Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The real tragedy about colonialism

Almost daily one reads shrill laments about colonialism, mostly from folk who never even experienced any of it. The complainants are adept at blaming long dead Caucasians for the current socio-economic plight of our African people across the continent.
Zimbabwe which, as at Independence in April 1980, had the best resources, infrastructure and human capital in Africa, now languishes in the bottom four (4) poorest nations on the planet. Members of the“ignorant masses”, quislings and beneficiaries of incompetent, corrupt governments routinely sally forth, claim and posture that the reason for the very bad state of affairs in African countries is to be laid at the door of colonialists and even something now called “neo-colonialists”.
These claims are made as regards countries that have been independent for over 50 years and, in the case of Zimbabwe,33 years.
They bandy these accusations about while loving and lusting for just about everything that can hardly be called “African” such as modern homes, money, clothes, cars, televisions … etc … etc … [see picture].
In that picture only the lady is "local". Not even the trees and grass are local.

Of course this mindset has been promoted,encouraged and instilled by the incompetent and corrupt governments we have as a sure fire strategy to distract our gullible people from the real cause of their plight.  When people are crying about imaginary enemies, they are blind to the current reality. The 3rd Reich did this in Germany by postulating the Jews as the problem.
Just recently, none other than the President of South Africa, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, had the nerve to claim that load shedding of electricity, in his incredibly resourced country, was due to apartheid that ended some twenty-one (21) years ago. The obvious reason was, in fact, incompetent management of energy resources.
When indulging in these “blame storming” rants about the invasion of Africa by colonialists, it is also the norm to postulate Africa as having been a peaceful continent in which the “goodness” of African culture abounded. The harsh reality of the subsistence level, "iron age", strife-ridden, and highly patriarchal, despotic and tyrannical way of life then largely endured by struggling tribes, is simply glossed over as apologists for Africa’s current failure mount their attacks and excuses on the colonialists.

The reality is that colonialism was inevitable. From the time Cain killed Abel the culture of “venture forth, increase and multiply, invade, conquer and subjugate” had been the universal culture of man on this planet. The Greeks did it; the Romans did it; the Vikings did it; Genghis Khan did it. Ghengis Khan is credited with having killed more humans in his invasion of Asia than were killed in the last two world wars. There is hardly a region that did not have this experience. Our people simply ignore this historical reality and especially that our very own King Shaka Zulu, Mzilikazi and Lobengula did exactly the same thing in this region. Their Mfecane campaigns depopulated whole regions in these parts. Cecil John Rhodes and Shaka had exactly the same culture, i.e, that "might was right". It was the way of the World back then.

The World only changed its mind about the culture of “might is right” in 1948, when it signed off on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations after two (2) bloody World Wars and the Holocaust.

Like the rest of the World and Africa, this region was hardly a place of peace, order, prosperity and brotherly love. For instance, Zimbabwe was a region that had been invaded by Mzilikazi, who arrived from the South. When the colonialists arrived the region was in the grip of Lobengula, son of Mzilikazi,who was despotic as regards his own Amandebele people and tyrannical as regards the rest. Lobengula would throw a spear into the ground and his impis would then go in that direction and raid, kill, maim, rob and rape all and sundry encountered as a matter of routine.

The reality therefore was that life was tough for our people in Africa ... very tough indeed.  It is a truism that the little mosquito had most of Africa in check, ensuring that regions could never be overpopulated on account of malaria.
What brings this into very sharp focus is the issue of the slave trade. Africans were just as complicit in the slave trade as were the masters of the ships that arrived to collect them.  It was Africans that delivered and sold their own to the slave ships.
As said, this region was no different. It was a harsh, brutish struggle for survival for all our people who had not yet even advanced to having invented the wheel, that the rest of the World had for over 4,000 years.

What Africa did have in somewhat limitless abundance was wildlife. It is nigh impossible to describe how richly blessed Africa was as regards fauna and flora. Great herds of antelope and elephant roamed freely across vast plains. Noble animals such as lion, rhinoceros and leopard lived and flourished in abundance. 

I had a glimpse of what it was like when I visited Botswana in September, 1975. Botswana was a huge country and sparsely populated, just as Africa had been. It was then the fourth (4th) least developed country in the World.
Sitting in camp at Savuti we were surrounded by wild animals of every description, including lion. Wildebeest grunted, buffalo bellowed, baboons screeched, hyena wailed, elephants trumpeted, lions roared one night ... until the very ground was vibrating in response to a crescendo of quadraphonic sound that went through to my very soul.
At that moment my own mortality and insignificance in the grand scheme of things was brought home to me with an intensity that has never left me. In an instant I realized that I was just one part, a teeny weenie part of a creation that is actually unimaginable.

In that grand scheme of things animals were dominant ... very, very much so.
Man was but just one part of an infinitely variable, beautiful tapestry of vibrant life in which animals were dominant.

Alas it is no more.
Selfish, brutish, acquisitive and mercenary man has cruelly invaded, conquered and destroyed the wondrous world that Africa once was.
Our people have actually materially benefited from colonialism, in that they were picked up to join the rest of the World with its technological advancements.  To-day some are adept at using PCs, that are products of that advancement, to complain, point fingers and blame.
But it is Africa’s animals that have suffered … suffered terribly … with many now facing extinction.

Today many of our African governments with Botswana. led by President Ian Khama being an exception, are fully complicit in the decimation of Africa's richest heritage, having been corrupted by an avaricious,  acquisitive and mercenary culture.
The hunting industry is founded on the proposition that a human is entitled to "enjoy" killing, i.e, that to be a pervert is acceptable and that money should be made out of perverts.

Then we all surprised that there has been such a huge loss of the spirit of humanity on this continent.

That is the real tragedy of Africa.

This dominance by man; this loss of the human spirit; is benefiting neither the continent, nor its creatures, nor man himself.

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