Saturday, 1 October 2016

Sapped of Manliness

The first batch of slaves was shipped away to the West in 1526, and the last batch was “planed” away just today.

Picture this: You accidentally barge into a small home of about five people; a man and his family. You are lost (or claim to be) and on wandering in, you notice that there is plenty of food lying everywhere – rice, garri, milk. But these folks do not know how to prepare jollof, or eba, or tea. If you have people at home to be fed, wouldn’t you take as much supplies as you want, and even more, since they seem not to know the value of what they have.
Now, as you’re busy gathering these things, the man says, “Hey stranger, why not take my son and daughter and give me that bottle of dry gin that I may get high and sleep off while you loot my house dry! Come on, be sincere, wouldn’t you toss him that bottle, make his children carry enough food to your house, go fetch more bottles and return for more. It’s only the natural thing to do; as humans, we tend to want more for less – the true mother of all invention.
If you could make a mental screenshot of the above, then you can understand what ensued in Africa from the 16th century through 19th century (and is still happening now in subtlety). 
In terms of work force, Africa is grossly blessed. Africa arguably has the highest count of men (and women) able and willing to work, learn and create, but majority of who are diligently “tilling another man’s land”. Apparently, riches do not lie in the possession but in the adequate utilization of resources. One can therefore say, without fear of doubt, that Africa has great work force but little human capital and Slavery is the chief cause – “paleo-slavery” as well as “neo-slavery”. The first batch of slaves was shipped away to the West in 1526, and the last batch was “planed” away just today.
Approximately 15 million able bodied men and women were shipped across the Atlantic to serve as plantation tenders, factory workers, maid servants, builders, gladiators, miners and even ‘zoo animals’. A huge number were clubbed to death, left to suffer and die of curable diseases, thrown overboard during sea waves, or just killed as examples to others. Unimaginable inhumane deeds were meted on African slaves acclaimed to have contributed greatly to development in Europe and the Americas in the days of the transatlantic slave trade.
Has much really changed in this era of neo-slavery? From the early 20th century to date, millions of Africans have made their way, and are still clamoring, to move to the West. Some may argue that they do this at their own will, but you do not have to program a computer each time you want to use it. You just use it! Things have already been programmed to Africa’s disadvantage, so, her children just act. An alarming number of the neo-slaves work tirelessly for ridiculous sums, suffer brutal victimization, are accused falsely, are shot for being black, and are psychologically tortured. So, they variably suffer the same fate as the paleo-slaves, have no choice, work and weep internally and hope to buy themselves freedom someday, someday.
A small portion of the blame lies on the African of course. The high-sea robber and exploiters, who guised as explorers, looted Africa’s valuables and employed them in developing the streets of Birmingham, Lisbon and Boston but when the African manages to exploit ‘his own’ resources, he uses it to develop the house of Chief Ciroma Chukwuma Adekunle – his own very mansion. The typical African is yet to outgrow seeing to his needs and his needs alone. Sorry, I really meant frivolous wants.
One of the commodities the Europeans gave to chiefs in exchange for slaves was ‘mirror’. With a mirror, the chief could focus on HIMSELF, and admire his awesomeness. Another commodity was gun (and gunpowder) to destroy his neighbors and become the only powerful chief in the province, all, gearing towards SELF-concentration and narcissism.
Relating to African leaders of the past, the contemporary leader gathers common-wealth to HIMSELF in a bid to out-own his counterparts and become the most powerful around. As a result, resources have become scarce causing batches after batches of slaves to jet out in search of bread, for the will to adapt and survive is an irrepressible human trait. These good looking slaves wear ironed clothes and polished shoes. The chains have turned to paychecks, the whips have transformed into targets, the bells have morphed into alarm clocks, the plantations are now small tables and the consolation songs are now in form of phone calls from home.

Perhaps, someday, African leaders (indeed African men in general) will learn to look beyond themselves and begin to sincerely build the nation. Perhaps, soon, this craving and craze for purchasing properties in Dubai, dumping national loots in Switzerland, holidaying in France and buying Spanish wine to shake and pop will naturally wane. Perhaps, in a short while, there will be a clarion call for all the children of Africa to come home and develop their land whilst enjoying its ample hospitality. But till then, should the African child not labor in Canada as long as bread is sure? Shouldn’t he toil in Germany and at least stay alive until his overfed leader finally decides to stop trading him for egotistic commodities?
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