Otto Beseka Isong is Founder & CEO of Akwajobs.com. He’s also a leading business development strategist in Silicon Mountain.
In this article, he argues that much of Africa is still under Western colonialism, as African States only appear to have gotten flag independence. Both the lands and the intellects in most of Africa remained colonized.
Lots of people will want to believe European colonialism in Africa came to an end after African states gained independence, mostly in the 60s. Lies we’ve been told, lies we’ve believed. In this post, I want to prove to you that until this day, the majority of Africa is still colonized.
Let’s get it started.
First things first. What’s colonization? In English, this is the definition I will like us to start with: “ the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.” There are three things that stand out — control over, indigenous people and area (territory). In effect, once a group of people have direct or indirect control over the indigenous people of an area, then it means the indigenous people are colonized.
Let’s take this a little further. In order to colonize a people, one must have control over them in their own territory. Not another’s territory. Their own territory. We can see territory in two ways, minds and lands. Yes, the mind is a territory and the land is also a territory. It therefore implies for effective colonization, there has to be mental and terrestrial domination.
The colonized lands
First, domination on lands. How many communities in Africa hold the full rights of their lands? I mean full rights as in all the rights over their lands. What we have today is Africa in which the people who truly own their lands don’t have the rights to the minerals in their lands. Rather the mineral rights are owned by national governments. The interesting part about governments in Africa is that they’re made in the images of colonial administrations.
When European countries and kingdoms still had direct administrative control over much of Africa, they instituted laws that stripped Africans of their inherent rights over the minerals, transferring those rights to the colonial administrations. All mineral rights were properties of their respective home governments or the corporations in charge.
The indigenous people could live on the land, but once mineral deposits were discovered, the people were forced out of these lands and resettled, albeit with some compensation. But the people weren’t part of the negotiation and never profited from the abundance of their ancestral lands.
Today, we have our so called national governments doing the same. The national governments have the rights over these minerals and they choose to sell those rights to corporations, most often foreign corporations. In that exchange process, if the indigenous people are involved, they’re simply as witnesses, nothing more.
It implies, our national governments are simply proxies to Western control. Reason why when an African government isn’t willing to open up to Western influence, the regime is considered evil and toppled, albeit with the help of the African masses manipulated by the media. Which brings us to the other territory of colonialism, the mind.
Colonialism of the minds
There are lots of on going debates about the effects of foreign education, religion, media and entertainment on the African psyche.
In as much as it appears as though territorial colonialism ended in the 60s, mental colonialism has been intensified in the past years. The whitening of the late pop star Michael Jackson, disgraceful dead of Col. Muammar Qaddafi, massive investment in scholarship programs that push Africans to study abroad, funding of Christian programs, proliferation and promotion of western media and entertainment in Africa, promotion of western ideals in Africa. And many more.
Though they may all seem unrelated, they all have one thing in common, keep the African psyche glued to Western ideals, thus maintaining the belief Western ideals are superior to the African counterparts.
All ancient human societies conceived of deities in their image. In precolonial Africa, the Gods worshiped were always carved in the image of the people, with some direct descendants of the gods living among the people, most often as rulers. In such a society, majority of the people see their gods looking like them and have a very high self-esteem. They go about their daily routines with lots of pride of who they are.
How colonialism crept into Christianity
The celebration of Caucasian beauty ideals on the media, is an essential part of the program. It makes Africans feel uncomfortable in our own hair, skin and body shape. As such, our brothers and sisters do everything to look less like who they naturally are and more like Caucasians. It is for this reason that when Africans become affluent, they choose to maintain fairer skin complexions and hair that look more like Caucasians than Black Africans.
These cause the erosion of the African’s self-esteem, thus leading to their reliance on Western handouts.
If Africa must rise beyond Western colonization, Africa must decolonize on both fronts — minds and lands. Decolonization of only one of these doesn’t result to good governance, economic growth and stable polities.
The FULL land rights have to go back to the people and their communities, not the central or state governments. However, it is the duty of the central or state governments to protect the interest of its people. As such, it has to make the laws that protect the people and provide educational and support facilities that will empower the people to get into complex negotiations with corporations — local and foreign.
On the front of the mind, we can start understanding why countries like China have been overprotective of the religion of its people, their education, media and entertainment. African states and communities have to make a conscious effort to address this mental colonialism. Without which, most other efforts to create good governance, growing economies (with the wealth going to Africans) and stable polities will most often be wasted.
Our histories has proven this over and over again. It’s been a cycle of booms and busts. There was Democratic Republic of Congo, now there’s Libya.
Until we completely decolonize, most of Africa is still colonized.[gtranslate]