It is complex and dangerous to compel African people to be critical of their role in perpetuating their own oppression. It is complex because constructive criticism is a critical ingredient in the development of the strong African nation and it is dangerous to the one who dares to drag African society to self criticism running the risks of being seen as a traitor, naïve or labelled all sorts of nasty things. It is dangerous to the African nation as self-introspection data can be used to reinforce pessimistic view of Africa and African people. External forces with geopolitical interest can overt or convert utilisation self-analysis to absolve oppressor’s guilt by blaming the oppressed.
The colonial powers have invested heavily on the destruction of African minds. The education systems have been designed to reinforce perceptions of white supremacy and African inferiority. The print media fortifies images of European heroes and African villains on the minds of our people. The visual media is consistently portraying beauty from a Eurocentric point of view. The audio media pump messages that equate civilisation of Africans to their assimilation to white culture and values.
This colonial investment on mental destruction is paying dividends as currently “the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”, confirming Bantu Biko’s observation. The imperialist nations no longer need their military strength to exploit natural and human resources on the African continent. Africans beg for foreign direct investment, which comes on European terms because of the weak mindedness that fails to link historic relationship between colonisation, multinational corporations and Africa ’s continued underdevelopment.
There is hardly any meaningful trade amongst African nation-states. They trade with one another via colonial master states or corporations. They are hardly any indigenous industries or internal economies in most African nation states because of the prevailing colonial dependence mind-set. Africans entrust Dutch East India Company style institutions with the task of determining African people’s destiny. They view these modern day Jan van Riebeecks as development partners and believe in constructive relationship with modern day Cecil John Rhodes. The disaster that flows from these economic systems, models, plans and programs conceived by damaged minds in conjunction with their adversaries is inevitable.
Africans are consumers and do not own or control the means of production of what they consume. The culture of wastefulness has found residence in African families and high financial spending on leisure or entertainment is mind boggling. The African community does not ensure rotation of money amongst themselves. Jealousy tendencies that lead to the “Pull Him/ Her Down Syndrome” are endemic and stifling the potential for economic prosperity and self reliance.
The colonial investments have reached mature levels, amongst African people, characterised by a deep sense of hopelessness to achieve social and cultural liberation hence “the colonized man … manifest this aggressiveness which has been deposited in his bones against his own people” as Frantz Fanon predicted. High levels of violence in the African community work in favour of the status quo. The chaotic family relationships are not a coincidence but a by product of orchestrated anti-family social systems and values. The gender war coming out of policy framework that is inspired by foreign social systems assimilation, driven by foreign offices through donations, is raging. There is so much anger brewing in the African community and its children are breeding so much grief in the community through domestic violence, tribalism, xenophobia and corruption.
Frantz Fanon wrapped up the current African situation nicely when he said “however painful it may be for me to accept this conclusion, I am obliged to state it: for the black man there is only one destiny. And it is white”. If the future has to be different for Africa , her children must be engaged in active campaign for mental liberation. The mental status campaign is an everyday struggle for each member of the African nation. Radical transformation of socialisation systems targeting the African child is a national imperative in order to restore sovereignty of the African mind. This transformation must involve the method of sharing experience, imparting knowledge and greater appreciation of indigenous knowledge systems. The education curricula must reflect African roots and value systems in its content.
By Sbusiso Xaba