Monday, 27 October 2014

Can Africa be saved from itself?

"Sorry to offend but in my books Blacks were the architects of Apartheid. Go figure." - Steve Hofmeyr 11:33 AM - 23 Oct 2014

On 26 October he posted the following tweets on Twitter tagged as #RealArchitectsOfApartheid :

"Denial.Expected no less. It's tough to know that no-one wanted to play with you. They even institutionalised a little distance.
If other kids don’t want to play with you, it isn’t always their fault
If nobody wanted to invite you in as partner, it wasn’t always their fault
If nobody wanted to assimilate to your collective habits, it wasn’t always their fault
If folk did not want to share a country with you, why is it always their fault?
If governments send you home on trains and trucks back to this continent, it isn’t always their fault
If other governments tighten immigration laws against you, it isn’t always their fault
If the world doesn’t buy into African systems, mentality and reputation, it isn’t always their fault
If there has hardly been a prosperous black-led country, it isn’t always other people’s fault
If international investors flee the country, it isn't always their fault
If women, toddlers, grannies complain about your contribution to the rape rate, it isn’t always their fault
If horrified citizens complain about your contribution to the murder rate, it isn’t always their fault
If, back then, a sovereignty legislated you out of their lives, it wasn’t always their fault
If nobody is envious of pre- or post colonial African achievement, it isn’t always their fault
Does anybody get the metaphor now? Apartheid was cruel, unfortunate and unsustainable, but WHAT inspired that maddening segregation?"

Following on Mr. Hofmeyr said, let us consider the following:

In an article entitled ‘SA could become like Nigeria’, 26 October, Professor Kole Omotoso (The "Yebo Gogo" man in Vodacom's television advertising campaign of some 20 years ago), an African himself, says:

The question I keep going back to, and which really gets to me, is this: What were the leaders of African countries thinking when they got their independence in the 1960s?

“They must have had such big dreams of what was possible in a post-colonial era. I think so often of all the people I got to know during apartheid who were involved with the anti-apartheid movement… What were they all hoping for when South Africa was finally liberated? And why has that dream been shattered? What kind of people have allowed this to happen?”

Although based in South Africa, Omotoso visits Nigeria regularly. “It is a real tax on the senses. It is so good to be back in a country [South Africa] where you don’t have as much hassles to deal with on a very basic everyday existence – like roads, lack of electricity, and running water. It’s good to be back,” he said.

Nigeria has been crippled by corruption. “Take the steel industry for example. The government awarded a contract to a company to build steel factories in 1979. When it was 90 percent completed, it was abandoned, then re-awarded to the same company for another amount of money, and then abandoned again. When each government comes in, they award the same project. Nigeria is a country that talks about industrialisation but hasn’t produced a nail. There are no municipal services, so every house is a local government on its own. In Nigeria you could not ask to see a domestic municipal bill… there is nothing like that. So you walk down the street, and you will see and hear one generator plant after the other, from house to house. The noise is unbearable."

“There is also no meaningful provision of electricity or water. Everybody has their own generator or water supply." "... although the president is in power, Corruption is in control. Corruption is the decisionmaker.”

Omotoso had a warning for South Africa: “We might get to a point where the ANC is in power but corruption is the decisionmaker.”

Is South Africa heading towards being crippled by corruption? “Yes, I think so, and it’s happening fast. Take the arms deal… It’s a case of those in power going out and buying something the country does not need because of a huge kickback. What was the deciding factor in going for that deal? Was it security needs or corruption? You can reduce the arms deal down to what is happening on a local government level, where projects become ‘ATMs’ for governments in power as they keep awarding contracts at inflated costs to society.

“What is particularly disturbing is the way people accept corruption in South Africa."

“They have not experienced living in a country that’s been brought to its knees by corruption, where corruption is in power. Nigeria has reached that point. We in SA have not.”

Back in 1969, John Mbiti, a Professor of African Philosophy and Religion, an African himself, explained 'The African Concept of Time':

"He wrote that the concept of time may help to explain beliefs, attitudes, practices, and general way of life of African people, not only in the traditional set up, but also in the modern situation (whether political, economical, educational or church life).

