Slumbering Africans wake up!

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The entire essence of the continent of Africa – its peoples, its landscape, its climate – is still a bizarre puzzle to all those who have cause to deal with the continent for any reason whatsoever even after more than five centuries of recorded association with the rest of the world. The continent, from time memorial, has never ceased to be a playground to all sorts of adventurers, explorers, exploiters, pseudo-experts and genuine experts alike that tended to see Africa in all kinds of ill-assorted shades, colours and paradoxes. In their efforts to make sense of these perceptual contradictions, they were compelled to offer analyses and interpretations that in some cases not only were they banal as well as offbeat but also hilariously ludicrous. Of course, some of the pronouncements were profoundly informed by xenophobic and racial prejudices but still some others were genuinely rooted in the tradition of liberal education that is motivated by a sincere search for truth.
Africa has been portrayed under different lights. Some experts saw it as a continent under evil spell or magical curse. Other experts said it is a repository lands for cheap labour another way of saying it is a slave market. Some saw it is as an under-utilised rich land full of resources but still begging for exploration and exploitation. It was also described as a continent congenitally sunk in manifold calamities of natural and man-made disasters such as, hunger, debt and civil war and of recent of health epidemics like the HIV/AIDS virus. Other groups said it is still a primitive continent in need of sympathy from the civilised world because its inhabitants, though human are of a lower race and are therefore intellectually ill equipped to manage themselves in a civilised competitive world. In fact this last myth was adequately reflected by European writers in the 19th century who commonly refer to Africans as people of ‘the lower race’.

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