Not Yet Uhuru

Posted by By at 7 February, at 08 : 31 AM Print

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From my archive


Neo-colonialism, after all, is not centered in a vacuum. It is built on the previous colonial history of the country in which it operates, from foundation that the colonial regime lays before its ostensible departure. The object of neo-colonialism is to ensure that power is handed to men who are moderate and easily controlled, political stooges. Everything is done to ensure that the accredited heirs of colonial interests capture power.” (Oginga Odinga, ‘Not Yet Uhuru’, Hill and Wang, New York. p.256)

The Nation has not yet found peace from its sins; the freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land. Whatever of good may have come in these years of change, the shadow of a deep disappointment rests upon the Negro people, – a disappointment all the more bitter because the unattained ideal was unbounded save by the simple ignorance of a lowly people.” (W.E.B. Du Bois, ‘The Souls of Black Folk,’ Bantam Books, p.5).

The Europeans have started to pay homage. In the month of June 1994, French President Mitterand became the first Head of State to visit Azania (South Africa). His plane has hardly taxied out of the runway before another jumbo landed with a British minister, leading a delegation of over forty company directors.

Like the true vultures they are, Europeans have smelled blood, and they are going for the kill. These men who worship nothing but gold, have found a new source, and they are doing their best to ingrate themselves to the new rulers of Azania.

As Usual, Africa is going to lose out. As usual, African leaders are charmed by the smiles and the blarney of the European flatterers. They are going to sell their country and their people short. Once more, Africa will become a victim of European strategies. Are we ever going to learn?

We hope that the new rulers of Azania will bear one simple fact in mind: Without the efforts of their African brothers, they will still be under the white minority rule today.

The majority of Europeans were contented to squirm in their liberal agonies, and make platitudes. No European nation broke off diplomatic relations with SA, and there were regular flights from most European countries to the apartheid enclave. The leaders of the ‘Free World,’ wasted precious years engaging in a (as it turned out to be) useless ‘Constructive Engagement,’ with the apartheid regime.

Several European and American multi-nationals openly breached the United Nations sanctions against the apartheid enclave. Royal Dutch Shell argued, with the usual Dutch hypocrisy, that it was helping the blacks by fueling the white regime’s military and industrial machines. Shell was taking oil from Nigeria and sending it to South Africa! Europeans firms helped the apartheid government in building its military-industrial-complexes. And while the Western nations were sanctioning other countries for attempting to build atomic and nuclear weapons, they looked the other way, while South Africa built and tested its own weapons! European youths were regularly going to South Africa to shoot a few blacks under the guise of tourism. Many of those who participated, in the most atrocious crimes of the white regime, were allowed to retain their European citizenship.

I believe that the first question President Mandela should have asked his European visitors, who were promising economic aid, was: “What have all the economic aid you’ve been giving to my African brothers done to alleviate their economic woes?” He should have asked what all the French aid to Zaire has achieved except creating a super-rich monster like Mobutu.

The best investment a country can have are its educated citizens; the second is the material resources available. SA, like many African nations, have the latter in abundance, but they have not been successful in developing the human resources. They have been relying on Western ‘expertise.’ The sad truth is that Africa is today poor because FOREIGNERS are managing our resources! European, Asian or Arab ‘expertisement’ is never going to develop our continent. This is a fact our leaders are yet to grasp.

Western scholars like to say that the failure of Africa is Africans fault. We have been independent for over thirty years, they keep telling us. I find this sort of argument intellectually dishonest. It was premised on the assumption that a time there was when the Europeans packed their bags and left us alone. This was not the case. True, Europeans were replaced by Africans. What happened was that within three to five years, radicals African leaders who have original ideas about how to solve their problems, have been removed from power. Nkrumah was removed because of his anti-imperialist stance. The coup that removed him was organized by the CIA Accra office. Patrice Lumumba was killed at the instigation of the CIA director, Allen Dulles, in a cablegram sent on August 20, 1960. He was replaced by his CIA-supported Chief of Staff, Joseph Mobutu. Until a few years ago, Mobutu was the darling of the west – the best stooge they have in Africa. It was the west that encouraged him to loot his country’s treasury. It was western multinationals that paid him the bribes. It was in western banks that he kept his looted money, after investing in real estates in Switzerland, France, and Belgium. It was French and Belgian troops, with American logistic support, that protected him when there were uprisings against him. He was a welcome guest in Euro-American power centers. He met with George Bush more than half a dozen times!

There are still military bases scattered all over Africa, the purpose of which was to ensure the status quo and repel any attack on European vital interests. France has DIRECTLY interfered in the INTERNAL AFFAIRS of its ‘FORMER’ colonies than a dozen times.

Africa has too many strategic minerals, crucial to Western economies to be left alone. What should be a blessing has turned into our greatest misfortune. We have too many resources which the vampires from Europe wanted but are unwilling to pay fair prices. That is the only reason they continue to support dictators, who are prepared, for a fee, to suppress their own people in the interests of Euro-America.

