It was Autumn, when I arrived among a group of 19 boys in a European country, with a big agenda. All the nineteen boys had been groomed, following a qualification to enter the University, through “an ideological awakening”, which was mandatory, until after Nkrumah's overthrow, and programs like that, including the “Young Pioneer” died a natural or unnatural death.
Nkrumah must have been consumed by self-importance, a kind of assertion, that he was just as good as anybody else, irrespective of color, or race, (not including creed).
Many believe he must have at some stage during his stay as a student in America, -the late 30s, till the early 40s, when he came to England, suffered the racial injustices, so common then: Rooms to let for whites only, and public places barred to blacks, who had “been sent to America forcibly”, centuries earlier, to make the whites rich, by offering cheap labor on cotton and sugar plantations. He met people like George Padmore, Prof. J.W.B. Du Bois, and Jomo Kenyata, later.
These were people, who had “black-sufficiency awareness burning inside them, and this torch was a lot hotter, in the much younger brash Kwame Nkrumah, from the Gold Coast. His utterances, most of which had kindled fire in Africans and some non-Africans alike, were full of Negritude. An example being, “……the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.”
Even so, people “as tall as” Abraham Lincoln had contended a century previous to Nkrumah's time, that, “the white race stood taller in human qualities, than people of the darker complexion,” He therefore was of the opinion, “when it came to supremacy, the place in front belonged to the white man”. Nkrumah must have studied with “some white men”, but schools and Universities were not by law desegregated in America, at his time.
The mix was not very big, and not an easy one. “That day in Autumn in Europe”, I was among five boys out of nineteen, who had gone to take extra-classes in the German language.
There was the husband of the language teacher, (a German, and American in turns, as rumored).
He requested that we help him get a sofa across, to a flat on the compound we shared, into an abode, he and his family had just moved in. It was a heavy apparatus, made in some wood they claimed had been imported from the Belgian Congo.
That country was called Zaire at the time of the episode, and a dictator called Sese Sekou Mobutu, was in charge. Whilst we struggled as adolescents to get the sofa across, the man with sadistic remarks walked behind us, teasing; “come on, move on faster. In the colonial days, a white man would be sitting on top.”
We all laughed, and that was it. Our destiny, as regards passing out of this language place with credits, which one needed to move on to the University, could be influenced, either way, by this man of chameleonic nationality, and moods.
So, who would challenge him? “In the colonial days, a white man would be sitting on top-of the sofa, and the Negroids would carry him”, I later saw filmstrips, of the German Forays into Africa almost two hundred years ago.
I watched the films, and saw truly, how white men were being carried over rough mountain terrain in Palanquins within, and across Tanganyika.
The film-strip said, the young tall Africans carried the wealthy, Germans with blue blood, (mostly from Bremenhafen), for handsome daily wages. It did not say, how much was “handsome.”
This narrative may not serve (should not be seen as trying to portray any race adventuring into Africa then as with antic intentions). Profit, is usually the aim of any adventure. Adventure, is an anthropomorphic instinct, and it is believed to have shaped every civilization.
Perhaps, it might take away some boredom, if I did my honored readers the favor of skipping a couple of centuries, and refer to my article in The Chronicle of May 14 and continued on the May 21, 2008.
Mention was made of South African citizens of Indian origin, whom I share a trade with, (practicing Neurosurgeons), who, much as they may not lack patriotism), are increasingly apprehensive, by the day, of their fatherland, under the rudders of a South African of Negritude.
As a result, such professionals, and you may add professions, other than mine, mentioned above, ARE TURNING THEIR BACKS ON THE FATHERLAND. South Africa, which was a haven for highly skilled professionals, even before the fall of Apartheid, but especially so, since it became the “Rainbow Republic, according to Rev. Desmond Tutu, (Nobel Prize Laureate for peace), has now become a land out of which fifteen years after Independence, the cream are emigrating, in droves.
For a reminder, just recollect that, there was much apprehension, coming from the quarters of intellectuals, among whom were staunch supporters of the ANC, and personal friends as well as admirers of the “World Icon”, Nelson Mandela. Fifteen years after independence, the economy has so shrunken, that the natives have turned guns on African immigrants, who, in Europe, not too long ago, were also the victims of assaults, for the same reason. They are the cause of the economic down-turn.
Cause for lamentation is; for men and women my age, (and I mean those who received primary and secondary education and even to the University level at Nkrumah's time), we saw how Nkrumah, the Pan-Africanist, supported Africans fleeing Apartheid South Africa, and gave them either jobs, or education in Ghana. The Educational Trust Schools, (and some one hundred and sixty were built), supported the Influx. (To be continued)
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