- Both Western and African analysis of the problems of Africa seems to focus on everything but Africans taking responsibility.
- We cover how this delusion is accomplished in the media.
Nearly all problems in Africa are presented as due to colonialization. For decades African leaders have tried to dispel the notions about the ineffectiveness governance of African countries by stating that they are “recovering” from colonization. In this article, we analyze the accuracy of this presentation.
Nelson Mandela as A Pied Piper
This following quotation is from the article Failed decolonization of South African cities fuels violence, and written by Nanjala Nyabola and was published in Al Jazeera.
One of my favourite passages in Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom is the section where he describes being smuggled out of South Africa to visit a series of African countries and seek support for the armed struggle in his home country. Over a number of months, Mandela would receive travel documents from Tanzania and Ethiopia which enable him to go to 13 countries and meet leaders from another four.
The material support for the African National Congress (ANC) and its armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was significant, but so too was personal support for Mandela and his entourage. For example, Sekou Toure, then president of Guinea, on hearing that the men were low on funds after so much travel, sent two large suitcases of money for their personal use. It was Guinean money, so not much at all, but enough to tie them over until their next destination.
This short sequence has replayed in my mind periodically over the last few weeks as news comes in of another rash of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Since the beginning of September, at least 12 people have died as armed groups raided foreign-owned businesses in parts of Johannesburg and Cape Town.
While foreigners are the primary targets, South Africans have not been spared. World-renowned musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka tweeted that her daughter’s shop had also been damaged in the melee. She is one of the bestselling South African musicians of all time.
To me, all this raises questions about a combination of moral and political obligations that are unique to the postcolonial/post-apartheid state.
First of all, why is Mandela looked upon through rose-tinted glasses? What Mandela promised never came to pass? Nelson Mandela failed to make progress. Winnie Mandela supported tribal violence and was herself guilty of many crimes.
However, a new movie about Winnie Mandela only discusses the injustice that was imposed upon her…by whites, of course. It entirely leaves out Winnie Mandela’s crimes once she came to power. Remember, in Hollywood, the only injustice that exists is white. African countries run by Africans score at the very bottom of all the official statistics for treatment. Still, it is not worthy of discussion by Hollywood or by Western culture-shaping elites unless the abuse is at the hands of whites.
After Winnie Mandela, the ANC — Nelson Mandela’s creation has shown itself as primarily capable of incompetence and corruption with white and black South African’s alike complaining about its ineffectiveness. SA is close to having its debt given a junk rating.
However, the author of this article does not seem to care about the outcome of what Nelson Mandela created, Nelson Mandela is a great hero, and this cannot be questioned.
The Only Struggle in Africa is Against Apartheid?
For those of us who considered ourselves part of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, the ambivalent response from South Africa’s political leadership – with some notable exceptions – sounds like a betrayal of the solidarity and support that was given to the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) during the worst years of apartheid.
Nanjala Nyabola is making the point that South Africa’s leadership has turned its back on other African countries, which is true. However, why is the primary struggle against apartheid? The condition of Africans living in most other African countries was worse outside of South Africa than inside of South Africa. Sudanese or those from Botswana would love to have lived in apartheid, South Africa. South Africa had an enormous illegal immigration problem during the apartheid era. What about the struggle of Africans who have to live in countries that are governed by Africans?
Nigeria Criminals in South Africa?
Naledi Pandor, the minister for foreign affairs, claimed many Nigerians in South Africa are involved in drug and human trafficking and requested the Nigerian government’s help in keeping Nigerian “criminals” in Nigeria. Thabo Mbeki, who himself spent part of his time in exile in other African countries, echoed the sentiment.
This is why a number of Nigerians were sent back to Nigeria. This is covered in the article Hundreds of Nigerians repatriated from South Africa after attacks also published in Al Jazeera.
