Food for Thought: African Handouts

After visiting Pen Powder's blog the other night, I started thinking (yet again) about the plight of mother Africa as a whole. How can the most resource rich continent be so abjectly poor, governed by dynasties of despots who reinforce the illegitimate actions of their fellow tyrannical despots through lavish gifts the likes of which most of their countrymen will never see? I know it's nothing new and has been going on since we started to gain our independence but it came upon me again, and I was enraged (you will start to see a pattern with me, I get enraged and then I feel you must know about it! Sorry!).

When I was still in school and the term 'third-world country' was still politically correct (if you don't know, it is no more, instead we now have LEDCs - Less Economically Developed Countries - get to know!) I learnt that Africa was the ONLY continent on God's good earth that was 100% third-world. Yes, people the WHOLE thing including the likes of Egypt and South Africa, who were not classed second-world like Brazil was (the mind boggles...). Anyhoo...after President Obama (Omama) came to Ghana and spoke to the people about Africa solving her own problems many Africans were outraged. How can our brother come and say such things to us? Does he not realise that our continent was ravaged and pillaged by the colonial powers and they still have us in chains?

Now, don't get me wrong I have sympathies with the neo-colonial arguments. There is barely anywhere in Africa you can look without seeing American, British or French neo-colonialism, you only have to look at Liberia, Angola or Sierra Leone (to name a few) to be slapped in the face with it. And in much the same way that African-Americans can still complain about the effects of slavery crippling their people the same can be said of Africa's neo-colonialism.

However, just like I feel African-Americans use slavery as an all-encompassing excuse for social degradation and low achievement so do Africans. Firstly, Obama is your brother? Really?!?!?! His Dad originated from Kenya, he is half-white and fully American, is it so surprising that he came out with that view? Think about it, as a high-achieving black American I'm sure he's heard all the complaints about 'the white man keeping us down' and has decided that a lot of the time they are excuses. But just as the whole 'Cambridge officer acted stupidly' incident indicated, he is not unaware of what black people face in his country. In the same way with his connection to Africa, I doubt he is unaware of how thoroughly his country has colonised his father's continent.

However, he did see it as an excuse for Africa to blame their plight on other people and I think to some degree he is right. We are all too ready to blame other people for our problems, while we are in in a position to do something about it. I'm a firm believer that its the little things that we do which create the stage and pave the way for bigger movements and change. This is no less the case when we are dealing with the mammoth task of making out continent more self-sufficient. Tell me how on earth can we complain about Africa begging for handout's when on a local level we perpetuate the very same type of behaviour. Are we (as in Africans abroad) not in anyway responsible for this 'give me, I want, I need, you owe me' attitude when many of us are killing ourselves over here to feed and clothe those who are more than capable of doing it themselves?

Now before I am inundated with personal attacks about not understanding poverty, blah-de-blah, consider...I know a family of six living in a teeny, tiny flat, in a bad area who are really struggling for basics. A 2 bed flat and one of the rooms is a half room really, can't make ends meet and merely existing exacerbates their poverty. Yet they are in abrokyrie (tr. abroad) and so life is great? Hmmm, so supporting 8, 9 people in Ghana who claim to want need, etc. new laptops and mobile phones to show off with is understandable? Repeatedly sending 'school fees' only to be told school fees have not been paid and now are desperately owing or else poor little Kojo can't finish school? They do not live in shoddy housing and many do not work because abrokyrie will provide? Consider, my mother's younger sister in Ghana has four kids and a husband, a shop my mum got for her and a house abrokyrie money built for her. All her children will be able to go to school to the highest level. But she doesn't work and yet when she needs things and abrokyrie should provide?

If we do not stop such fuckeries on a local level then Africa will never stop it on an international scale either. Since cutting off my Aunty's requests for 'needs', the woman has been slowly learning self-sufficiency. It's long, painful and at time she makes damn silly decisions but she must make them in order to grow.

So do you agree that:

  • We (as in Africans abroad) are in part responsible for this 'give me, I want, I need, you owe me' attitude?
  • Effecting a change in abrokyrie-relatives-back-home dependency will benefit our continent?
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6 opinionated people have something to say:

Sankofa said...

I feel you on this man! I've been trying to extol the virtues of recognising the difference between a want and a need for time. So when I visit Ghana, you may want my fly-ass sandals that I used my hard-earned student loan to pay for :-D but you don't need them.

I think the idea that fiscal dependency on the "developed" world in Africa is symptomatic of familial dependency is an interesting one, and certainly deserves some exploration. Perhaps with a change of mindset, we can exercise this new attitude in our quest to decrease our dependency on the West.

Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

That there is only one reply -- up until my repy -- in my view reflects the fatigue that Africans themselves possess over the state of Africa!! You might enjoy this blog :

AFrica must unite! That's the only key!

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens said...

@ Emmanuel I think you are right, there does seem to be fatigue by African's about Africa, or maybe they just don't care. A sobering thought! I'll check out the blog thou, thanx :D

@Sankofa - It is something I would love to research....hmmm, maybe the phD is on!

Mike said...

The fuckeries!(u know I had to say that, right?). I agree, that needs to be curtailed at the local/ home level, before it extends to the continent.
On the other hand, I don't think the people are tired. They just dont care. We are not "matyr- minded". No one is ready to take the hit for the team. We seem to think of today, not tomorrow.

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens said...

@ Mike, Do we (Africans) not care, or are we selfish? I really wonder sometimes, there is no martyr-mindedness, true. But is this not another product of the fact that we don't teach it? If you want to be a martyr the average African will call you a fool. We don't seem to be able to comprehend that to do something that has benefits to anyone other than ourselves is something to be praised and encouraged.

Friday's Afro said...

I don't know if it's selfishness, but I remmember that when I went to Ghana my auntie pointed out that in front of every palatial house is a nice bit of pavement but apart from that: red dust anyone? the only community spirit is the one that lets any adult smack any child.

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