As I was watching Carte Blanche this Sunday on TV my mind started working overtime. My thoughts started drifting and pondering on the events that have taken place on the African continent since the 1960s. I came up with a rather disturbing picture. Well over fifty percent of the countries have military rulers who got there by staging coups. The ones who could not entrench themselves strongly were in turn kicked out by the staging of further coups. A place like Mauritania has had about five coups since independence in the 1960s. Most of the countries on the bulge of Africa have had more than one coup. Much the same can be said about Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Congo to mention a few more.
Most of the problems of Africa are blamed on the colonial masters of the past. I accept that the colonial masters are not blameless but most of these countries have been free of their masters for in excess of fifty years. They all took over countries which were relatively functional. They seem to have a penchant to make these countries dysfunctional. Hospitals, schools, roads and infrastructure fall into a state of disrepair. Nothing seems to work properly.
An interesting thought. If the British, French, Dutch, Italians, Belgians and Germans had not colonized Africa I wonder what the scenario would be today. Africa would in all probability be very sparsely populated. I doubt whether the different African ethnic groups would have left each other alone. The genocide that is taking place in Rwanda would have happened in many more countries. At least the colonialists kept the African people from slaughtering each other.
The saddest thing for me on this whole scene is the gap between the poor and the people who hold and exercise the power in the different countries. We have millions of people on the African continent who live in abject poverty and appalling conditions. Many do not know where their next meal is coming from let alone any hope for the future. We have a very good example of this right next door to us in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe has amassed an awful amount of wealth outside the country. He takes about $500,000.00 US dollars in cash with him on each and every one of the fifteen to twenty overseas trips that he makes every year. His wife goes on unbelievable shopping sprees while the people in Zimbabwe are starving. This accumulation of wealth and possessions by the people in power is an endemic sickness right throughout Africa. The means by which this takes place is through bribery, corruption and just plain theft. Incompetent “struggle comrades” are placed in positions of authority. They are placed in positions of authority in various government institutions, ministries and municipalities. Once in these positions they methodically set about enriching themselves at the expense of the masses that placed their political parties in power. They succeed in making a mess of the organizations that they run. They award themselves huge so-called performance bonuses while there are a lot of starving people around. I really question the morality of this whole situation.
The naivety and dumbness of the African psyche is difficult for me to understand. Is it because of the inborn superstitions that abound throughout Africa. They keep on putting the same people back into power over and over again despite all the unfulfilled promises.
When we look at South Africa how certain are we that it is not going to go the same route as the most of the rest of Africa. If the African National Congress lost an election would they accept defeat graciously? Anyone who believes so is living in a fool’s paradise. I am sure they would find a way to hang onto power and the wealth that goes with it. Land reforms are showing signs of going the same as are happening in Zimbabwe.
The continent of Africa is incredibly rich in resources and minerals. I would say to my fellow citizens of this continent accept the past as an experience otherwise it will poison your very being. Take this very moment and turn it into something good. Forget your ethnic hang-ups that you have about each other and rather become a useful member of the human race. Stop killing each other. The destiny of this continent lies in the hands of its inhabitants and not in London, Moscow, New York or other parts of the world.