the arrest and execution of Congo’s first prime minister. This happened in the full glare of United Nations which did nothing to save Lumumba.
In “The Dual Mandate” and “The East Africa Protectorate”, the European authors present Africa as a big zoo, where humans mingle indistinguishably with wild animals and their job as colonialists was to bring “civilization” to these “savages.” The question arises: “What is the purpose of the life of the African if everything he does today is to serve neocolonial interests?” Our history, culture, language, identity, art, philosophy etc has been wiped out. We only need to thank nature – the African hot and humid climate, mosquitoes and typhoid for driving away the colonialists. They would have taken over everything we owned.
I’m aware this blog has a most enlightened following so if interested, download and read the ebooks yourself. Things have not changed much in Africa today. My conclusion is that Black Africa, as a whole has no economic future if this system of affair continues and if there is no continental unity. But of course your conclusion might be different from mine after reading, in which case you may share your conclusions. Happy weekend!
1. “The Dual Mandate” by F.D. Lugard: https://app.box.com/s/7othpl63h3u43pmtw9cqv86x56f7qa33
2. “Consciencism” by Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/63jd38r6ov6uyz6322knz2bk6r1ddsez
3. “Africa Must Unite” by Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/heuvmvtbqf8t20z1sv1r4hc5zf62cg6s
4. “Axioms” of Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/r0jpqdp90a6mc3p0wkyhquw8vd10rjk3
5. “Neocoloniasm”: https://app.box.com/s/t6asodo9tjfzy93f3wa56ijxhz3z4i8l
6. “The East Africa Protectorate”: https://app.box.com/s/t062xkg7w9y0rxpgltxez6f0ohedy95h
7. “Neocolonialism – The Last Stage of Imperialism” by Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/von6ztg7q3k4h1umg0cnimycyhzutepw
8. “The Struggle Continuous” by Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/9ec6wtbnyf8rg826x6zgahsvmb6gty7x
9. “Lumumba’s Last Days”: https://app.box.com/s/prb7uqzicutzk2nqswelltoqhphezsjn
We are bleeding
Our mothers are bleeding
And so are our fathers
And with every struggle the talons
Enter deeper into our flesh
There is really nothing we can do
The youth are wayward and we
Can’t blame them
The leaders are bickering over
A bowl of banku and soup
The people cry famine
Nkrumah, Lumumba, Sankara and
Others warned us but we heeded not
They said he became a dictator
But at least we know he loved Africa.
Now Africa is just a shipwreck
– An extension of Europe
We cannot rise unless we begin
To learn and act together
We cannot rise unless we unite
Our people are being exploited
They will continue to suffer
They will continue to die
Unless we unite
We are bleeding
Africa is bleeding in the talons
of the bald eagle.
Many of you who have been following this blog for long know that the last time I advertised my books was about four years ago. This is because I feel a little awkward promoting my own books. I honestly don’t write for money. To write is to present a case and you need a judge to assess if the case has merit. One cannot be one’s own judge. But until I find a judge, I have to do the awkward job of advertising my own books.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention for a brief announcement. Are you bored? Do you want to read something new and interesting. Do you want to understand other people’s experience of life. Look no further. Buy my books. I have written three books on literature (Anthologies) and one on business management (Research). All my books have paperback and epub editions and can be found here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/tawia_tsekumah
Why should you buy my books?
1. Because you will never be bored reading my books. My books are an antidote to boredom.
2. Because listening to me complain about my life in Africa will make you feel better about yours.
3. Because my writing is honest and you will get new perspectives and insights into the common problems of our collective existence.
4. Because those who read my works said it’s funny and easy to understand and they enjoyed it.
5. Because half of the money from selling my books is donated to CWC Children’s Home, an Orphanage in Ghana. Which means you contribute to the betterment of humanity when you buy my books.
If you’re interested click this link: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/tawia_tsekumah to get a copy now. All the books you see when you click on the link are also available on other online book stores such as Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes and Noble and others.
Lastly, if you’re a literary/book agent, editor, publisher, or critic and for some reason you want to contact me, you can do so through this email: freedombooks2000[at]gmail.com
Thank you and enjoy the weekend.
The premise of the existence or nonexistence of a single supreme being as is postulated in philosophy is in, and of itself, an erroneous premise. This is why the theist against atheist arguments will continue perpetually. Pantheism has instead been relegated to the field of theology.
When asked whether there is a god, the indegenous African answers that there are spirits or forces. He does not specify whether a force is omnipresent, omniscient or omnipotent etc. This is because he believes spirit forces are metamorphous (what appears good suddenly becomes evil and vice versa) and are also associated with a particular tribe or race. The gods are brought down to the level of human understanding and they even partake in human activities. The indigenous African never conceives of or gives serious thought to the idea of an all umbrella spirit figure. He believes there could never be an all emcompassing spirit force who presides over such diverse life forms across space and time with myriad weaknesses and strengths, whose chief activities are characterised by brutal predation or the “survival of the fittest.”
To the practical mind, metaphysics cannot solve any real world problem because it is an abstract conception and when elevated to the apex it completely breaks off from reality (observable phenomena). This is why I think as long as metaphysical arguments concentrate on a single all encompassesing supreme being there will be no end or solution to those arguments. It’s like trying to tie the lose ends of something that cannot tied.