We hope the new leaders of Azania will learn from these mistakes. Africa has nothing new to learn from Europe. We can look towards Asia and find out how the Chinese and the Malaysians and the Indonesians are managing their affairs. We can learn a good deal from them their experiences. For over five hundred years, Europe has been instructing us, giving us lectures. We are today worse off that when they first came to our shores. We have nothing to learn from proven failures like Europeans. Ecologically and environmentally, Europe is a disaster. Socially, it is dis-integrating: People need pharmaceutical assistance to survive the daily rigors of life. Parents are routinely abusing children and children are, in turn, turning increasingly to drug abuse. Politically, European institutions are failing and people are becoming apathetic. Less than a third of the electorate in both England and the U.S.A. bother to vote. Economically, Europe is in a doldrums. Millions are out of work with no prospect of getting jobs anytime soon. What lessons can we learn from such a people? What aid can we expect from such heartless creatures? Why should we expect succor from a loveless place like Europe?

Our situation is comparable to that of the Asians. The Chinese and the Malaysians decided to go their own way. They STOPPED listening to the sanctimonious hypocrites from Europe. They borrowed whatever they could use from Europe, among other places, and start to build their societies in their own way. Today, they are making impressive progress.

We too can do it. But only if we shed the handicaps we inherited from the Europeans. We should start to listen to ourselves. Western aid cannot develop Africa: it has never developed anywhere. Africa must and should be developed by Africans. It is sad when our leaders continue to live in the past – learning nothing from history.

“I have had to separate myself from my dear wife and children, from my mother and sisters, to live as an outlaw in my own land. I have had to close my business, to abandon my profession, and live in poverty in misery, as many of my people are doing. I shall fight the Government side by side with you, inch by inch, and mile by mile, until victory is won. I will not leave South Africa, nor will I surrender. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.”

“In my youth in the Transkei, I listened to the elders of my tribe telling stories of the old days. Amongst the tales they related to me were those of wars fought by our ancestors in defence of the fatherland. The names of Dingane and Bambata, Hintsa and Makana, Squngatha and Dalasile, Moshoeshoe and Sekukhuni, were praised as the pride and glory of the entire African nation. I hoped then that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people and make my own humble contribution to their freedom struggle. This is what has motivated me in all that I have done in relation to the charges made against me in this case.”

“A government which uses force to maintain its rule teaches the oppressed to use force to oppose it.”

“I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot.”

“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. But my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – Nelson Mandela, Fatima Meer, ‘Higher Than Hope,’ Penguin Books.

We hope that President Nelson Mandela shall hold dear these words that inspired millions of Africans to suffer.

“We must leave our dreams and abandon our old beliefs and friendships from the time before life began. Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe. For centuries, they have stifled almost all the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience. Look at them today swaying between atomic and spiritual disintegration…

“Europe undertook the leadership of the world with ardor, cynicism, and violence. Look at how the shadow of her palaces stretches out ever further! Every one of her movements has burst the bounds of space and thought. Europe has declined all humility and all modesty, but she has also set her face against all solicitude and all tenderness. She has only shown herself parsimonious and niggardly where men are concerned; it is only men that she has killed and devoured.

So, my brothers, how is it that we do not understand that we have better things to do than to follow that same Europe? That same Europe where they were never done talking of Man, and where they never stopped proclaiming that they were only anxious for the welfare of Man: today we know with what sufferings humanity has paid for every one of their triumphs of the mind.

Come, then, comrades, the European game has finally ended; we must find something different. We today can do everything, so long as we do not imitate Europe, so long as we are not obsessed by the desire to catch up with Europe. Europe now lives as such a mad, reckless pace that she has shaken off all guidance and all reason, and she is running headlong into the abyss; we would do well to avoid it with all possible speed.

Yet it is very true that we need a model, and that we want blueprints and examples. For many among us, the European model is the most inspiring. We have therefore seen in the preceding pages to what mortifying setbacks such an imitation has led us. European achievements, European techniques, and the European style ought no longer to tempt us and to throw us off our balance.

When I search for the Man in the technique and the style of Europe, I see only a succession of negations of man, and the avalanche of murders.

The human condition, plans for mankind, and collaboration between men in those tasks which increase the sum total of humanity are new problems, which demand true inventions.

Let us not decide to imitate Europe, let us combine our muscles and our brains in a new direction. Let us try to create the whole man, whom Europe has been incapable of bringing to triumphant birth. Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness, and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.

So, comrades, let us not pay tribute to Europe by creating states, institutions, and societies which draw their inspiration from her. Humanity is waiting for something from us other than such an imitation, which would be almost an obscene caricature. If we want to turn Africa into a new Europe, and America into a new Europe, then let us leave the destiny of our countries to Europeans. They will know how to do it better than the most gifted among us. But if we want humanity to advance a step further, if we want to bring it up to a different level than that which Europe has shown, then we must invent and we must make discoveries.” – Frantz Fanon, ‘The Wretched of the Earth’, Grover press, pp.311-315.



About the Author 

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and ModernGhana, and Correspondent for the New African magazine, Femi lives in both Europe and Africa and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the Man and Machine Coordinator at Alaye Dot Biz Limited, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organization that specializes in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

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