Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah once said and I quote "Africa is rich and not poor, Africa has immense actual and potential wealth, Gold, Diamond, Bauxite, Manganese, Iron ore, Copper and a host of other minerals, our essential agricultural produce have all been drained by colonialist and imperialist governments. Africa is far from being poor, it is Africans who are poor and not Africa. And they are poor because of the uncounted profits that have been exploited from their labour and from their land"
Africa today has become in the words of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair "A scar on the conscience of humanity"
We live in an Africa today where our young men and women have no pride and no interest in Africa. When they want to enjoy themselves they sing the praises of football teams from Europe and America, it is Manchester United, it is Arsenals, Real Madrid and Barcelona not Hearts of Oak, not Kotoko, not Esperance de Tunis of Tunisia, not TP Mazel of Congo, not Al Ahly of Egypt, this is the Africa we are confronted with.
We are confronted today with an Africa where our young women enjoy cheap grade B Mexican soap opera, it is La Patrona, Kumkum Bhaqya etc. Africa today does not enjoy its theatre and drama.
Our young men and women today want to run away from Africa, when you go to the embassies of the United States of America and other European countries our young men and women have made long ques seeking the Almighty green card, that is the Africa with which we are confronted with.
Not so long ago, a group of Africans drowned in the Mediterranean around the island of Malta just because they were running away from Africa, Not so long ago over 400 young men and women from various countries in Africa drowned around the island of Lampedusa because they were running away from Africa, this time round Africans are not wailing and kicking as they are being taken away to be enslaved but this time round Africans are been seen wailing and kicking as they seek to enslave themselves in Europe and America . This is the tragedy of Africa.
And why must we constantly remind ourselves of these realities, because throughout the ages the battle has always been the battle of the mind, and as long as our minds are conquered then we as Africans are going nowhere. No wonder in the ages of enlightenment the great Renei Descartes said "Cogito Ergo Sum” which means I think therefore I am, and therefore if we as Africans are to begin to make any meaningful contribution in our own affairs then Africans must begin to think, but the question is are we thinking?
In Africa today we go to the polls every four or five years to re-elect thieves and expect them to do that which is right and good. When you give the African the power of the vote, in the words of PLO Lumumba it's like you have given him a blank cheque to go into the show room and buy for himself a Mercedes Benz, but what the African does it that he goes into that showroom after he has been some empowered and buys what one calls a Tuk Tuk from India and expect it to behave like a Mercedes Benz, how does that happen because we elect thieves, we elect hyenas and wolves to take care of the goats and when the goats are consumed we wonder why"
In Africa, our leaders steal from us and save the money in Swiss Banks and other European Banks and when they are dead and long forgotten the same money is given back to us as loans which our children yet unborn will have to pay back.
It is time for us young men and women in Africa to realise that the development of our continent lies in our own hands and not on the hands of the World Bank or IMF. If Africa must develop it must start with Africans, it must start with a change of heart and a change of mind, a resolution to do that which is good and right. If we must overcome the dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty and sit on the same dinner table of equality with Europe and America it must start with Africans fighting for our own self-interest and self-Identity.
I dare say that it can be done, and it must be done and it should be done, because if it is not done we are done.
Writer: Joseph Atchulo
Email: [email protected]