sub-Saharans are a thousand times more Christiany than Europeans, someone said in the seminar room. That was as if he had gushed out an obscenity that deserved a death penalty. He meant unless some reformism or renaissance of some sort would happen immediately, Africa will remain underdeveloped. That happened in Europe, and it softened Christianity and virtually every component of the culture and other religions in Europe then to allow new forms of trading, learning and among other things. As ever, what introduced us to modern writing and learning was religion not philosophers, among other things, as was the case with Europe.
Therefore, justice is a simple argument that in the history of being colonised sub-Sahara Africa (and also South America) were colonised the worst. We had no writing technology to preserve some of our useful goodies from erasure. The Chinese had their Confucianism. And it was the only industrialisation that had put their occupiers ahead but without that she simply was the origin of the compass that explored the sees, among other things. Indians still remained Indians ever after. Now their family ties, a thing so strange in the West, are a tool in developing their nations.
The goodies that were lost.
To say the things in our pre-colonial age were useful is not good. But they were some positives and also things that were waiting for us to advance them. But we left them behind.
I envy that jacket from the barks of a Brachystegia tree, Nyamare, a female warrior in our family’s traditions wore. She led a district as a queen. She encouraged females in the offices of her power to marry late which she did as a means to negotiate her position in society. Only her jacket had to be burned as it were one of the things the newly Christianised patriarchs in the family thought to be evil. Her teachings, as they were done through the word of mouth, simply found the next generation hardened enough not to pass them towards the next.
For it to be religion. Any religion must have an evil or a bad side to fight. From Buddhism into Islam and Christianity and from African traditional religions to those of the native Americans.
When we were colonised. We were made to believe that all in the traditional systems are all the evil side. But technically speaking we had not what we call “devil” before they came to us. Only we had bad omens avenging spirits and bad spirits.
That wedding in the Bible at Canah is the basis of the Western marriage system (tell me if I am misinformed). It had to be in the big book, the Bible, and the only for Christianity as a religion. If we had a writing technology before I would have met the way we currently do marriages in the Central Bantu and Southern Bantu Africa in a book “Ubuntu System” which doesn’t exist and none undertook to put it into a book that anyone can read. And if we needed salvation as the dark continent changing the way we marry and replace it with their own could have been the first thing the colonists could have done. But that simple marriage certificate could have rendered us, first-class citizens, without a hustle. It also could have been a waste of paper and resources through setting up marriage offices and reporting African marriages of the week in a European newspaper.
The thing is our marriage system was not bad. That’s why, as they are with their weaknesses, they are with their strengths in the fields those of a European style fails. Some other things we have known to be bad were not, and could be improved or even commercialised. But jackets were burned as a symbol of accepting Christ and leaving darkness behind. Jackets we could have reached to the world with and start a luxury fashion brand. Bring in some new materials and make the jackets competitive. Machinery is expensive. But they were times, as they are times and will be times we earn enough to afford it. And we can only buy things that can have us look big in society. A party bigger than none hosted.
We would also rather buy oil from the Ximenia Caffra seed in the pharmacies as an ointment to treat our swelling legs and not care about what it is: Simply allow it to be oil from an African plant but processed in Europe and shipped from Dubai. Because traditional medicines are regarded as traditional. It is also said that in the 1970s and 80s there was an influx of researchers from the West. This is when the Ximenia Caffra was canonised straight from the traditional evil league.
We are locked in lost territory. To have the best of what we can have “us before anything” and still deny “all that is us before anything”.
Two people were seated with me. I said to them that one day I will become a musician. One laughed. Because that’s how to become a lost and underpaid person. I then faced the remaining one who seemed to understand. “I will gather up a band and be a Sungura musician, try to shorten the songs and change the actual form of Sungura and write in English.” The remaining one laughed and left the fireplace.
Sungura is a music genre filled with nothing but guitars. They are played in the 1.4, 1.5 styles. We hear stories of kids who grew up in farms where their parents worked as labourers and were almost homeless before they made it to the recording studios. And the guitars they played can be found in this decades-old advert (it’s fascinating, please watch).
They play the guitars well in a style the world has never seen. They are talented and unknown by the world. I reached the university. My writing skill can be better and I can sing, too. My bruises with many genres make me sing the Indian style in English but the traditional style in English or anything in anything. I can use my cheeks as an instrument to replace the traditional mbira, etc. What’s needed now is not to have that as pride to defend or compete through. What’s needed is cooperation. Because that pride will never mean anything alone. It is trash. My voice is inferior than of those who could have done such a service to such a genre. They didn’t. They picked hip-hop and other Western genres and they were with nothing in the final end to bring to the international market.
Our developers can’t develop platforms where music and anything can sell our way. Not through Paypal which isn’t available in the larger part of the continent. But through our mobile payment platforms. Our big banks and networks failed to unite and develop a platform that can work across the continent.
It may not be always as some cases of tribal slavery are known but we cooperated in many instances before colonisation. We had to be divided to be ruled. Really?
Back then in the pre-colonial ages. The conquered and the conquerers co-existed more times than we now do. In post-colonial times, genocides and civil wars took place at a pointless scale. Stereotypes developed were turned into true facts. Zimbabwe is where I come from. The Manyika people lighten -mb- syllables that the Zezurus and other Shona complex speakers. They pronounced November and remember well to win the white man’s favour. They worked in hotels all over.
Why are smaller businesses and hotels still using the same pattern, employing the Manyika people where an English speaker is needed? I am Manyika and I don’t like this. There are some still portrayed as lazy simply because they resisted the coloniser. The same Manyika makes an abusive husband. An Anglophone in Cameroon is power-hungry, and the whole ruling system had to develop a proofing to keep their power from taking over and killed an ideal federal republic. This is now a civil war. Bugandans are cultured and peace-loving than others in Uganda.
Educations systems need to evolve and help in battling such stereotypes. Censorship needs not to be one of protecting ruling regimes but fighting bad perceptions. You can not be discussing child marriages and the infringement of her rights in the parliament in the noon. Simply to allow a late-night show on one of the radios advocating for the most primitive woman submission.
Religion must cease to be taught in public schools unless secularly and scientifically taught. Having been raised in a Catholic family and observed happenings in other churches, I am so sure that kids are taught, much stuff every Sunday and at home. The same applies to Islam and the traditional systems.
Three hours a week at the Primary level can be thus free and be utilised for teaching something like “Industrial studies”. We need to change the way our kids learn to have them develop ‘an economic consciousness’ essential to the catching-up exercise.
Policing in subSahara must encourage home banking and investment at home. Governments need to stop treating the one that is green (farming) and the one that smokes (processing industry) or mining as the only industries that exist. A nation can even develop by selling software products. And the smaller the nation is, the less likely it needs too much diversification. Africa nations are small, population-wise. We all can’t be in Agriculture and change the continent.
The Nigerian film industry failed to develop anyways it was never considered by the participants and the policymakers as an industry.