The repatriation came after riots in Pretoria and Johannesburg killed at least 12 people as 1,000 foreign-owned businesses were targeted. The nationalities of those killed have not been announced but Nigerians, Ethiopians, Congolese, and Zimbabweans were attacked, according to local media.
The violence sparked an international outcry and calls for a boycott of South Africa.
Pastor Ugo Ofoegbu has lived in South Africa for close to two decades. He sent his wife and three children back to Nigeria.
“My family is not safe here,” Ofoegbu told Al Jazeera.
Precious Oluchi Mbabie, a 35-year-old Nigerian woman who works as a fashion designer and seamstress in a Johannesburg suburb, boarded the flight with her three children, leaving her husband behind.
More than 700 people from other countries, including Malawi and Zimbabwe, have sought refuge in community centres. Many left their homes with little more than a few bags when the violence began.
One is Mozambican Oscar Setuve, who registered for a temporary travel document to return home. He has lived in South Africa for 30 years, but lost everything in the riots.
“What made me run is that I saw how they were attacking people, attacking them like dogs. And some of the people who were attacking us were people that have known us for a long time. That’s what hurts me the most,” Setuve said.
This is odd. Wasn’t everything supposed to be taken care of when South Africa ended the apartheid system, and black Africans took control of the government? The South African Rand has declined by 400% against the US dollar since 1994.
Secondly, why is a double standard being applied? In the US, if a US citizen opposes illegal immigration, they are immediately suspected of being a racist. However, if South Africa has widespread violence against immigrants, which is to the point where hundreds of Africans are repatriated to their home countries out of fear — the term racism is not used a single time. The event is barely covered in the Western media. Notice that most of the coverage is from Al Jazeera.
Why is this?
Decolonizing South Africa?
The Nanjala Nyabola goes on to make a bizarre claim.
One notable aspect of the violence to me concerns the location of many of these attacks, and what it says about the status of decolonisation in South Africa. Many have centred on the central business districts (CBDs) of large towns like Johannesburg, which were formerly the showpieces of apartheid’s illusion of prosperity (emphasis added) but are today somewhat abandoned and falling into disrepair. This cycle of abandonment and violence echoes a familiar pattern faced by former settler colonies.
South Africa’s previous prosperity was an illusion? Furthermore, how can a previous system be criticized as being an illusion if after the system was changed, the conditions are far worse after the change?
This is downtown Johannesburg in 1974. The illusion of prosperity was very well maintained indeed.
Here is downtown Johannesburg today.
There is certainly no “illusion of prosperity today” in Johannesburg. Thankfully that problem was addressed.
Downtown Johannesburg has done nothing but decline since 1994.
How is this an improvement over “the illusion of prosperity” that existed in Johannesburg before the apartheid system was ended?
All of the predominantly black areas in South Africa look terrible. They are maintained. Why is this? Did Europeans make South Africans and immigrants from other countries to South Africa not perform essential maintenance? Does to “decolonize” also mean to stop performing maintenance of European structures and systems until they reach a point of failure?
Secondly, why do these slums look so terrible?
The ANC has been in power for decades now. Where is the progress? Did fighting against apartheid improve the outcomes for South Africans? Black or white, that is?
The building and conditions shown in this video seem to show that there is no functioning government in many parts of Johannesburg. Conditions were quite different before Nelson Mandela took power and made an enormous number of promises around his “Rainbow Nation.”
Nelson Mandela is continually held up as an inspiration; however, is Hollywood on drugs and entirely divorced from reality? South Africa has done nothing but decline since Mandela took power. Why is Mandela inspiring? Does only the story matter, and the outcome is irrelevant?
Fleeing an African Run Country in Favor of Apartheid?
The taxi driver in this video states that he came to South Africa in 1991. This is during the apartheid period. Why did an African leave a non-apartheid country run by Africans to live in a horrible apartheid based system that was run by whites/Europeans?
