It may not be the easiest thing to analyse in a short writing & summarize many complex issues that limited, limit & subject Africans to being easy preys of suppression, oppression and domination by non-Africans. Many earlier found it easier to point accusatory fingers at the oppressors, suppressors & dominators while playing victim & blame games, than to introspect. This writing is a look in the mirror to see how we Africans most likely contributed significantly to our own vulnerabilities and became available to those who were always in search of what, or who else, to conquer. The following are some generalizations that should not take away from some portions of relative exceptions & exemptions in Africa.
While most of the points noted in this writing are general global negative human nature, it seem clear & evident that the degree of occurrence of the points raised from among Africans far outpace the next foreign people group who appeared much more able to tame the evil tendencies in their own societies. The reasons are as follows.
- Africans love pleasures more than spending time on mass productions. They would more easily pay 1000% more price to purchase a foreign product refined from under their own feet than invest in its local production. Foreign products is more enticing to them than for them to engage local labor to finely produce their own goods, to satisfy their own tastes. They have raw materials, spiritual, intellectual & physical, yet they would not devote enough diligence to process, develop systems, mass produce & manage one another for collective economic advantages unless they are working under strict conditions of people from prior colonial countries & leadership
- They find it difficult to complete, compliment or submit to one of their own. Command and control is more like the only thing that works with them. Most people hated to fall in line behind others. There is general impatience to wait in place for first person to get done. Team-spirit is almost non-existent except when they are strong-arm imposed and/or when money is the motivation, and that may be attached only for their barest minimum self-survival. There is nothing wrong with working for money and immediate benefit. Except that economic development processes are usually developed out of collective intellectual contributions that added up over seasons of experience FIRST before enough money is available to share one with another.
- They prefer kingship mentality. They are either available to worship an oppressive, domineering leader, or they labor to become a worship figure for family, friends or communities. They are more in rat races of becoming prominently celebrated leadership figures than they are in providing community solution centers or providing empowering projects to others. They only find it necessary to fall in line when dictatorial king-like authority is imposed.
- They are somehow raised to feel inferiority complex towards others from foreign lands. Non dark/black skinned foreigner is automatically assumed superior-skilled, superior-empowered, unquestionably served, and unfairly allowed unnecessary advantages. In the meantime, a better qualified next door indigenous expert is disregarded because they are too familiar with him or her, and, they just cannot get to accept that one of their own blood should lead them.
- They are naturally superstitious. Everything is viewed from extreme spiritual angles. Researches, probes for facts of most matters, exploratory adventures, questioning of higher authorities are essentially forbidden in order not to offend the spirits, gods, or powers that be.
- They have less value for other’s lives than they should. Twins were feared and killed at infancy. Albinos are suspected as not being normal human being. Malformed or disabled people are hardly ever treated as complete humans. Eradication of such gives most silent satisfaction. Human rituals are so normal because it is believed the destiny or glory of one can be spiritually transferred to another by devious traditional religious/juju/voodoo practices.
- They embrace caste systems. They accept that some people are born more equal than others and some have been predestined to become better than others. They do not accept that God gives equal chances & opportunity for each human to strive and become the best that each can work hard to be.
- They have inflexible belief and many erroneous traditional systems. While non-Africans would test limits of faith and take fate into their own hands, a locally bred African would hardly dare any such thing. They fight tooth and nail against anyone who questions their cultural upbringing, rightly and wrongly. Nothing wrong with celebrating laudable cultural heritage. But everything is wrong with not identifying faulty legacies and therefrom developing better future for newer generations.
- Accountability is alien to most. Leaders were not expected to respond to criticism, answer probing questions, nor be fully transparent in operational dealings. The more non-responsive to questions, the more respect leaders seem to get from the followers. It is mostly disrespectful to call anyone in upper hierarchy to feedback answers on responsibility awarded or assigned.
- They are extremely reluctant and hate to celebrate their own bright minds. Initiatives and innovations are rarely generally acclaimed, morally supported or communally adopted. It is rare for people to publicly invest in one of their owns trade. Relatives do not expect to pay for products or service being marketed by their own. They would rather go and pay more to an unknown seller or foreigner without thinking twice about it. It is cultural to suppress and stifle initiatives and workable ideas.
- They invite foreign interference into their own domestic disputes, thereby encouraging & empowering foreign interests and dominance. Since it is rare for Africans to unite one with another, it became evident to prying foreign eyes that they can use premeditated militant force to divide and rule them. Most foreign nations are no better human beings. They are just a people group who already learned to celebrate their own ethnic, tribal, social, political, and religious differences.
- They easily throw one another under the bus in exchange for foreigners favors. They did sell their own brothers and sisters and got paid for it one way or another. Though most of the problems of Africans have been directed at the influence, influx, dominance, and misdirection of colonial leaders, rulers & countries, it is my personal belief that such audacious manipulations, suppression, oppression and thefts could not have been as effective without the willing participation of local divisions & inability to naturally unite as a diverse entity and unit.
