Black Africans: Who Are We? (Part 2)

Is there a divine curse on the black race which is yet to be exorcised? Have we been carted off to damnation through the deification of our lesser gods of ogun, iyemaja, obatala, ifa, sagbeto and many other symbols of divine disobedience littering our continent? Is it divine curse or greed that still shackles us to the coat-tails of Lebanese, Indians, white South Africans and Europeans to the laughable degree that they now control the fortunes of black Africans from Angola to Zimbabwe?

Is there any truth in the mythological belief that blacks are especially suited to suffering, brutality and deprivation? Could that be the reason why the United State and Britain was built on the blood, tears and brawn of the black race through gruesome slavery? Could that be the reason why we are able to take on dictators after dictators and still bounce back as if nothing had happened to our collective psyche? Why is there no translation of massive renaissance of progress and prosperity after horrors of our sufferings, first, in the hands of colonialists; and second, under the iron fist of our mad rulers? Are we the way we are because of our low intelligence? Is there a fault-line in our collective genes?

Richard Lynn, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and a hardened torchbearer for race merchants, once said that black Africans are the most retarded of all races. This despicable Ulster icon must have watched with horror the retardation of our brains through mindless plunder of sacred national resources by a few cabals. Also, in cahoots with Lynn was Professor Jean Philippe Rushton’s alarming conclusion that our brain is smaller than those of other races, leaving us less intelligent but more highly sexed and aggressive.

In a politically correct world, it is no longer fashionable to regard blacks as inferior to white. It is even becoming a taboo to discuss the prickly topic of intelligence among races. But right wing race writers are refusing to be silenced so easily. They wonder why former white-led black African countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are far more successful than those guided by black hands. They wonder why most of black Africa remains a primitive jungle where social, economic and political activities are in a permanent state of chaos.

Today, progressive-minded black Africans are paralysed by pessimism. They believe that black Africa’s problems go beyond the usual shibboleths of corrupt leadership, mindless brutality, tribalism and broken vision. We might have some flashes of genius among us like the Anthony Enahoros, the Soyinkas, the Achebes and the Tahirs but our collective space is colonised far more by imbeciles than visionaries. Is our problem due to some spiritual forces working against us as suggested by venerable, Dr. D.K Olukoya, the general overseer of Mountain of Fire?

It is emotionally and psychologically sad, that, in this side of heaven, black Africans are mere drifters in a changing world. Black Africa has lost its own connexity so much that we now exist in a vast oasis of darkness. The database of our minds contains the evil of hate, jealousy, greed, wickedness, senseless injustice, disorder, disharmony, mistrust, brutality, poverty and widespread primitive witchcraft. All the byways of civilised human conduct and behaviour are non-existence in majority of black African city-slums and chaotic capitals.

Now let us reach out into the deepest black Africa and confront the supposed jewel in the black man’s crown-Nigeria. I have always maintained that the destiny of the entire black race, for good or bad, rest gingerly on Nigeria. We are the most populous black nation on earth. Nigeria’s 140 million suffering humanity represents 21 per cent of the continent’s population. The present coma condition of the giant of Africa is absurd, irrational and shameful. I could hear the groans of the dying in the absence of drug in our hospitals. Daily, the wounded souls of our unemployed youth readily find expression in the terrors of darkness as they turn to armed robbery to feed forgotten mum and dad. Many optimists still believe that the abundance of our natural and human resources may usher a future prospect of prosperity. Bring on the Nigerian Dream!

Sadly, we have more dreamers in Nigeria than anywhere else in black Africa. We have been locked in that dream time capsule for 48 tortuous years of eroding hope. However, the pessimists on the other hand will stress that Nigeria is a metaphor for everything that is wrong with the black race. Nigeria, with all its fabled wealth is seen as hell on earth. There must be something far beyond the failings of leadership for Nigeria to remain unable to deliver a society as socially enlightened and economically vibrant as any other country.

Indonesia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia are as corrupt and tribally volatile like Nigeria but the difference is clear when you compare the level of their poverty with Nigeria’s. Majority of these countries started new life when the embers of colonialism died out in their respective countries.

Today, we are all laying claim to South Africa, with all its contradictions, as authentically the black man’s paradise. My position on South Africa has always been clear. If South Africa had been left to the laps of the Mandelas, Mbekis and Zumas, it would have remained like any other blackman’s ghettoised society of decay and death.

There is a relentless logic in the assertion that black Africans cannot birth a society based on fairness, love, compassion, even development and social justice. The belief that every citizen has a stake in the corporate destiny of our continent is drowned by national hatred and jealousy as seen recently in the treatment of Nigerians by South Africa, Libya, Botswana and Ghana. These African nations are erecting billboards of ‘Ba shiga’-no entry- against us but across the Atlantic ocean, the Europeans are coming together under one super state of vibrant economic prosperity and free movement of trade and human. Black Africans, who are we?

The subtext is loud: we are not the same, though we wear the same pigment. Why are we embracing the heritage of bitterness against one another? Why is brother fighting against his brother? Even, the ‘Fulanised’ Northern Nigeria, during the dark days of boot camp regimes of the Generals concocted a laughable pyramid of racial hierarchy. The blue-blooded Fulanis suddenly found themselves one big notch above the Yorubas and the Igbos due to their light skin and monopoly of our military high commands. In a country where so many groups, each jealous of its own physiognomy, live side by side, but at heart we hate ourselves, speaks volume of who we really are.

The constant trope of hopelessness in black Africa, a land flowing with milk and honey formed the theme of two daring journalists who courageously opened the lid on our continental infamy. Keith B. Richburg is an African-American journalist and former bureau chief of the Washington Post in Africa. His damning book, Out of Africa, is a courageous work of truth, detached objectivity and unsentimental portrait of who we really are.

His sobering conclusion was that, though he is black, he is nevertheless grateful that his parents made the journey to America!!! Karl Maier, in his book, This House Has Fallen, went for Nigeria’s national jugular and concluded that we are in crisis.

These two heroic writers have seen so much tyranny and oppression of the voiceless majority by a tiny cabal of rulers who shot to power either through the guns or rigging of election result. Like this writer, they have seen black Africa’s rulers’ natural embrace for military coercion, propensity for wastage, political terrorism and total absence of sympathy for the suffering masses.

In conclusion, I have to admit that I am a victim of black Africa’s dislocated vision. I have wrestled with the moral anguish this piece throws at me. Is it right to beam a writer’s search light on the infamy of the Dark Continent? Is it right to submit to a writer’s liberty and paint a depressing pen portrait of my people, the black Africans?

However, the rational weighing of available facts suggest that black Africans are different and are mostly too willing to destroy the fabric of their own society for personal gains as we saw in the likes of Abacha, Mobutu, Idi-Amin, Samuel Doe, Houphouet Boigny, Eyadema, Koroma, Haille Mariam, Kabanda, Arap Moi, Kabila, Barre, Aideed, Garang, Bongo and Mugabe. Can anyone still tell me who we are?