During the apartheid era, Africans from other countries were breaking SA immigration laws to immigrate into SA. What does that tell you about the African run countries around SA? Even though SA has been in a continual and irreversible decline since the ANC took over, Africans continue to stream in illegally to SA for better opportunities. There is now a severe shortage of doctors and nurses in SA because in significant part to immigration from African run countries into SA.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the demand for health services in South Africa is increasing and funds to address the change are limited mainly due to the continuous rise of immigration and the increasing burden of disease.
The primary reasons why the Republic [of South Africa] has a shortage of doctors and nurses is the fact that the public health sector budget has not been increasing in real terms for the past 10 years, impacting on the number of staff that can be appointed.
“Furthermore, the demand for health services in the country is increasing while there is no additional funding to address the change, which results primarily from immigration and the increasing burden of disease.
City Press previously reported that Mkhize’s predecessor, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, claimed foreign nationals were overcrowding the local health system.
Speaking at the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union’s nurses’ summit in November 2018, he was quoted as saying: “The weight that foreign nationals are bringing to the country has got nothing to do with xenophobia … it’s a reality.
“When more and more come, you can’t say the hospital is full now go away … they have to be admitted, we have got no option – and when they get admitted in large numbers, they cause overcrowding, infection control starts failing.” – News24 (South Africa)
How could the apartheid system have been comparably so bad, if Africans in neighboring countries preferred it over the African leadership in their own countries?
If South Africans were “struggling” against apartheid at the time — what were Zimbabweans who left their country to seek better opportunities in South Africa “struggling” against?
Furthermore, this taxi driver said the following:
“When I came it was not as bad as it is now. I just came here as an immigrant looking for greener pastures.”
First, if South Africa has been under African and highly anti-white South African government that promised great opportunities to black South Africans, how could things be worse than under the terrible and racist regime of apartheid?
Secondly, media coverage will write something like the following..
Africans from around the continent have emigrated to South Africa for years, expecting to find a land of opportunity, a place to raise their families. Now many are fleeing, carrying the painful realization that the country they once thought would deliver their dreams had instead turned nightmarish. – New York Times
Why is the country that is a place they can “find a land of opportunity” and “a place to raise their families,” a country in Africa that was historically managed by whites? Does the New York Times dare ask this question? Because it seems like a logical question to ask.
Recall the promises of the independence movements. The lives of all Africans would improve — all they needed to obtain was their independence.
It was the European colonialists who were holding them back.
Nigerians — along with people from countries like Somalia and Zimbabwe — have moved to South Africa for years in search of work and education. Nigeria has an unemployment and underemployment rate of more than 40 percent, according to national data. – New York Times
Once again, why are Africans from African run countries fleeing to a historically white-run country (which no longer is but still has the leftover infrastructure and some of the functionality) in the “horribly racist” ex-apartheid country of South Africa?
Why does the New York Times not see this as worthy of commentary? They don’t, but the New York Times will make the following statement.
But South Africa is still struggling with the legacies of colonialism and apartheid and has its own economic problems. Many poor South Africans have not found real change since the end of apartheid. Anti-immigrant sentiment has become common. – The New York Times
More so than Somalia and Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe ran most of its European population out of the country and is now a basket case. Is that what is meant by “struggling with legacies of colonialism.” What is the evidence for this? How does the author at the New York Times know that it is the legacy of colonialism that is causing these problems?
Let us look at the evidence rather than just stating politically correct talking points.
If colonialism worsened the conditions of these countries, why are Africans migrating from countries with less colonialist influence to countries with far more colonialist influence? Does that not contradict the statement that Africa is struggling with the legacy of colonialism? A large number of Africans have been migrating into South Africa for decades. See this table from 1904.
Notice there are 1.1 M whites in 1904, which was 21% of the population.
Now let us fast forward to 2015.
In 2015, now close to 90% of the population is black or colored, and whites are down to 8% of the population. The black and colored population increased by roughly 44 M in 111 years. Part of this was due to large amounts of immigration from other African countries.
