I listened to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speak in her presentation “The Danger of a Single Story” and she said “…if I had not grown up In Nigeria and if all I knew from Africa were from popular images, I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals, and incomprehensible people fighting senseless wars; dying of poverty and AIDS; unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind white foreigner…”. I asked myself how far from the true picture this statement is.
The history of slavery in Africa paints the picture of an opportunist Western World cashing in on the lack of mental enlightenment to deceive us into handing them our own brothers and sisters to work their industrial revolution into reality. But I know that every human being is not only born with a conscience, but also with a will to either enforce right or permit evil, and that is irrespective of the color of your skin. And so I ask, “Why did the slave trade succeed; was it just because the West had the ability to bomb us into submission, or …?”
According to the UNAIDS, over 75% of deaths from HIV/AIDS in 2007 were in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact a Ugandan MP was urging the government to place a ban on funerals on weekdays some years back, as people spent more time going for burials, no thanks to the high level of deaths from HIV/AIDS related cases. So, are Africans more promiscuous than the rest of the world or what? (At least I know of a particular European country that is a core host to Nigerian girls who are going for prostitution).
Back home in Nigeria. I know that Nigerian crude fuels a size able part of the industrialized world, and the fact is that they do not get these resources for free from us, yet we owe them billions of dollars as a nation. I grew up learning about the groundnut pyramids and large cotton plantations in Northern Nigeria, the heavy cocoa export from Western Nigeria, rubber, kolanuts, etc. We all seem to be farming crude oil now, and we import the most ridiculous things, those that should not cost us too much to produce ourselves.
Africans are seen as the bottom of the totem pole in almost anything progressive, from development to education, from public health to good governance. Yet we are seen as the top players in sustaining long running conflicts and churning out the worse leaders the world over.Leaders from African countries classified as poor are major depositors in Swiss Banks,posing the question of where all the wealth comes from.
What can be said to be the reason for our setbacks as a people?
WHY ARE WE WHERE WE ARE?