Recently, as part of an academic assignment at school, I was engaged
in an intellectual debate with a few colleagues. We were seeking
answers to the roots of Africa´s problems. It was an interesting
discussion for me. Shockingly, the majority of my colleagues
subscribed to the idea that the major cause of Africa´s
social-political and economic problems was the legacy left behind by
the colonial masters. As far as they were concerned, the colonialists
ruined Africa for good. For the records, they had some strong
arguments to support their claims. I do not intend to go into that.
Africa is known as the problem continent. And indeed, the problems are
legion- Poverty, diseases, famine, poor leadership, religious
conflicts, ethnic clashes and corruption are a few of them. With each
passing day, the problems increase. For long, the economic and social
underdevelopment of the African nation has been blamed on white
colonialists who exploited the land and left Africa bare. Up till now,
the blame game continues.
Africans are usually quick to blame most of its problems on the evils
of colonialism. We sometimes blame the violence on the borders
colonialists created that ignored ethnicity. Many African nations have
been independent for four decades. If colonial borders were a major
problem, how come they haven't changed them?
Colonialism cannot explain Third World poverty. Some of today's
richest countries are former colonies, such as the United States,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Some of today's poorest countries were never colonies, such as Ethiopia, Liberia, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. The colonialism argument is simply a cover-up for African dictators and people.
For as long as Africans keep bickering about the past without focusing
on the future, the African people will continue to suffer. Pointing
fingers at the colonial masters won't change the fact that the
majority of people in Africa are living and dying in horrible
conditions. The Europeans colonized Africa about 400 years ago. Right
now, Africans are in trouble because they cannot manage their own
problems. Instead of brainstorming and finding solutions to its
numerous social and economic problems, the people hold out a begging
bowl to the west in one hand, while punishing the remaining white
people in the land with the other. (Does Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe and
the Zimbabweans come to mind?)
We are responsible for our problems, but we prefer to blame others rather than to take a good look in the mirror. Fine, the colonialists were a bunch of greedy no-gooders, but if truths must be told, the
self-interest of early colonialists pales in comparison to the
personal greed of African leaders today. Those who blame Africa's
problems on colonialism must not forget that the experience was not
unique to Africa. Generally, the Asian countries that also experienced
colonialism are doing fairly well. So what has Africa, or to be more
precise, its leaders, been doing for the past 40 years?
What Africa needs is a lot of self-criticism. The fact that Africa
breeds and worships figures like Mugabe, because of their own
anti-white racism is disheartening. It's incredible that any white
sends aid to Africa when Africans are anti-white racists.
You can't solve Africa's problems until the lies are all stripped away
and you start comparing yourself to say Taiwan. Taiwan is not white,
yet they have made amazing progress. They made this progress by
managing their economy properly, and by working hard.
We need to strip away the black ideology that says that whites didn't
do anything other than enslave blacks and are rich because of the
exploitation of blacks. Taiwan didn't get rich because of that. So why
do Africans think that that's how whites got rich?
And blacks enslaved blacks too; it's part of human history everywhere.
So why isn't Africa rich due to the enslavement of themselves?
Were Africans better off under colonial administration than the
despots who replaced them? Most African countries have had their
independence for over three decades, yet, the report card our leaders
have shown us are wars, famine and gross corruption. While it may be
argued that Britain and other European countries did us more harm than
good in colonizing us, it is high time we faced reality and realized
that we are the architects of our own destiny. We need to choose what
is good and bad, what future we want, and whether colonialism took us
closer to what we want.
It's time we as Africans took responsibility for our troubles and
stopped trying to guilt-trip the West into accepting responsibility
for our problems. Since time immemorial, there have been empires- even
African. These empires have always left great damage in their wake,
but such damage is rectified through rebuilding and hard work, but not
by laying blames and casting aspersions. As long as we look back in
history to blame our troubles on the colonial masters, Africa will
continually be the backward continent the whole world believes we are.
To turn around the fortunes of Africa, it will take work and vision.
And so Africa, enough with the blame games. Let´s shut up, re-examine
ourselves, go back to the drawing board, rectify our mistakes and move
on with our lives.