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.
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
Here is a question I read in a philosophy handbook on morals:
Question: John is a moral philosophy student and he believes in moral relativism. His professor, who believes in moral absolutism didn’t like John so he failed him in an exams though John got good grades. Is John right to be angry or to protest the assessment of his paper?
Answer: All beliefs are personal convictions and personal convictions should not have a place in professional/academic relationships. John was supposed to be assessed based on the absolute merit (rightness or wrongness) of the answers he gave in the exams and not based on his personal beliefs.
I find this scenario very interesting because I think we all encounter it daily in human organisational systems. It’s like saying: Mr. A, believes he can live without breathing in oxygen. If Mr. B suffocates him and he faints, has Mr. B been immoral?
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.
When a common person on the street steals a bottle of palmwine or a few fingers of plantain he can receive up to two years prison sentence – even if he did it because he was hungry. Now if the law can be applied equally across board so that corrupt public servants are also prosecuted the same way and handed two years sentence, I honestly believe Ghana will change for the better. The new government is introducing the special prosecutor’s bill (Office of Special Prosecutor) and I honestly hope this office succeeds in prosecuting the bigger thieves and doesn’t become politicised. Presumably, this office is being introduced because the Attorney General’s department is highly politicised and is in murky waters.
At the moment the most corrupt people in Ghana are public servants. The politicians and their ministers are just a tip of the iceberg. They steal and steal and steal and whenever there is a change in government, they clandestinely set their offices ablaze in order to destroy documentary evidence of any financial crimes. Sometimes instead of facing the law when accused of corruption, bribery or theft and even if evidence is provided, public servants are simply transfered to another department or ministry so that they can continue to steal. The public accounts commitee hearings is a waste of time and effort. Because though the committee is ascribed the powers of a high court it has not succeeded in prosecuting anyone.
The entire system condones thievery and all the vices you can think of and ironically the most guilty walk about freely. You have to be a crafty criminal before you can succeed in this country. Recently many common people who have served various years were released from prison. Why? Because it was found out that their cases never went through trial. Why then were they in prison? Because they had no lawyer to defend them and the detective just dumped them in prison (on remand) and went back to business. The worst part is most people in the society don’t see anything wrong with this chicken and goat justice system, where the same offence, having same technicalities, can have two contrasting legal outcomes depending on one’s status in society.
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.
The capitalist will offer any gift to his labourers except the gift of freedom from the bridle. It was not the intention of the slave buying nation to grant citizenship to the slaves after bringing them to the new world. The intention was to put them to work until they died.
Citizenship and equal rights was granted (in principle) as a last resort. The founders contradicted themselves through the preamble of the constitution by claiming that “All men are created equal” and this made them feel guilty. Abolition of slavery was a test of the human conscience. The truth is they don’t want you there. Any wonder that they shoot and kill black people for no real reason.
When a white leader oppresses or imprisons a black man without moral justification or without due process of law, the black man is simply asked to forgive but if a black leader oppresses or imprisons a white man, they rally all the European people in the world and demand compensation for the oppressed whites. They consider their lives worth thrice a black person’s life.
Meanwhile the neo-colonialists continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that Ian Smith’s racist government stole lands, killed many native Africans and imprisoned Robert Mugabe for 11 years during which his son died. Maybe we are a foolish people, but the world must acknowledge the black race’s capacity to forgive – as Soyinka has said earlier.
On this occasion of the celebration of the African Union Day, I’m asking them where is the union? There is more trade between Africa and Europe than among African countries. Movement is also restricted with bureaucratic immigration procedures because African Leaders don’t trust each other. So where the hell is the union they are talking about?