Slumbering Africans wake up!

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Contemporary Situations

However, if that was the case during the colonial regime, what then has happened since the political independence of the various nations of Africa? Has the African race redeemed its trampled and mangled consciousness and human dignity? Have the people of Africa succeeded in freeing themselves psychologically from the demeaning treatment meted to them by the so-called superior races during the colonial time and which seems to be continuing in the post-colonial era? The answer to these questions could be found in the report of diverse social, political and economic surveys conducted by the United Nations and other research institutions. These reports seem to be emphatic in their conclusions that the quality of life of Africans is more miserable than at anytime in history and it is rapidly lagging far behind all the other continents of the world.
Anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, economists, scientists, and recently, the geneticists too have not been able to resist the temptation to ask some sensitive and uncomfortable probing questions in their comparative studies. Although, these questions cannot be asked too loudly because of their emotive and political undertones, nevertheless, they ask, why is Africa so unresponsive to developmental efforts, either in the socio-economic or political sense in the manner that is similar to other continents, like Australia and North America that were colonised less than three centuries ago by the Caucasian race?
This line of reasoning has posed some other fundamental questions, such as: Could there be any statistical correlation between the ‘under-development’ of Africa and racial factors? Is the climate or some yet to be discovered environmental conditions a hindrance to intellectual development necessary for higher cognitive thinking? Are Africans deficient in reasoning faculty and capability, the prerequisite conditions for the development of a scientific culture that could make inquiry, experimentation, discovery, innovation, invention and application of knowledge possible? Does the African culture, particularly the belief systems that venerate nature, respect tradition and are cocooned in fear and superstitions, forbid tendencies toward philosophical inquiry of ideas for a rational scientific development of new theories? Could the cultures have contributed to a lack of scientific understanding of the meaning of life as well as the inability to focus the mind on the need to conquer and to master the forces of nature?
Simply, is there anything significantly different in the nature of Africans when compared to other races? Is it true Africans are incapable of developing the scientific and technological inventiveness, entrepreneurial initiatives and organisational competences, the sine qua non tools for conquest, domination and acquisitiveness both for economic and political powers or for grandiose empire building? In psychological parlance, is the African race deficient in higher intelligence quotient needed for high-level reasoning? Probably, because of this deficiency, some expert might argue that this is the reason why Africans seem to be contented with the minute convenience nature has given for a mere wretched existence. This inference could be drawn from the salient fact that seems to suggest that Africans are incapable of knowing any better and therefore have failed to recognise that the gifts of nature can be improved upon to suit the circumstances of man. The white supremacist theorists have argued that as a result of these congenital intellectual deficiencies Africans had ‘no historical achievement¼ no records, no monuments¼ no high culture, no world religion, no great empires, ¼ no alphabets, no literature, no music’.
It is remarkable but very disheartening when it is realised that these and other similar questions were asked; mind-blowing propositions were offered; and highbrow-raising conclusions were drawn at the tail end of the nineteenth century. Yet, after one hundred years these questions are still topical. These types of philosophical reflections or scientific inquiries and researches and the ensuing results, opinions, interpretations and analyses that emanated from them have not gone down well with some Africans. The elites of Africa could easily see bias and with a blind patriotic zeal they have often interpreted these research efforts as attempts to rubbish Africans particularly when such results and theories come from non-African researchers.
Notwithstanding the bruised egos of some ‘powerful’ Africans, the damning facts remain that the summary of these results show that Africa has problems of a gigantic proportion worse than any race or continent under evaluation with similar scale of references. A review of the annual United Nations Human Development Index designed for cross-country comparisons and ratings of global development has consistently revealed massive poor performances on every socio-economic indicator. However, some zealots are quick to raise queries against the parameters of the surveys, the theoretical assumptions of the questionnaires and the general methodologies the researchers chose in their efforts to unravel the causes of Africa’s problems. As a result, a host of ignorant but patriotic Africans have raised hell over the suggestions that the totalities of the African race have problems coping with the global economic order and technological development. It is fascinating to realise that the African ‘elites’ who are managing the political affairs of the continent, are always in the forefront to refute all inquiries that carry any implicit suggestion of an endemic chronic continental problem. In their agitated defence, they often resort to rhetorical attack on the so-called outsiders who dared to air views on the poor conditions of Africa. The overzealous guardians of Africa would fervently query the audacity of these self-appointed experts and would ask, what gave the experts the right and the effrontery to suggest that Africans, particularly the African governments, cannot manage themselves?
Of course, the facts are incontrovertible. The overwhelming evidences show among other things, that Africa is a continent wallowing in debts, that all the nations singly and collectively are bankrupt and that without economic aids and other charitable assistances from western creditors and charity trusts that the African governments have neither hope nor the pecuniary means to survive without major political implosions. The African leaders often play down these disturbing facts. They often respond publicly in characteristic flamboyant fashion when asked about the state of affairs of Africa by well-meaning or otherwise critics, thus, “Don’t worry, we are a resilient race; we are down but not out. We don’t need foreign methodologies since we are currently adopting African home-spun strategies to solve the temporary handicap placed in our path by our detractors”. You can trust, there are always enemies to blame for these afflictions. They will add for effect and bravado, “We don’t need any outsiders to advise or to counsel us. Leave us alone, we can manage our problems by ourselves”.
However, privately, without any shame or remorse at the contradiction and ensuing hypocrisy, they seek forgiveness for the ever-spiralling debts owed. They plead with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to write off these debts; they seek donations from every ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’; they grovel as they beg for assistance in cash and in kind no matter the conditions attached by the ‘Good Samaritan’ (as if there is a free lunch in the global economic arrangements). All these behind-the-scene manoeuvrings are couched in diplomatic lingo of negotiations for debt rescheduling and of bilateral talks, multilateral conventions and conferences with the Paris or London Club of creditors and regional bodies of the western world for technical and financial aids Unfortunately, the world since the last century has become one open theatre, and so the idea of leaving Africa alone to wallow in ignorance, disease, hunger and bloodshed is not on. Moreover, Africans cannot expect these creditors to fold their arms while their human and material assets go up in flames. The international lending houses and commercial banks that pumped so much fund into Africa and funded all the white elephant projects dotting about in the African jungles can no longer wait for that African unique solutions. The mass media partly motivated by humanitarian ideals have refused to keep quiet either about the deplorable inhuman conditions seen all over Africa. The journalists, humanitarian workers and other like-minded people who strongly believe that the civilised world should not sit idle and watch innocent children and the poor die or suffer unnecessarily have kept up their seemingly obsessive crusades to highlight African problems at every opportunity in their dispatches.
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