My mother used to say that, ‘’mele xoxo kple meva fifia wome sor oo’’. Literally lending credence to the idiom ‘’the early bird catches the worm’’. Whiles we in Africa were relaxed trying to build our kingdoms from territories nearby, the people from the other side of the Atlantic saw a huge opportunity in the land we occupied.
Needless to say, they also had their own problems especially with institutions, industrialization, governance (Nazism in Germany, the French revolution) etc. But they packed bag and baggage and set sail, so many miles across the ocean, to another man’s land.
The history of the European invasion of Africa has been well documented and it will be plainly cosmetic to do so now. What we in Africa fail to realize is that the Europeans; before their inroads in Africa; had similar problems, if not worse, as we experience today. The plain audacity, attention for detail and relentless nature of the white man’s seizure of the black man’s land is what has quintessentially set them apart from us even till today.
The headline of the European sojourn in Africa was economics – in other words, trade but it was so well orchestrated that so many other aspects of life like religion, education and even culture were interwoven into the colonial architecture so much so that they continue to influence us even after independence.
Did the black man go to sleep after independence? In my opinion, the answer is a big No. Africa had never been asleep but did not have a levelled playing field to rub shoulders with the West since its natural and human resource have well been exploited before modern times. What the white man had done to the African is analogous to breaking a healthy man’s legs and offering him crutches and in turn criticizing him for not making the best efforts to use the crutches.
The existence of organizations such as the United Nations with Russia(carved from the Soviet Union), Britain(United Kingdom), France, People’s Republic of China and the United States as its permanent members – better known as the superpowers – is a classic example of the white man’s undue influence over us. The allegations of European involvement in the overthrow of prominent African leaders can be cited as well. It is instructive to note that such allegations were not made in a vacuum as has been recently proven by the French involvement in the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo. The worst of the scenarios is the West’s determination of commodity prices on the international market. Most, if not all of these commodities were produced in Africa to feed industries in the West.
The discrimination of the black man all over the world with the relegation of same people to the level of the ‘’guys who must do the donkey work’’ is utterly distasteful. Africa deserves better than that! They let us believe that we have monstrous leaders whiles they looked on for President George W. Bush and his America to wage war against some parts the Middle East particularly Iraq, destroying whole towns and cities with innocent men and women, with the clandestine intention of avenging the September Eleven attacks and wiping out terrorist better known as enemy combatants. The world has been silent for far too long!
I have exhausted much paper on the roots of Africa’s quandary hence the non-provision of solutions will render my views parochial.
To me, the panacea to Africa’s dilemma can be found in the very cause of our setbacks. The white man has succeeded so well in frustrating the African that even our fundamental ideals are gone. The mere fact that I am expressing my thoughts in the Queen’s language defeats the very purpose of my article. Therefore, I am of the view that Africa has an opening in the tactics of beating the white man to his own game. What I propose has long been suggested and, in fact, is being advocated for by such persons as the learned Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare in his calls for the recognition of the rights of dual-citizens in holding certain key positions in Ghana.
I agree with the learned professor and would consequently propose the broadening of this scope to the rest of Africa. African countries will do themselves a lot of good if they strategically position themselves to tap into the rich experience of their folks that have spent some amount of time with the white man. I do not suggest that the white man is better than the black man. In fact, no human irrespective of color, race or social status is better than another. But today’s world with the advent of smart phones, automatic cars, airplanes and drones, online businesses and what have you – is the white man’s world and there is nothing Africa or the black man can do about it.
What we need to do, from the way I see things, is to embrace the challenge and churn out more professionals and academicians in all fields of endeavor who can match Europeans boot for boot. Africa, as a matter of fact, must lure its citizens from the white man’s land to come back with that energy and aptitude to transform the motherland. A locus classicus of my proposition can be seen from leaders like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Nnamdi Azikwe and Nelson Mandela who were able to fight for African independence just because they could think and relate with the white man as well as their fellow Africans.
For Africa, the true test will be the ability to have one eye on the future – perfectly mimicking the white man and tracing his steps to the point where we are some steps ahead of them but also keeping the other eye on the past in order to safeguard our culture and identity as a people. This is a daunting task but if Africa will succeed, the pessimism of the intellect must be tempered with the optimism of the will.
(firstname.lastname@example.org) KNUST - KUMASI, GHANA
LAND ECONOMY 2