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Opinion | Jan 23, 2015

The Black Mind: The Core Hindrance To Africa's Development

The Black Mind: The Core Hindrance To Africa's Development

In my previous foray traversing through the wilderness of Africa's backwardness, and sounding the very depths to which we find ourselves, I rightly highlighted some contributing forces. However, in this flight of crystal thought and empowering chant, I shall turn a clear and clean mirror right in our direction.

Without a fleck of doubt, we face fierce externalities, but a weak people luxuriate in only pointing fingers at others, and never behold their obvious failings. Hence, a sound mandate throws a challenge for the dissection of the black mind.

At present, ceteris paribus, when we have adjusted for factors outside our control, we may yet espy a transparent truth simmering at the heart of our problem: the way we think—the black mind.

Redressing A Belief
Following The Random House Dictionary, our inferiority complex—lack of self-esteem; feeling of inadequacy; lack of self-confidence—strongly accounts for how we continue to think and live. And swinging our necks to behold the horizon, a wistful contemplation breaks upon our mind. Yes, we are greeted by the sad reality that we behave as inferior people. The mantra emblazoned on the screen of our lifestyle, screams: "Sub-standard!"

Without any trace of affectation or tint of artificiality, it is a bare truth that we ourselves as African's believe that the things that we produce are inferior. Our perennial taste for imported goods is a case in point. The seeming connection between perception and reality does not lend itself to easy extrication. However, I shall stick the knife right where it belongs: We just don't believe in ourselves! And this shows everywhere.

Enrol, attend, and acquire a degree from our best universities; let another person go abroad and acquire a similar degree; and your fellow neighbour will look more favourably on the latter in spite of the university they attended. Nonetheless, as some of us know, some of the world's poor quality universities are across the shores; they are not only here in Africa. While we have some very good institutions right here on this continent, we don't believe in them. We are like a fixed intaglio, we will never see them for what they truly are—our minds are made up.

We don't believe in our abilities, we don't believe in anything that is African. Unsurprisingly, the world has been successful in contriving to feed us with the fodder to maintain the rancid thought that everything that is African is second-rate; and like fawning stooges, we have cheered them on.

But there is more. Even our own leaders treat us the way they do because they have a certain mindset and opinion about the African. They see us as vain, vapid, and vacuous people easily susceptible to manipulation; and yes, that is exactly what they do.

Any harbinger of change has to be the close and candid examination of our true state. A serious and overarching passion and preference for realising practical change must be predicated upon a corresponding mindset shift. Call it a doom-filled prophecy, but the black mind in its state today will see true development in year 3000 if the world continues. Hyperbole, yes, but the salient point rings true.

Consider the white mind, for example. When our forebears were busy hunting and gathering, they were developing weapons and stratagems to enslave others. Now, they are going to the moon, and we are still grappling with necessities like food, water, and electricity. But if today, perhaps righting the wrongs of the past, they are doing well by giving us aid—where the aid goes is a subject we are not called upon to discuss in this article. It is an incriminating matter for another day. Nevertheless, it does not matter the vastitude or magnitude of aid that floods the continent; until we change our minds, and the way we think, we shall remain in stasis.

Whereas we have, and continue to be unfairly treated, and still feel the effects of a truly crepuscular age; daylight robbery continues in our day aided by our enslaved mentality. Yes, we ourselves empower our plunderers through our perdurable nescience. Until the shackles over our minds are broken and the African gets rid of that inferiority complex that makes us feel incapable; embraces a new way of thinking that should infuse us with sprightly thoughts and concerted efforts, we will always continue to struggle and flounder in our morass of backwardness.

I shall proceed to propose a rather unusual solution to help transform the black mind in its current state.

An Unusual Solution
Like a mad cyclone exuding terrific intensity, there is a boisterous group that opposes every religious text, including the Holy Bible. Yet, I personally cannot divorce myself from what I resolutely believe. My chosen faith continues to influence what I do, whether in public or in private. Yes, I am a Christian, and I do not feel a need to make apologies for that. With crystalline conviction arrived through deep thought and controlled ratiocination, I believe the Bible correctly applied—yes, emphasis on correct application—has the solution to Africa's problems. My noisy opponents will chuckle. They can't reconcile a thinking soul, to one who believes in such texts. They have a point: their cynicism is their outward profession. It is their garland of glory woven around their bare pates.

But, in all deference, the cynicism of my stinging critics has grounds. The average Christian appears not able to use his or her mind. And that plays very much into the territory of those who seek ample capital to fortify and solidify their position.

After all, the misapplication of the Bible surely played a role in leading one group of people to do what they did; and it is the same misapplication that continues to be used to enslave people on the continent. The reason for the former is that most of the slave drivers who came to Africa, came with the Bible. Indeed, they had the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other. A quote attributed to Desmond Tutu reads, "When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land."