Three things make slavery in the Americas horrendous and different: (1) It was instutionalized (2) It was extremely inhumane, slaves were treated as animals (3) It was continentwide and organised. When the ship docked and the slaves were brought out in tattered clothes – men, women and children, the first thing a slave master normally does is to crash the slaves’ spirit by killing one right in front of them. That way he effectively puts a stop to their desire to reason. Reason is salvation because it tells the slave to attack his master in order earn his freedom. But as a result of crashing their spirit, for the next 400 years the slaves had to stop reasoning in order to preserve their own lives. They simply obeyed instructions. When the master needed more hands on the farm he simply put one man together with a dozen women in a shack and forced them to copulate.
Today, some try to justify slavery by arguing that it existed in Africa long before the slave trade. That may be correct but indigenous African slavery was completely different: (1) Slaves were not worked to death (2) Slaves were released upon expiration of their term of service (3) A brave slave who fought in defence of his master’s tribe could rise to become a king and (4) African slavery was not institutionalized or codified. It was a tribal affair. No slave was wilfully released or granted any rights in the west until the late 19th century. They were kept to work on the farm and were forbidden to read. A slave risks being killed for reading a book. Many people also quite unnecessarily differentiate between slavery and colonialism. Both are fueled by same motives: hegemony and exploitation. The only difference is the venue. Slavery took place away from Africa. Colonialism took place in Africa.
After the slave trade and slavery the black race lost its dignity. Today, all over the world, Africans or people of African descent are not accorded any genuine respect. It’s partly due to slavery and also due to the behaviour of some black people. In the days of slavery, they did provide clothes, shoes, a farm house, a language, a name, a religion, a culture, a god, a civilization (actually humanization according to them) and even today they continue to provide all of these including skin lightening creams etc. so in case one wanted to actually look white, one could do that. Did Africans not have a history, a culture, a language, a religion and a beautiful black skin before they arived in the new world? The black race must understand who they are, where they are from and where they are going. To do this they need to read more and with all due respect, turn the ‘reason switch’ back on.
Further reading: The works of Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Dubois etc.
Everyone is asking for peace but only few people are asking for social justice which would have made peace easier. In rural parts of the world, thousands, perhaps millions die of easily curable diseases. Where there are no disease epidemics people simply die of war, natural disasters or hunger.
Meanwhile it’s clear these issues which are on a global scale have more to do with global politics than the availability of food resources, security and medication for those who need it. There is enough for everyone if the world’s resources are to be distributed fairly. But the world has reached a stage where nothing on two legs can be trusted and justice seem to be an extinct animal.
We normally respond to social injustice with charity but I don’t think charity is the solution. Injustice begins with unjust laws and until those laws are struct out injustice will remain. Charity makes people feel better but that’s temporary. The bigger problem of selective justice remains which must be dealt with. I think dreaming of a better world without a commitment to fairness is an illusion. To me a better world means a fairer world where charity or aid is unnecessary.
In his book, “Long Walk to Freedom” Nelson Mandela narrated how a young man approached him in prison and introduced himself as a member of the ANC (African National Congress). The young man said he was sent by the ANC leadership to help him escape from prison. The plan was to bribe a few prison warders, manoeuvre to the main gate and escape through whatever means was available. Mandela said the idea was strange to him. He was probably in his 10th year in prison and had not received any message from the ANC leadership because they were being hunted down. Though he wanted to be free, he didnt trust the young ‘aid.’ He said he consulted some of the ANC members who were imprisoned together with him and they decided not to follow the young man’s plan because they didnt know him as a member.
It turned out later that the man in question was actually an agent who worked for the white minority SA secret service. The actual plan was that while they were trying to escape the guards will open fire on Mandela killing him instantly and then it will be published in the media that Mandela died while trying to escape from prision (Attempted escape is a violation of the law so they would have had a moral justification there for killing him). At the time many Black organisations in SA appealed to European nations to help end apartheid and racism but none intervened.
After 27 years in prison Mandela was still alive, reason finally prevailed and he was released and then suddenly all the white leaders started loving him. Very strange indeed, that someone whose name was on CIA classified documents as a communist and a terrorist, whom Margaret Thatcher described as a terrorist, was now welcome to tour the west, visit leaders and socialise. The truth is that they all felt guilty. They didn’t expect him to be alive. Does the reader honestly think that a white person can be a political prisoner in an African nation for that long without consequences? There, again the world cried forgiveness because Mandela was black. The lung infection that eventually killed him started in prison because he said the rooms were damp and had no windows. We must learn lessons as black people.
What’s the moral of this story? The moral of the story is threefold: (1) It’s a white man’s world, dictated by the dollar and the pound. (2) Equality does not exist in nature, but ofcourse everyone can dream of it. (3) One must not jump at quick “solutions.” One must consult people one trusts when making important decisions. If the reader must know, before Mandela was sworn in as president, all of South Africa’s advanced military weapons at the time were moved to another country in Europe because they thought he might retaliate against the whites. They didn’t believe he had truly forgiven them. Evil men are never at peace with themselves. And whoever digs a pit shall fall in it.
In conclusion, the story I presented here was in the book:”Long Walk To Freedom” written by Nelson Mandela, 1st Edition, so I’m not making anything up. Neither do I have any space in my heart for hatred. I’m a peaceful person. I don’t blame whites. I just want the world to recognise the Black race’s capacity for forgiveness.