One question is what is happening to immigration in Namibia because whites still run Namibia, but Namibia rarely makes the news and has a tiny population of 2.5 million.
Also, why have poor South Africans not found real change since the end of apartheid? What about Nelson Mandela’s promises?
Nelson Mandela Could Not Rent Space in Johannesburg?
The article on decolonizing South Africa by Nanjala Nyabola describes what Nelson Mandela faced.
In his biography, Mandela writes about the many people in Johannesburg’s CBD who refused to rent him offices for his legal practice. The prosperity of the CBD was predicated precisely on the exclusion and ritual humiliation of black bodies.
Well, if Nelson Mandela were to come back from the dead, he would not have that problem today. He could have his choice of places to rent — and at rock bottom prices!
Secondly, was all of Johannesburg’s prosperity based upon the ritualistic humiliation of black bodies? Was any of it based upon European technology or knowhow? When one reviews historical pictures of Johannesburg, it looks like any city in the US or Europe built by people of European descent. The cities in Germany and the Netherlands were made without the ritual humiliation of black bodies. So were those in the US.
Prosperity Could Not Survive Desegregation?
Nanjala Nyabola provides another bizarre explanation as to why Nairobi, Johannesburg, Detroit, and Cleveland all fell into decline.
As in cities like Nairobi, the CBD in Johannesburg was abandoned after independence, and there was a mass exodus to nearby, newly built suburbs. This echoes the experience of US cities like Detroit and Cleveland, where formerly prosperous city centres crumbled because that prosperity could not survive desegregation.
Why couldn’t they survive desegregation?
In each case, the percentage of blacks dramatically increased versus the white population. One might observe that predominantly black cities are not good places to live in. However, the author does not draw this conclusion.
All White Prosperity is Based upon Exploiting Black Populations?
That prosperity existed precisely because restricting the movement, association and occupation of non-white residents meant that economic resources could be focused on the white population, and an economic underclass could be effectively exploited by keeping them afraid.
This states that prosperity existed because economic resources were focused on the white population and that the prosperity was due to what was effectively a slave population. However, this does not fit with other societies. Latin American is a slave society from top to bottom with enormous income inequality. India has a caste system as the 10th highest income inequality in the world. Both of these examples focus resources on elites. Things work the same way in Russia and all of the African countries. However, none of these examples is well off societies. Secondly, in countries that are far more egalitarian, like Finland or the Netherlands, they look very much like Johannesberg in the pre-ANC era. What do Finland or the Netherlands or Germany or Sweden or Norway all owe their prosperity to? Sweden and Norway had almost no colonies. The author makes no effort to check her hypothesis against another global example, although many are available.
Whites Gravitate to Exploiting Blacks?
If prosperity were based upon slavery or black exploitation, then whites would move to predominantly black areas of the US and exploit them. However, US whites don’t do this. They move away from blacks. When large numbers of blacks migrated from the US South to Detroit and other northern manufacturing cities, the US companies moved their factories away from black populations. The migration of businesses away from the center of Detroit to the suburbs had already begun in the 1960s. Africa is filled with black Africans. If the exploitation of blacks were the key to prosperity, European countries would open operations in Africa and exploit Africans. However, they don’t. The only foreign investments in Africa by Europe, the US, or now China are for resource extraction — mining, petroleum, etc.. Foreign companies come to Africa to exploit its natural resources, not its people.
Africans were exported to the US, the Caribbean, and predominantly Brazil, but of the areas that imported slaves, only the US developed into a wealthy society. And US wealth is similar to the wealth level of Australia or Canada or Europe (all who had very few slaves).
Who Likes Exploiting Africans Again?
