January 1, 2010

White men in Africa


One of my colleagues sent me an article written in Thisday Newspapers about a certain writer's first impression on his first visit to Johannesburg. Here is an extract from the article – (written by one Joe Igbokwe)


"What I am saying is that if God had allowed the whites to tarry for at least 30 years more in Nigeria, we would have been better for it. Mandela survived 27 years in prison. He could not have survived ten years in prison in Nigeria".


Here is my colleague's comment:

"There are only two errors in the letter. The RSA never killed citizens, but there were causalities in maintaining law and order. Secondly, it was not the white man who performed; it was the Boer: for the Italians, French, Germans, Portuguese, Dutch, British and Greeks all left Africa.


Thirdly, it is wishful thinking if you think the Italians, French, Germans, Portuguese, Dutch, British and Greeks will continue to dump cash into the 'Heart of Darkness'.  Oh the horror --- the horror!!!"



This is racism. Racism is to believe that a particular group or race is inherently superior to others. Wiki Dictionary: Racism -
Racism is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial difference produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.


The writer of this article is wrong. Injustice in any guise is injustice. No matter what apparent good results from it. Otherwise we would be worshipping the devil as well. Of course law and order should be protected and sometimes lives are lost in that process. But the point is not self preservation or even the preservation of the will of a few against the agitation of the rest for an equality which they are now aware of and which is naturally available to all human beings.


Development, enlightenment, civilization and political advancement are always costly endeavours. Every thinker all through the ages in every part of the world has had to pay a prize for his progress. Nations must be allowed to work out their own systems as it is suited to their needs.


Granted it is often through the eyes of a stranger that opportunities are seen. Locals soon become accustomed to the routine and progressively to the mundane local conditions in which they live. But that does not and should not grant a right to the "stranger" to oppress or claim superiority over the rest. This principle is, in my opinion, the major reason why the USA is and has been the harbinger of ideas and renewal to the rest of the world. Everyone is a stranger and every stranger is a citizen there. Even the Native Americans have a well documented history showing there Asian origins.


Who says the west is dumping money into the heart of darkness. Business is not for charity. No entrepreneur will invest in any system where he intends to make no profit in any case. No foreign aid is a hand out. And no rational politician should expect such. African politicians should give up on greed and self seeking and do something for the public good and for posterity. Fortunately statesmen have begun to arise out of Africa in this area.

What impoverishes a nation and a people throughout history are:

a.       Lack of an appropriate belief and value system (dishonesty, greed etc)

b.      Lack of learning (education, record keeping etc)

c.       Lack of recognition for individual enterprise

 Africa would have to rise up and fend for itself. The West needs Africa as much as Africa needs the West. It must be a give and take relationship. African leadership must decide what exactly it wants from the West and what it has to bring to the table, then it (Africa) has to bargain from that point. Asking for handouts is a no brainer. There is strictly and simply no such thing in general. And the only thing Africa has got is not just the gold and the oil. Neither can Africa make it by simply selling gold and oil.


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