Nevertheless, I am unapologetic in my belief that Jesus Christ is the solution to Africa's problems. This may not make me very popular, but I don't write for popularity either. I write as an act of conscience. In the rigorous discipline of intellectual fisticuffs, a person must state and support their views; and we must agree to disagree. While some will be unable to reconcile faith with secular work, I have been able to do so, and it continues to prove beneficial.

There is a sound argumentation for my unusual prescription above. Yes, if what I am saying seems like madness, then surely there is a method in the madness. Having broached the idea of our inferiority complex in my previous offering, I am very much aware that the vast window through which I am clearly looking at the continent unearths a cardinal moral problem. Indeed, we have a moral crisis, and it is costing us greatly.

It is this reasoning that makes me believe, and suggest Jesus Christ as the solution to the continent's problems. Now, I am not just talking about the institutionalised Jesus that has seen many rather imprisoned in their thinking. I am referring to a correct application of Jesus' teachings. His teachings on love, probity, rectitude, and consideration for others etc. Applied in its holistic sense, and in the right context, certain vices will fade from the continent like mist flees before sunshine. Corruption will cease to exist on the continent; greed, tribalism, nepotism, cronyism, old-boyism etc. Like thrones, they will hasten to the ground, as all these do not align with Jesus' teachings. They are the undesirable fruits of a wrong and faulty heart, for which He offers puissant cure. I can boldly make this claim knowing the impact that following Jesus' teachings has had on my life; and considering its continuing influence, I stand unwavering and unflinching in my view. Let my critics offer their alternative.

Changing A Mindset
As a practical test of my strong proposition, let every professing believer start following exactly the truth in the Bible with hearts changed, and we will behold a palpable effect stirring in our societies. As for the theories and systems, many have been sold to us, and more will be sold to us; but, we will continue to lag behind because we have been unable to scale the imposing walls of our moral problem.

The typical black mind uses religion for gain, and not to improve his or her community. It is the way we think. We have inherited an oppressed mind. Undoubtedly, as a lasting imprint of our poverty and asperities, we love to hoard, and our selfishness continues to hamper our progress. In fact, we are selfish, and that is why when we get into government, for example, we would scheme to die in power, not necessarily because we love our country: it is for personal glorification and not for the common weal.

I remain unashamed in stating that if we can receive the truth of the unusual solution I have proposed above, and if we truly take Christ's teachings to heart, we will break the negative emotions and inferiority complex within, and start seeing ourselves as equals able to do what we need to improve our lot. Religion has many critics, but religion correctly applied emancipates rather than imprisons. The reverse is equally applicable.

A failing student may not necessarily be a bad student, but one who lacks the self-belief to apply themselves to their studies, and rise to their highest potentials. There is something about believing that you are good enough: it empowers, energises, and equips you for success.

Personally, I have had times when I have sat what were no doubt difficult examinations; but I have walked into the exam room with a certain gusto and aplomb, feeling confidently able that having maintained an assiduity to my studies; and laced my preparation with relevant spiritual impetration (Proverbs Twenty-One verse Thirty-One); yes, I walked in with chest out and a firm preparedness for what lay ahead; and as you may be able to tell, I passed with flying colours. Likewise, I am sure the concepts I subscribed to have far reaching applications. Thus, I believe that until the black mind is transformed, and it starts believing in its inherent potential, we will always be cheated, always be seen as inferior, and never rise to our fullest potential.

We have become a dumping ground for interminable aid, and yet our problems remain unsolved. I shall let down the gauntlet to any true donor who genuinely wishes to help: empower our minds, and not bulge our stomachs.

No matter the illimitable gallons of water you pour into a basket with holes, you will not realise much. While it is all well and good for people to keep coming to Africa, and say they are solving Africa's problems; isn't it equally sad that sometimes some of these panels convened to solve Africa's problems don't even get a fair representation of Africans on board? A lasting question is this: Do these people understand Africans—and our problems—at all?

As always, I shall garner the scraps of hope that I have within, and pray that at least one soul will begin to change his or her mind. Yes, change their thinking.

Finally, let's get rid of our negative mindset and mentality, and start believing in the stainless truth that we as a people have within us the ability to be great. For the night is far spent, and the dawn of change has broken. Let's hear the urgent sounds of duty sounding out, accept the fresh challenge, and rise to accomplish magnificent and majestic works, and thereby bequeath a priceless heritage to posterity.

Angelina K. Morrison/B]
E: [email protected]/B]

Angelina K. Morrison
Angelina K. Morrison, © 2015

This author has authored 39 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: AngelinaKMorrison

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