Time to Mbiti, in African concept, is of little or no academic concern, especially in their traditional life. In his words, to Africans, time is simply a composition of events which have occurred, those which are taking place now and those which are immediately to occur. He wrote that what has not taken place or what has no likelihood of an immediate occurrence falls in the category of “No time”. What is certain to occur, or what falls within the rhythm of natural phenomena is in the category of inevitable or potential time.

In the traditional African setting, according to Mbiti, time is a two dimensional phenomenon, with a long past, a present and virtually no future. This is contrary to the linear time concept in western thought, with an indefinite past, present and future. Based on his research in some tribes in East Africa, Mbiti concluded that African has no time consideration in the perspective of the future. This is because the events in the future have not taken place."

"Mbiti portrayed that beyond a few months from the present, African concept of time is silent and indifferent. To him, it means that the future is virtually non-existence as actual time. To them, what will constitute future should be extremely brief. This is so because any meaningful event in the future must be so immediate and certain that people have almost experienced it.

On the other hand, if the event is remote, say beyond two years from now then, it cannot be conceived by the people. It cannot be spoken of and the language themselves have no verb tenses to convert that distant future dimension of time.

It becomes obvious that time in the African concept, at the pre colonial era is tied to or related to the events of the time. The linear time was alien to the people. They see time in the perspective of actuality, dominated by events. Time to them has to be experienced. It makes meaning to them when it is related to whether, seasons, natural phenomena around them. Time then was not mathematical or numerical. It is simply time as experienced by the people in relation to events around them."

Just recently, one of the reasons the ANC Regime's President Jacob Zuma believed criminal charges against him relating to the SA arms deal should be dropped was because corruption is only a crime in a “Western paradigm”.

In 2006, Zuma said that a woman wearing a wrap or a kanga, construed a sexual signal, and that “in Zulu culture, you don’t just leave a woman [when she is aroused] ... she will have you arrested and say you are a rapist”.

A Rare, Astonishing Conversation with Credo Mutwa - by Rick Martin 1999, The SPECTRUM newspaper

"I live in Africa. Here are my people. Here is my home. But I see Africa being destroyed in wars that make no sense whatsoever to me as an African. I look at India which, like Africa, suffered the scourge of colonialism by the French, the English, and other European powers. But India, through her independence as a country, has achieved the things which we, Africa, have failed to achieve. Why?

India has exploded the atomic bomb and is today one of the feared nations of this world. India has launched satellites into orbit. India, although she has the same problems as Africa has-a burgeoning population, religion as well as tribal strife-although India has got an incredibly poor section of her population, as well as an incredibly rich one, she has achieved things that Africa has failed to achieve."

"I am in South Africa now. Here I was born, and here I was to die. But I see my country falling apart like a rotting mango. South Africa was once a powerful country. She had a powerful army. She had huge industries, which were producing everything from locomotives to little radios. But today my country has become a drug-sodden, crime-ridden piece of rubbish. Why?"

"There are wars which take place in Africa, where after an African country has gained its independence from the colonial power, then a force of rebels pick up weapons against that country’s government, but instead of the rebels fighting the government to the bitter end, what happens again and again is that the rebel forces split into various groups which end up fighting not only the government in power, but also each other. And the result is that, in several African countries, the country is so destroyed that, no matter which party wins, the people lose. In other words, Africans have now started fighting wars which bring about not victory, but the destruction of themselves, as well as their people."

"There were no drugs in South Africa during the days of the apartheid government. Now, under our democratic government, our country has become one drug-sodden cess pit. Why?"

In a speech during the festive season in KwaZulu-Natal in 2012, ANC President Jacob Zuma told Africans that “Even if you apply any kind of lotion and straighten your hair you will never be white,”

References and Further Reading:

Steve Hofmeyr

‘SA could become like Nigeria’ - By Sue Segar

African Concept of Time, a Socio-Cultural Reality in the Process of Change, Journal of Education and Practice, Vol.4, No.7, 2013

Zuma wanted charges dropped because corruption is a Western thing

Seven ways you know you're an African, according to Jacob Zuma

A Rare, Astonishing Conversation by Rick Martin

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