We started with excuses and still do. Excuses like the following; “We are the cursed descendants of Ham says The Word of our Foreign God, our plight is divinely inspired”. Hope you’ve chanced upon that one before? Have you? Haven’t you? Where Bible is used as a reference to explain the plight of the average African, slavery and the supposed religious cause for our melanin-rich pigmentation. If you haven’t, presenting an idea of that form in brevity will not break bones.
So God had supposedly cleared the entire world of wickedness with his majestic flood and with a safety cruise ship [Ark], helped save those who adhered to his ways. Then Genesis 9:18-19 heads on “The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.” Now Ham sees his drunken daddy [Noah] naked, does nothing to cover such a probable shame and then mocks him. His father [later upon realisation of what his son had done] lashed out in fury with the following words; “Cursed be Canaan [the fourth son of Ham]! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers… Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.” So to some, we [Africans] are who we are now because of what Ham was. We are dark because we happen to be the cursed descendants of Ham. Thus, there’s probably no light at the end of the tunnel if divine words remain in favour of Noah’s words.
Others have another line of explaining our plight. To them, not only are our skins black, so are the brains. That this is our fate and supposed bliss at best, the best we can ever achieve. They go on to say; “the geographic location was unfavourable; with no snow but just two seasons [the rainy and dry]“. That black and success [with political liberation in spite of supposed sovereignty] never had a positive correlation. That there’s no evidence for hope because of democracy’s flaw of selecting nothing but the opinions of the majority; the majority who are more poised to get it all wrong because of again, the continent’s deplorable literacy rate and state. Some say, she needed a benevolent dictator to spell things out, without falling ill to an unneeded aftermath of a broken Libya, all in the name of oil tanks, rather than the probably unneeded democracy dependent upon the context in itself.
Is there a need to personify her before one knows she weeps? Are we not her children? Isn’t she holding us? If she is truly MAMA AFRICA; the feminine connotation of a mother we usually crown her with, she should be the saddest of all. After all, a mother weeps when things go wrong for her kids. In Michael Jackson‘s voice, I ask “Do you know where your children are?” The identity you sold, the names you replaced, African names you anglicised just to fit in, into what was never meant for you in the first place? The slaves meant to slaves, an upgrade into the new fashion called Neo-colonialism? The fools who garner pride with repeating the very same mistakes, once perpetrated by the supposed superpowers we usually cling to for help through detrimentally resourced settlements in the details, but attractive treaties in the superficial fashion? In fact, those same powers we keep on running to after we supposedly supposed we won political liberation from them? Is that not rather unfortunate?
This progressively creates more gaps for pondering the question; What was the essence of the fights orchestrated by Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, the many other founding fighters of Independence in our various countries? What about those various pan-Africanists? Is Africa the continent that claimed to possess the very rich heritage yet made nothing from books tackling the black man’s roots? The continent that sold it’s pride, daughters and riches worth more than schnapps for schnapps? Isn’t this sadder than the Titanic, the Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Sometimes in April or For Colored Girls? We admired Kunta Kinte because his story was shown on whiteners’ platform; all hail Hollywood we keep on saying within elements of the subconscious. We love Lupita because she thrives at a place other than her own playing nothing better than subservient roles. Then we forget to praise our very own hustling in the slums of unadulterated creativity. Africa! We nod and nod and nod bemoaning the plights we keep on creating by virtue of our addictions; addictions deeply immersed in one’s adamant nature to painfully learn, till we become best allies with no reptilian specie, but the Agama Lizard.
“We never went far because of colonialism”, we say, and we still do not proceed in spite of the many lessons near centuries of Modernity and Globalization came along with, because of our greedy bastards who usually call(ed) themselves leaders [in the dictating voice of Rawlings]. We are so because of tribal and religious politics. Thus, we vote based on the feelings of the heart rather than the objective workings of the brain. We blame culture. But what does the thinker have in mind? Is voting at heart wrong? The thinker doubts. It’s more about misplaced love than an attack on love in itself. We tend to love selfishly than altruistically in favour of nation/continent. When we love from the broader perspective of the nation rather than the seeming details of the tribe, kinsmen and religion, we would be more poised to vote based on merit; that which will be beneficial to the average majority in spite of tribal differences. We need not vote only by heart or only by brain, but with an equilibrium of both. The wise vote for their nature and so does the fool. So let’s work on the mindset if we truly need to change the negative aspects of our ever-growing status quo. A good mindset will vote a good mindset in under the confines of a democracy. Thus, the greater the number a mindset garners, the better its chances within a democracy. All because a competent leader will also have the general picture in mind. Blame, blame, we blame everything but ourselves. We see the ills in our leaders forgetting that they never emerged from another membrane or planet, forgetting that these leaders we always chastise are truly the average of us all so long as Democracy keeps being king.
Now, why not ignore the many reasons why we can’t and focus on the few reasons why we can. Because we can. There’s hope somewhere, just a slight one. And it is restricted to a place so long as we keep on thriving on democracy. That hope lives in the mindset of the average democratic voter. Democracy is useless to a continent engulfed with fools because foolish ideas will thrive anyway. The mind matters and so does the heart. It’s stronger. It calls for a needed revolution and hardly heeds to unneeded rabbles who keep on screaming “Revolution, Revolution!” Let’s focus on our minds, the minds of the average voters and forget about the Mugabes, Amins, Mobutus, Abachas, Mswatis and Jammehs. Those men only thrive because of the vulnerability of the average African’s mind. Africa has Hope. Do you want to see evidence for that? There are many youngsters out there willing to change the status quo, now let’s come together to make all not only willing but able. Let’s scream and work towards the golden words “Africa Rising“. It took us this long to realise a lot. Collectively, we can shorten the lifespan of plights yet to come. Africa Rising. We are the hope of Africa!
Achaab Daniel ABALANSA