- They have aversions to keeping critical & essential records open and available for public consumption or revealing how-tos for others to gain insights from. Secrecy is wrongly regarded as wisdom. They call it native wisdom. Much of plain speaking is avoided while manipulative proverbs are encouraged. It is well known that a typical African will not open books to read and glean information from one another except maybe for students who must read, and, who have no choice but to read to pass examinations.
- They have muddled up issues of faith, beliefs or religions. While remaining subconsciously attached to rudiments of local religious traditions and customs, many Africans have combined different ratios and dilutions of Christian, Islam & other forms of manipulated foreign orientations. While not fully Christian, Islamic or otherwise, they are neither fully traditional god worshipers. Muddled-up faith cannot therefore allow a true God to be as manifested in their situations & circumstances as He could be. False religious conspiratorial propaganda messed up many African’s belief-systems and make it difficult to achieve oneness of purpose across peoples, groups, communities. These works well to serve purposes of those who purposefully sold Africans their own versions of what could have otherwise remain divine truths that should produce divine results.
- Capitalism & materialism have become Africans recent obsessions. The allures of western-wealth being propagandized through movies, news media and international political narratives have consumed most Africans. Getting rich quick, amassing grandiose personal fortune, showing off personal success, became the new norm. In such world, living life is about the survival of the fittest with almost no interest in carrying another person along in the success journey. In there is no room for exhibiting good Samaritan or being a brother’s keeper. With that, the new slave-traders or marshals-in-command are the larger than life media-projected owners of financial empires. Typical African will do anything by hook or crook to become the next Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerbergs of our time without plans to endure the processes and systems that produced such. With that comes the attendance increase of pseudo role models and Hushpuppi-like scammers with large tastes for exotic & extremely expensive goods without any obvious production lines, essential service staffs or legacy-driven ventures.
- Most foreign people groups and nations survive by being in complete control of their own political, economic, military and geographical destinies. Most Africans have directly and indirectly submitted the controls of these powers to foreign authorities for supervision, manipulation, oppression and suppressive oversight.
- Crab culture is a bane to Africans. Crab nature is – “I pull down the one ahead of me so I can take the position, then the one behind pulls me down so none of us makes tangible progress.” Or, “I will not support anyone else except myself. I have to be absolutely in charge, no one else know better than me. The way I see things is the only right way.”
- Most Africans try to reinvent wheels that someone else already invented. Falling in line behind another is a societal bane. Each one try to get credit while working hard to deprive the other from receiving due accolade and respect for ideas, initiatives and progress scored. Rather than build on previously recorded accomplishments, newer strides are embarked upon, many times to spite earlier achievers, and to score the point that what the last person achieved can equally, or better, be achieved by competition. Giving credit to an earlier achiever is beclouded by rivalry, pride, jealousy, envy and outright disdain. Each one expects and plans regularly to be smarter and wiser than his or her next blood brother or sister.
- They demonstrated lack of ability to implement societal order and inability to manage to organize societies without favoritism or bending rules for privileged ones. They hardly hide the fact that application of law and order can be bought cheaply by the rich, wealthy & powerful ones, who could easily afford it. Sloppy enforcement of qualitative standard of societal organizations has encouraged corruption to become almost an insurmountable monster. Justice could be easily swayed in most places in African.
- They are unable to agree on one language to educate one another with. Without being able to speak with one voice of understanding, the spaces became prone to confusion whereby everyone pursue similar goals differently and disjointedly. Education of the citizens have been outsourced to working foreign education systems that have alien elements that should not be applied locally.
SO WHAT MUST AFRICANS DO?
The answer seems clear. The first step to any solution is to understand the problems, or, reasons for a problem. When a diagnosis is well done, prescriptions for solutions becomes easier to describe. Resident in the points raised above are the solutions. A reversal of a problem’s root cause should provide solutions needed. Africans must find ways to overcome disunity within & without their tribes, ethnic nationalities, religious persuasions, genders, educations, orientations, cities, nations and communities.
Unity is not the same as uniformity. If the United States Of America could somehow integrate almost all races on earth within her systems and still remain a great one-entity nation regardless of various tribes, ethnicity, races, thought-patterns, orientations, with extreme diversities, then Africa could borrow a leaf from that. Africans will need to lay down pride, class, and divergent views to overcome entrenched systemic oppression & suppression that rages from within & from without.
This writing is a personal insight on what to expect when trying to advise, lead, or organize Africans as a spiritual leader who seeks attitudinal changes that could transform societies globally. These are personal observations and thoughts of Bishop Olanrewaju Elujoba, President of Worldwide WORD Missions, USA. Without understanding the culture that formed patterns of thinking, mindsets, traditions, and decision-making orientation or psychology of someone, it would be pointless attempting to redirect such for societal changes. These thoughts are open to further observations, educated corrections and positively informed adjustments.