Oil was discovered in Equatorial Guinea in 1989, long after local Africans were in full control of the government. Yet while the income from oil has been immense, 2/3rds of the population lives in poverty. Was it the legacy of colonialism that caused the elites in this country to hoard all of the wealth for themselves? There is nothing to stop Equatorial Guinean elites from distributing this wealth — which they had nothing to do with creating in the first place, to the rest of the population. And it has nothing to do with colonialization. How frequently have the Equatorial Guinean elites used the excuse of colonialization to cover for not sharing these resources and for keeping their population in poverty?
Why Do African Need White Resources?
Nanjala Nyabola goes onto say that Africans seem to rely on white resources — which seems to contradict her earlier point.
Urban planners call the exodus after desegregation or independence “white flight”. After white people who formerly made the main tax base in the segregated cities left the urban centres for racially homogenous suburbs, cities would shift planning focus to those suburbs and deprive the formerly prosperous CBD of key resources.
Thus, in South Africa, the rise of Sandton and Rosebank in Gauteng comes at the expense of the Johannesburg CBD. And after the white flight, the resulting resource vacuum subsequently contributes to the decay of the CBD, including an uptick in crime.
In the previous paragraph, the author stated that all prosperity in white areas was due to exploiting black labor. Then when whites move away, they deprive the Africans of key resources.
Also, what another alternative to whites have? Once blacks take over an area, they make it inhospitable for whites.
Which is it?
According to the plot of the movie Black Panther, Wakanda developed economically and scientifically because it was never colonialized by a European power. And this allowed it to develop technologies far exceeding anything from Europe. This fits into a narrative that the only thing that Africans need to be successful is to be isolated from white civilization.
How is this idea, which was embraced by many US blacks, even remotely logical?
European colonization of Africa began in roughly 1888, which is generally referred to as the scramble for Africa. European countries already had an enormous amount of scientific, political, legal, and other advancements that did not exist in Africa.
Why would non-European based colonization of Africa change Africa’s trajectory? European colonialization spanned from roughly 1888 to 1945, and then complete independence by African countries was obtained by roughly 1965. Africa had no history of really any technology development up until 1888. And today, African countries have difficulty in maintaining technologies developed by European societies.
How would not having been colonized allowed African countries to exceed the technology and over-development of European countries when none of the sub-Saharan African countries even had the first stages of metalworking?
Many African countries have come close to decolonizing their railroads. That is, many of the railroads built by European colonial powers have fallen into disrepair.
Before rising to Wakandan pre-eminence and impressing those dirty colonialists with your technical wizardry, the first step might be maintaining colonial infrastructure.
This video shows how not to manage the barges that were left to the Congolese by the Belgians. The same map is being used by the captain of this ship, even though it is the same map created by the Belgians and left in 1950.
Blacks Can’t Govern Effectively?
The author of South African decolonization then points out an idea that she believes false.
Similarly, the deterioration of what used to be a symbol of national prosperity then becomes associated with the idea that black people are spoilers and cannot govern effectively. This continues the exodus, as wealthier non-white communities also abandon the CBD, and in the extreme as in Johannesburg, property values and social services collapse completely.
Why is this idea false?
Also, given the state of affairs of other African countries, why did anyone expect South Africa to be a success story? As whites left Johannesburg, property values collapsed “completely.” But under the “Wakanda hypothesis,” whites are simply exploiters. Why do black Africans need them for prosperity? This same feature was found in Detroit, Baltimore, Birmingham (AL), Cleveland…etc. When blacks take over a city, that city falls into a very serious decline. Detroit, Baltimore, and Cleveland had a very low black population when they were first built up, which means whites primarily built them. That is, blacks cannot even claim to have been involved in much of the construction of these cities.
It seems as if black African’s owe their prosperity to whites rather than the other way around. Cities that are a higher percentage of white in the US and Europe do not need Africans to maintain their prosperity level.
The Beating of South African Immigrants by Black South Africans is Due to Colonial Patterns?
This statement makes one question the mental stability of the Nanjala Nyabola.
