Mother… Why Was I Born Black? By Gimba Kakanda

By Gimba Kakanda

Calm down, patriot, those aren’t my words. Kindly transfer your anger to the grave of the Ugandan poet Okot p’Bitek who in his prose poetry book “Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol” lets loose an Africa-bashing black man who is an exact portrait of the subject in Frantz Fanon’s “Black Skin, White Mask”. Today I’m possessed by the rage that intoxicates Ocol [husband of Lawino, that proud daughter of Africa]—Ocol who asks us to set fire on “all the anthologies/ Of African literature/ And close down/ All the schools of African studies.” To Ocol, Africa is merely an “Idle giant/Basking in the sun,/ Sleeping, snoring,/ Twitching in dreams;.” Ocol is angry, and he is so for a reason, which is why, while asking us to arrest, disregard and dishonour the persons and memories of our intellectuals, poets, freedom fighters, monarchs and all advocates of pan-African ideologies and traditions, he challenges: “Can you explain/ The African philosophy/ On which we are reconstructing/ Our new societies?”  This question was asked by Ocol, a British-educated African, about the time of independence of many African countries. Half a century later, where is our longitude and latitude in the world geography of development?

Unlike Ocol, my anger has not lost its bearing, and it has not somersaulted into the lake of self-hate. But it’s close to that state, which is why I sound almost like a disowned son of Aime Cesaire. It is a valid excuse to blame the European explorers who disrupted the “darkness” of Black Africa in the era of their industrial revolution and led us through torturous years of slavery and then colonialism. The Europeans planted their greed on many strange lands, and their ideas in many people and thus left behind an explosion of identity crises which our ancestors couldn’t really manage. Here we are, still chained and imprisoned by petty antagonisms along the lines of governments, religions and ethnicity—Muslims against Christians, the Hutu against the Tutsi, democracy against the military, government against the people.
Africa has been the testing ground for all forms of evils, in governments, in religions, and in socio-economic structures. Today while the world is inventing new ideas and going on for grander scientific and technological prospects, Africa is still discussing “tribes” and related antiquities. The world has embarked on researches to understand human genetics and pathology, Africa is still fighting over whose religion is superior. The races whose people organised these religions have since moved on to higher rungs. The Arabs, of whom Prophet Muhammad was a member, now have the Burj Khalifas of modern tourism. And the Jews, of whom Jesus was a member, have the Albert Einsteins whose scientific “atheism” changed the way we see the world. . . Africa’s intellectuals and scientists are wasted in activisms of religious and ethnic advocacies; a battalion of them is lost in brain drains to the same West. The least we can offer to honour the struggles of our ancestors whose activisms were veritably for the redemptions of our identities is building an Africa of many possibilities; and Blackman who must not rush to Germany or India to treat his catarrh, who must not seek refuge or asylum in Europe and America on grounds of war, famine, education and social welfare.  
The trouble with man in Black Africa is largely his inability to solve the puzzles of his creation; man on the earth of Black Africa fails to look beyond two or so centuries ago, long before the coming of the Christian missionaries and Arab traders, to see a reason why we must never let these religions and politics of the foreigners push us towards anarchy. This man is still possessed by inferiority complexes, having been tactfully trained to see his history, personality and civilisation as nothing but wreckage salvaged by a people whose languages and cultures he has taken up.  
The world is not waiting for us, and the cry that the Europeans exploited us to build their civilisations is already clichéd. The task ahead of us now is matching the feats of our sisters, old colonies, who have beaten the colonisers in certain phases of developments. Singapore, a small island with no natural resources, has been awarded the best city in a world where Paris and New York have reigned since the wake of modern civilisation; India is performing magic, astonishing the West, in areas of information technology; Malaysia has beaten countries that once nursed it in not only building a country worthy of the name, but also it has become, for Africans, the leading headquarters of educational capitalism. The question to ask ourselves now is: is the Whiteman still in charge of our State Houses from Abuja to Addis Abba, Khartoum to Kigali? And in skirting the many excuses of conspiracy theories and neo-imperialism twaddle, I realise that Africa is actually suffering from a complicated case of low self-esteem at a time when we should be confident, in the chaotic universes of western imperialism, Christian materialism and Arab expansionism. May God save us from us!
Gimba Kakanda
Kakanda maintains a Friday column for the Abuja-based Blueprint Newspapers.
@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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Thanks for rebuking us and cheering us up as well. The problem is that you are short on workable solutions. Africa's traumatic experience in the hands of the West is real. What is also real, is that the colonialists, especially France, is still very much around. To deny that is to miss an important part of the equation. We must get to the root reasons for the dismemberment of Africa and the selfish and hastily bandaged entities called nations. I am not sure that these East Asian countries we are fond of citing had this experience. Look at how much energy,economic,and human capital we have wasted post independence trying to co-exist. While this is not the only problem, it is what disecting. Nigerians, if given a choice, will look different from this entity that few poeple love. USSR, Yugoslavia, and Sudan experience may benefit many African countries and that might be a good starting point to greatness that has eluded the BLACK MAN.

101 Percent Objective!

Brilliant writing, objective views!

African Rennaissance

Thank you for this. You have simple answered on of the puzzles that have been agitating my mind. The next challenge now is developing ways to turn the tide.

Everything Is Black

You see Mr. Kakanga, the thing is that the Black Man is his worst enemy, what I mean here is that a Black Man is just like one fighting his own shadow, can you define that?.
A black man is no different from an animal, at least these speices still have love to their kinds, but in the case of a Black Man, he is still confused with the definition of Love, because:- N0. 1. He doesnt know the value,
2. He doesnt know what it realy means,
3. He hardly work with it after knowing about it,
4. He doesnt care when its broken-up, or in a process of breaking up,
5. He says is white man thing.

Life is all about Love and understanding, any other part follows. To build a developed nation one needs to do it for the sake of others and for the sake of coming generations. Alas!!, not a Black Man. Assuming South Africa was handed over to the Blacks before apathied ensued, what would had being the result?.
So is high time to know now where the Sun rises and fall even Nigeria.

I'm happy Nigerians have

I'm happy Nigerians have finally understood that praying for the country has not solved any of our problems and will never solve them! I just wish they would take it a step further and understand that it will never solve your personal problems either! Human beings are what they make of themselves! I always say - if I work for thirty days and don't pray, I will get a salary to put food on my table, if I pray for thirty days and don't work, hunger will finish me! Heaven helps those who help themselves is just a diplomatic way of saying God has no business in running our affairs like our pastors and imams make us believe!
A comparison of Nigeria and western countries is proof that there is no God up there listening to prayers. The more we pray, the more brutish our lives become! The less they pray, the better their lives become!

Yes, we are the ones still

Yes, we are the ones still holding on to the daft notion that Jesus Christ died for us and have never actually stopped to ask ourself if that story sounds reasonable? Why did Jesus die for you? To cleanse you of original sin? Does that make any sense! If the original plan was to have Jesus sacrificed for our sins why is Judas iscariot who enabled this miracle of humanity to happen, vilified and hated till date? Should he not be celebrated? I wonder why it has not occurred to Christians that the reason for this fantastic tale is because the only way to explain how God was " captured and killed" by the Romans is to weave a story that would make it seem like the plan was for him to be sacrificed to cleanse mankind of original sin! What original sin? Eating the apple? If God wanted us to procreate why would eating the apple be a sin?
As the writer said, while the west is making advances in science that impact humanity, we are embracing religion and the stupidity that comes with it.