Much that was once so revered is now lost for only a few who live remember it. What is lost? The pride of being African, an identity that is unique in its own way.
Africans had been living independently in their respective sovereign countries before the arrival of the Europeans. Each race had its own values, traditions, culture, that it revered so much. Through this contact with the outside world, the destiny of Africans shifted from a course they had so long labored for.
Fortunately and unfortunately the contact brought about cultural diffusion- the exchange of cultural elements between two societies. But which of the two extremes copied most of the ways of the other? Obviously, it was the Black man and he wittingly copied it blindly, for the ways of the White man had marveled him.
Yes! I do not doubt the culture of the Europeans. Some of their ways are worth emulating. But even those that seem worthy, must conform to and reflect the African’s way of life. If it does not, we must totally eschew it from our system.
The horror of the colonial era, heightened by the slave trade, has left an unfading stain in the hearts and minds of the Black man. Our ancestors were bound in chains and carried off to Europe. There they were mistreated and forced to labor on large plantations.
Heated metal bearing the seal of the slave masters was imprinted at their backs. They screamed in pain. But the heart of these slave masters was unrelenting. What crime did the African commit? He was innocent.
This inhuman act was a far cry from the Scripture (Psalm 25:3), which says, ‘Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.’
The complexion of the Europeans has greatly puzzled many an African. In his admiration he forgets how precious his own dark complexion is. In the process, he feels inferior to the White man. And the latter takes advantage of that to subtly dominate the mind of the one who had looked down upon his own complexion, race and ability. I pity the African who feels that way.
Europeans have been able to liberate their mindset long ago. A positive change that has catapulted him to become more productive and innovative. His inventions have driven the African mind into a state of wonderment.
Finding himself in this pleasurable condition the African did not want to think further, to liberate his mind from the horrific past. He claims ‘how can I match the White man. He is better than I am. His culture is an eye-opener and I will be like him.’
Well the truth is, the White man is not better than the Black man, neither is his culture superior to that of the African. There are elements of goodness in both cultures, and so there is an evil side to.
Now if the African considers the ways of the Europeans as more superior to his, he is in a position of clouding his objective vision of being creative and exploring his God-given talents. He must think outside the box!
Renowned reggae artiste, Bob Marley, in his song ‘Redemption Song’, said ’emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds’, and I strongly agree with him. We Africans are in a better position of emancipating ourselves from mental slavery.
But how did this mental slavery come about? It came as a result of the Black man’s disinterestedness in exploring his own talents and ingenuity. He copied a foreign way of life. A culture he did not understand nor took the pain to reflect upon it before emulating it. In the process, he has become more dependent on the White man, a burden the latter is tired of carrying.
Although most of the world’s resources are dominant in Africa, yet there is a tremendous low level of development and dependence on the White man. What an irony! The harnessing of these bumper resources to transform the continent has fallen short.
Majority of African citizens are wallowing in poverty. Why is this so? In meditation, I realized that the problem had been the leadership of African States. The management of these scarce resources by the political heads has been unsatisfactory. They know the right thing to do but hesitate in enforcing their grand vision. Servaes (1991) believed that most African national elites formed strong alliances with the developed world to significantly shape, often in negative ways, the development process of their countries. Shame on those leaders who have been corrupted by political power.
Ghanaians and Africans as a whole must change their mindset. They should think positively. Engage in profitable activities. Eschew sycophancy and nepotism at workplaces. Become more morally inclined to detest promiscuous acts. Stop throwing garbage into gutters there are a lot more.
African leaders also have great role in this crusade. They must respect the concerns of their citizens. Learn from their traditions and history and reflect it in governance. Construct infrastructure and roads and other projects that are of high quality. Apprehend officials guilty of corruption and slander, and become morally inclined to always adhere to the truth and the oath of allegiance.
The media must also refrain from the monotonous government-say-so type of journalism. It must strictly hold government accountable, and to convey the reality of situations to the public. The fuel to power this engine of positive change is education, whether formal or informal. Many of the citizens do not understand their country’s constitution let alone their own rights. ‘Ignorance is not an excuse against the law’, it is often said. Therefore it is imperative for African governments to provide quality educational facilities and professional tutors to educate citizens on programmes of interest. The human resource base of the continent will be greatly utilized to gear development, productivity and innovation.
Awake Africans! Gather yourselves; harness your rich and bountiful resources and with your brilliant ability, transform your country into a better and beautiful place. As China is becoming more self-reliant, so must we also be more self-reliant. If Africa continues to supply most of its resources to foreign nations without reserving much, then I am afraid to say that we will never catch up in terms of development and economic well-being of citizens.
A new age of revolution of the African mind is fast approaching. Happy is the African who will attune himself with this golden mission when it arrives. We must change our ailing attitude for the better. We must love one another and focus on a positive routine. God bless Ghana and Africa and the world. Let Africa progress and not to retrogress.
By Godwin Agbesi