It makes sense that the CBD would be a primary site for xenophobic violence in South Africa. Unless closely monitored and addressed, the transformation of the CBD in the settler colony in the post-colonial state is always accompanied by violence that replicates the contours of colonial violence.
South Africa today is far more violent than South Africa under the apartheid period.
Africa has far more violence than white countries, and black areas of the US have the highest violence level of any racial demographic. The majority of murder in the US is directly associated with black populations. It is not associated or correlated with either gun ownership or poverty; as we analyzed in the article, What is the Most Predictive Variable for the US Murder Rate?
Nairobi’s Violence by Black African Men Against Black African Women is Due to its Colonial History?
Nanjala Nyabola goes on to blame violence against African women, perpetuated by African men also being due to colonialism.
As I point out in my book “Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenya”, the historical racial violence of Nairobi’s CBD is still regularly meted out against women because in Nairobi African women were not allowed to live in the CBD until the sunset years of the colony. Women who defied this rule were all labelled prostitutes – some were, many were not – and were punished for that.
Today, when women are victims of violence in the CBD, it is telling that most are accused of behaving “indecently” and the victims are routinely called prostitutes, intruding on a historically male-dominated space.
Kenya was primarily colonialized by the British, but they did not have, nor do they have anywhere near the level of violence against women or rape that Kenya does.
South Africa is known as the rape capital of Africa — but it was not the rape capital of Africa under apartheid. Is this also due to the colonialist who did not have (and currently do not have) this level of rape in their own countries? South Africa was colonized and then managed by a combination of primarily Dutch, British, and French.
However, none of these countries has such high levels of rape, as does South Africa.
Is extensive rape in South Africa due to following “colonial patterns?”
Furthermore, there is very little justice in Kenya or South Africa. The silence of a mother of a raped baby was purchased in this video for roughly $250. Rape is accepted. The baby was raped because the witch doctor told him that he could cure his aids by having sex with a virgin. And he states that he “feels good” about the activity, even though the baby contracted AIDS because he has been feeling a lot better since he raped the baby.
South Africa has the highest incidents of rape in the world, with 1/2 of the rape victims being children. South Africa’s rape statistics are off the charts and significantly higher than the second-highest country Botswana.
What European country did Kenya and South African blacks learn to treat rape this way?
According to the author, the violent acts perpetrated in Kenya are not the fault of those that perpetrate them but are the fault of the history of colonialism in Kenya. Kenya obtained its independence in 1962 — which is now 57 years ago. It has a per capita of between $2000 USD or $3600 when measured based on PPP.
Kenya has accomplished very little since its independence. However, it has one accomplishment to its name — it was able to increase its population by a factor of 6 times in those 57 years. This is another “legacy of colonialism,” which is making countries grow their populations unsustainably. The only problem with this logic is that the UK, which was Kenya’s primary European colonizer, has not grown its population anything like this since 1962.
No Discussion Around Birth Control?
African leadership has a hard time processing something that European countries have universally adopted — namely birth control. Instead of recognizing and dealing with the issue of over-population, Africans routinely critique birth control as “racist.”
At a press conference at the G20 summit in Hamburg, on July 8 he was asked about a “Marshall Plan for Africa.” The president (Macron) gave a disquisition on Africa’s “real” problems – among them, in his view, demographics. The continent’s true challenge was “civilizational,” including failed states, shaky democracies, trafficking, extremism, and population growth. Later in his reply—the effect was compounded in a spliced video that circulated widely—he pointed again to demographics. Where there are “7 or 8 children per woman,” he said, spending billions is pointless. – Quartz
Yes, this is 100% true. This is as true of non-African countries as African countries. However, according to the author of the Quartz article is illustrates the racism of Macron.
It wasn’t the first time. On June 1, in a conversation in Brittany about fishing boats, kwassa-kwassa came up; these are vessels used in the Comoros islands, including by migrants seeking to reach Mayotte, a French overseas possession—that is, a colony. “But kwassa-kwassas don’t fish much, they deliver Comorians,” the president joked, using a turn of phrase (ils amènent du comorien) that implied goods, not people.
