I want to feel offended by the disparaging terms in which Lugard describes the African but I find myself hurt instead by the accuracy of his observations.
Lord Fredrick Lugard in his book, ‘The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa’writes , “in character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person, lacking in self control,discipline and foresight. Naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewellery, His thoughts are concetrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past”
A while ago I was discussing with colleagues from different African countries and each example was funny but what took the day was the Malawian President Chakwera boarding a plane to attend a zoom meeting, Africa is amazing and I have thus become cynical in commentary on African Politics. Thence I ask, how did we get here? Why do we behave collectively like Siamese twins, need we have colonialists back, was everything in order then?
“Here’s a piece of heresy…The British had the experience of governing and doing it competently. I am not justifying colonialism. But it is important to face the fact that British colonies, more or less, were expertly run. There was a distinct order during this time” Chinua Achebe, There was a country; a personal history of Biafra
We need to pause and think,I believe that the best criticism is self criticism where we don’t get defensive at our weaknesses but rather work towards addressing them and becoming better humans
There’s even a saying that,”if you want to hide anything from an African,put it in a book” Africans are not into reading, just take an example of the social media pages of newspapers,a link will be shared and without reading it, people will start having opinions, far from what the actual story is. An indicator can be on the public libraries and the books published in Africa, whereas that is a minor issue to some people,it shows how much of the oral tradition we have thrown away because we can’t reduce it to written form.
African time; When it comes to time management,we are amazingly amazing. There are some virtual meetings I have attended online where the host acknowledges that this is African time and therefore people should wait a bit.
I have a theory that when you are stereotyped , you work towards the stereotype and it becomes part of you. A joke is told that in Australia, when a child is late for school,they are given bread as a punishment and they have to take the dry bread, the same punishment was adopted by Africa and teachers began coming late to school as well.
“We are an oral society with more story telling and less thinking. Thats why we have titles like opinion leaders” a friend remarked.Actually we love delegating thinking, thats why when we post links without a summary people will just put random thoughts without opening the links and reading the story.A joke is told of an African Country, the president commissioned off a postage stamp in form of his own photograh. Then the post realized that stamps were not attaching. The president commissioned a commission of inquiry and spent millions. The inquiry Commission made two revelations: There was nothing wrong with the stamps, People were simply spitting on the wrong side of the stamp. Now the challenge was presenting those findings, the chair of the inquiry suggested sending the report by post and one member reminded him, this time we have to spit right, the Clerk simply rewrote the report citing lack of a special gum and recommending purchase of a gum at an exhorbitant amount then the report was finally adoted by the National Assembly. That’s what exactly happens when it comes to African governments and public spending.
African Union So the African Union recently suspended Guinea over the coup. Right, but why does it embrace incumbents who steal elections, rewrite constitutions to rule for life, and torment, pillage and impoverish their countries – the conditions that lead to the coups in the first place? Political commentary has been part of me and a few years ago, I was pointing out the hypocrisy of the African Union on Facebook.
Africa is home to us and we shall have no other home, it’s roof is leaking and we can’t look away,we must point out the issues and look for a way forward.