Adaobi on Sunday: Africa The Dark Continent


Hello my dears!

I really do not feel like writing. To be honest, doing a lot of things lately has come with “I REALLY DON’T FEEL LIKE”. From the high fever that came with the Nigerian elections being won and lost, to the unprecedented statements by an esteemed figure in what may be considered hate speech, to the appalling hate opinions on social media that further showed how disunited we have become, my mind certainly had too much to take in that my body started acting out the “I REALLY DON’T FEEL LIKE IT” script. I hope this too shall pass.

The past month has caused me to consider the hate, the wickedness, the unthinkable atrocities committed by a black man against a fellow brother man – Blackman against Blackman syndrome. Chai! I weep for my continent because we are not only dark in colour, but the darkness has also eroded our hearts and our connection as part of the human family.

I sat on my desk going through posts on my Facebook page, and I saw horrific pictures of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. What did my eyes see? Mothers set ablaze with their children, young children of my son’s age ringed with tyres, grown men and women with eyes filled with fear and sorrow begging to be spared. Yet an animal, a pig, a baboon in the form of a man, black as charcoal lit a match and has human beings roasting like a chicken for dinner. It was not an attack by the whites against blacks, a history of which is well documented, it was Blackman against Blackman. Chai! I weep for you Africa.

As my eyes welled up with tears and a thousand sighs left my lips looking at the pictures and videos, I did not notice my younger son calling out to me to check my burning soup. “Mummy why are you watching this kind of killing film? Mummy please why are you crying like this?” I held him so tight to my chest, weeping for my poor little innocent boy, and the thousands of children out there in the black African continent who may never make it to their teen years, or make it without having someone to call mummy.

I told my boy the story of the xenophobic acts going on right now in South Africa, and though he was not happy as I told him, he listened attentively to me. I was intrigued by his take on my story: “Mummy these people are wicked ooh, but I hope when we visit there again all these killing will stop because I still want to go to that park you took us the last time we visited, and you know you promised to buy me that Tigre jacket.” I didn’t know whether to lash out at him, or laugh at his innocence.

How do I begin to instill a fear that his mind is not even willing to acknowledge? Despite seeing the horrific pictures, what he comprehends is only but “a killing movie”. On the other hand, I see the faces of the children who have died or lost their parents to meaningless killings in this seeming cursed continent. Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Mob justice, Xenophobia, etc., etc., etc. Why? Haven’t we learnt anything from our fellow black brothers like Martin Luther king Jnr who preached non-violence? Or Nelson Mandela who exemplified grace and self-denial so that his black brothers will have a good life? Not too long ago, Goodluck Jonathan showed in words and action that his “ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian”, as he graciously conceded the election. Why can’t we emulate the commendable actions of these few mentioned here, and so many other unsung HEROES and HEROINES of my beautiful Africa?

I still consider the African man as backward, as we continue to justify the term THE DARK CONTINENT. The other continents with earnest are innovating and transforming their societies, while we butcher each other. Butchers!!! Shame on our leaders who are so selfish, and the citizens who have sold out.

I am not proudly African right now. Sorry Mandela you suffered for animals. In your next world, please try to find yourself in the Western World where heroes live on even long after they are gone. Please my people, must all Africa do is leave behind scores of tears, sorrow and blood? Let us begin to demand that inhabitants of the continent strive for good governance where human lives are seen as sacred and worthy of the good life.

Till I write again, I love you for reading.


 Photo-Credit: Wikipedia

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