Iam African, and sadly, we are a country

The reference to Africa as a ‘country’ may perhaps be out of ignorance because we are 54 countries. But on further reflection, I think it is safe to say that we are a country because what happens in The Gambia equally happens in Ethiopia from a Political context. The characteristics are similar going from bad leadership, rigging of votes and corruption

Going through my old books and i fell on Dambudzo Marechera’s House of Hunger . I re-read a line i had underlined. It reads:
“The freedom we craved for – as one craves for dagga or beer or cigarretes or the after-life – this was so alive in our breath and in our fingers that one became intoxicated by it even before one had actually found it…”
Marechera was, of course, talking about the student movement (or rather, the mood of students) in Zimbabwe pre-1980 (the year that Zimbabwe got her independence).
Marechera wrote House of Hunger in 1978, towards the end of the Second Chimurenga. What I like about this particular passage is that it speaks to the situation in Uganda and Many African states. The freedom that our people craved for, the excitement that our people had before colonial times about freedom, intoxicated us. We had such high expectations.We thought democracy would mean a lot We thought poverty would be history. We thought we’d achieve genuine equality.

Fast forward, looking at the post independent States and how they are organized politically, it’s safe to conclude that the excitement and aspirations were lost at the altar of leadership.

Liberation Movements and Coups; Upon grant of independence,many states were divided along ethnic lines and failed to agree on a way forward as dictatorship and other vices set in. This led to the start of Liberation movements which reasoned that the post independence governments were didn’t lead the people on the democratic principles and rule of law.

The contradictions; Most of Africa’s liberation Movements turn out worse than the so called bad governments they overthrew. Just found myself re-reading the speech that comrade Joshua Nkomo made at the funeral of ZIPRA Commander, comrade Lookout Masuku, in 1986. He makes a profound point about how a liberation movement that fights for the independence of a people can transform into becoming the oppressor that it defeated, and at times even commit worse atrocities than the oppressor. This made me think on a more general level about how as human-beings we so often fight monsters only to become exactly like them. In other words, that is how ZANU had turned into the oppressor overnight. There are a plethora of examples to mention in Africa so when we say that Africa is a country, we are pointing out what went wrong.

Lastly on the Armed Forces in African states,they are used to beat up and shoot at the government opposition. Iam reminded of the poignant words,

“When you are carrying arms that can spit fire and death, and when you receive orders standing to attention in front of a flag without knowing who will benefit from this order or these arms, you become a potential criminal who is just waiting to spread terror around you. How many soldiers are going around such and such country and bringing grief and desolation without understanding that they are fighting men and women who argue for the same ideals as their own? Children of workers who see their parents going on strike against reactionary regimes, join the army and accept to fight for the reactionary leaders. So a soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal…” – Thomas Sankara, The Upright Man. So looking at the Tigray region in Ethiopia and Uganda and how armed forces have shot and killed innocent people, the #ENDSARS in Nigeria, it is safe to say that Africa is a country.

8 Comments

  1. I would almost think you are talking about my country…. Wait you are!!!
    Africa is a country, well maybe not in the ignorant sense of those who don’t know it’s got 50+ independant states
    But everything is so similar pick a country, any country and the story is the same…… Meaningless elections which only serve to pick the one who will loot the country next because they liberated you from oppression….
    Is this our legacy?
    ~B

    PS Dambudzo Marechera knew how to rile up the system

      1. And how weird is it that it’s easier or shall we say safer to write about another country, were i to write this exact post, i would probably be looking for asylum 🤣🤣
        ~B

  2. I have made reference to these sentiments in my blogs before. One would think that African leaders are siblings or something… The latest casualties are the Ugandan people. Before them it was the Malians… As long as the “revolutionaries” are still in power, Africa will not improve in any way possible.

  3. The last reminds me of something I shares on Twitter:

    “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” —Malcolm X

  4. Bad leadership has always being the bane of African countries.

    The oppression by our own people and poor governance is the inevitable storm that will capsize the boat we share.

    Sad reality and it seems like we’re helpless against it.

  5. I concur with the idea that Africa is a country as a matter of fact I would say Africa is a family with all the countries in it as siblings because the relationship between all the mishap misappropriation bad leadership corruption and all other devices that take place in Africa is like that of your family the similarity is very strong may God help us

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