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Let Us Rescue Our Africa?

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By Sunny Awhefeada

There is a video that has been making the rounds. It has been forwarded to me again and again to the extent that I have lost count of how many times I have received it.

Part of the message contained in the video by a White speaker to a European audience reads, “sub-Saharan Africa has been fundamental to the global prosperity of the advanced countries and Africa has a role to play as a raw material producer.

We will not allow sub-Saharan Africa to escape that. We will do everything to keep sub-Saharan Africa where it is also impoverished. It is absolutely vital to the prosperity of everyone else. So let us get it clearer…”

Each viewing of the video not only exposes the hideous and heinous agenda of the developed world against Africa, but also provokes anger as to how Africa has also self-subverted herself.

The speaker, by his cadence and facial expression, appears happy with the Western agenda against an entire continent with a population of nearly 1.5 billion people. Sounding exultant, the speaker emphasizes the compelling necessity of holding down Africa, impoverishing her and grounding her industrially in order for the Western world to remain prosperous.

Simply, put his discourse re-echoes Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. It is depictive of the well programmed economic war against Africa the continent with a population that is more than that of Europe and North America combined.

With her teeming and resourceful population, innumerable mineral resources, rivers, vast arable land, favourable climate, sunshine and other natural resources, Africa remains the bastion of survival for humanity. Sadly, the African experience has been that of an endless predicament since the Transatlantic Slave Trade that lasted from the 16th to the 19th century.

Before that unfortunate episode, Africa enjoyed a glorious heritage that boasted of some of the world’s most ancient and dynamic civilizations. The civilizations of Egypt, Kush, Aksum, Nok, etc. gave the world much of its knowledge in philosophy, religion, mysticism, sciences, medicine, architecture, engineering, arts and culture and more.

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The African genius gave the world some of the greatest military strategists before the modern era and Hannibal of Carthage stood out as a model of martial ingenuity. It was that Africa that David Diop’s grandmother “sings on the banks of the distant river”.

Growing up in Evwreni, I heard reverberations of that Africa reading Gladys Casely-Hayford, Dennis Osadebay, Sedar Senghor, Birago Diop, among others as enabled by Donatus Nwoga’s West African Verse. Evwreni was then an ideal African setting where we lived the motifs and imageries invoked by Senghor and company.

The flowing rivers and streams were clean, the forests were primordial and sang to us, the mysterious drums throbbed at midnight, the rains came when they should and the sun shone. We looked forward to the harmattan which heralded another year. We grew all that we ate and the destabilizing influence of modern capitalism was not part of our existence. We lived Camara Laye’s The African Child.

The Africa celebrated by our writers and the negritude philosophers was the Africa of the great empires of the Western Sudan. Ghana, Mali, Songhai number among them.

It was that Africa from where the greatest pilgrimage to Mecca was made by Mansa Musa. It was that Africa that boasted of the University of Sankore and the poet El Saheli. It was that Africa that gave the world the empires of Ashanti, Wollof, Mandike, Kanem-Bornu, Benin, Oyo, among others. Civilizations and empires rise and fall and so it was for Africa.

Africa was invaded, conquered and despoiled. The Arabs and the Europeans took turns to ravage Africa. Slavery and colonialism took their toll on the continent for centuries. The outcry that greeted the inhumanity of slavery made Europe to replace it with colonialism.

Africa became a continent to be shared among European powers. That act has become documented as the scramble and partitioning of Africa. It took place in Berlin between 1884 and 1885 at the instance of Otto von Bismarck. From thence the exploitation of Africa got legitimized. Africa’s resources were shipped to Europe and that was what sustained her Industrial Revolution.

Africa stirred in the 1940s and embarked on the quest for independence.

The experience of Africans who fought side by side Europeans during World War II made it apparent for the former to understand that the latter were not superior. Boosted by pan-Africanism especially after its 1945 conference in Manchester, young Africans took on the gauntlet for the liberation of the continent.

Incorporated in the struggle was cultural nationalism embedded in poetry and the negritude movement. Across Africa, the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Odinga Odinga, Kenneth Kaunda, among others, all insisted that Africa must be free. Ghana under Nkrumah became the first African nation to free herself from colonial bondage in March 1957. Nkrumah told the world that “the independence of Ghana is tied to the total liberation of Africa”. True to his words, he goaded Guinea to independence from France in 1959 and by 1960 eighteen African countries celebrated uhuru.

To galvanize Africa on the path of progress, consolidate her unity and free her from neo-colonial influences, the early leaders formed the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. Those pioneer leaders were well educated, well read and ideologically conditioned. They had a vision for Africa and they worked tirelessly for the evolution of the continent.

However, the bug of tenacity of office bit them and that tendency became the chink in their armour. Many of them saw their offices in the mould of traditional chieftaincies and sought to perpetuate themselves in office even when their people thought they should go.

That phenomenon coupled with corruption led the continent into the dark alley of coups and military rule in less than six years after independence. What followed were civil wars which decimated the continent.

The soldiers had a long stay in power and they turned out to be the continent’s Achilles heel. Poorly educated, the soldiers became tools in the hands of Western powers who had watched the patriotic and revolutionary strides of the independence leaders in consternation. The bumbling soldiers became pawns to Western hegemons who shoved down unpalatable economic policies down the African throat.

Afflicted politically and economically, the continent had to contend with draught, famine, poverty, wars and other natural disasters. There were moments of hope, but such were like flashes that didn’t last.

The examples of Murtala Mohammed, Thomas Sankara and Jerry Rawlings that many thought would put Africa on the right path could not be sustained.

As the last century drew to a close, many had thought that the magical year 2000 would bring Africa everything good. That year came and left Africa where she was. Sixty-three years after Africa’s year of independence, twenty-three years into the present millennium,

Africa remains stranded in the past. The coup culture is looming again and we now have a coup belt straddling the continent. The world has moved on. So, what happened to our beloved Africa?

The reality of Africa today is that of a continent still strangulated by Western conspiracy given fillip by her comprador elite. The African elite continue to take our wealth to Europe.

Our youths are also fleeing to Europe in droves. The message of that video says it all. Africa’s development has been arrested. France extorts 500 billion dollars from her former African colonies annually. The rain has beaten Africa for too long.

But should we fold our arms and continue to lament? Africa must act! Let us reborn African liberation and free Africa again.

This time the freedom of Africa shall be forever. We must not allow its truncation again. Africa shall survive!

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