Earlier this year, a book by scholar Françoise Vergès, Le Ventre des femmes, revisited forced abortions and sterilizations in Réunion, another French Indian Ocean territory, in the 1970s—the era when French women secured reproductive rights, thanks to activists and the late minister Simone Veil. Macron’s comments on Africa—that undifferentiated mass—are of a piece with those practices in Réunion decades ago. And they share with his kwassa-kwassa remarks the idea of Black bodies as burdensome and invasive.
Africa is going to grow to 2.4 billion by 2050. That is entirely unsustainable growth. Africa’s infrastructure cannot meet the needs of its current population.
Macron’s remarks fall into a tradition, as well, of grandiloquent and condescending statements about Africa that point to every cause of the continent’s difficulties other than colonialism and its enduring trace. In a Dakar speech in 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy observed that “the African has not fully entered history.” Macron’s “civilizational” comment is similarly obtuse, with the added perversion of echoing the mission civilisatrice, the “civilizing mission” at the core of French colonial ideology. – Quartz
Yes, well, Africa’s problems have little to do with colonialization. They are self-inflicted, and even pushing back on birth control is evidence of how little thinking goes on in Africa.
One might note that “7 to 8 children” is an extreme, observed only in Niger, and that some analysts believe is overstated. There is a long history of population panic and its use in racist ideology. Certainly, large families may be an concern in specific socio-economic settings (in Africa or elsewhere), but obsessing at continental scale makes no sense. – Quartz
Yes, but 5 or 6 children is quite common. Notice the author does not state the actual number, because the actual number is unsustainable. Even two children per woman in Africa is unsustainable, Africa is already beyond its ability to provide for its population. And it is not an obsession; it is a real problem, and it is a problem that many Africans intend to deal with my migrating illegally to Europe. Therefore European leaders have a right to bring attention to the issue.
A Double Standard Applied to White Abuse Versus Black Abuse?
For instance, the Belgium treatment of Congo is probably the worst of the colonial treatments. Leopold was indisputably a psychopath.
However, after Leopold was long gone, African Congolese instituted severing hands against other African Congolese. Is that not the same crime? The Congolese are still using maps and transportation infrastructure left by the Belgians — doing little to build their own. Today, under 100% African rule, Congo has the mineral wealth of something close to Saudi Arabia, while most of the country lives on less than $1 per day. This is progress? If a colonial power were doing this to Congo, it would be an international outrage. But it is not considered an outrate because the Congo is “still recovering from colonialization.”
Nanjala Nyabola continues with yet another explanation.
Immigrants did not cause the decay of Johannesburg’s CBD. It occurs because cities mistakenly believe that the illusory prosperity of the CBD will sustain itself after desegregation, when in fact, even more resources and an actively managed, postcolonial transition is needed.
The author has yet to explain why Johannesburg’s previous actual prosperity was illusory. No prosperity of white society has ever been maintained at the same level when blacks have taken over that area.
Secondly, the entire point is that blacks do not create sufficient resources to support what the whites built. When blacks took over Detroit, Detroit began an aggressive decline. The prosperity of Detroit was no illusion. And the misery of Detroit today is also no illusion. The author is twisting herself into a pretzel to attempt to deny the obvious.
Nanjala Nyabola proposes how to decolonize “correctly.”
Poor immigrants, documented or undocumented, are occupying the vacuums that arise when urban planning does not decolonise the city properly.
What is an example that the author can give of “correct decolonization?” Even geography where blacks have taken over a white area, that area has declined. There is no example of proper decolonization because the entire construct is false. Blacks that live around whites benefit from white technology and the ability to maintain complex systems that blacks were not able to develop themselves, much less maintain. When blacks take over these systems, the systems go into a decline.
As one example, Zimbabwe relies on the Kariba dam for 1/2 of its energy needs. That dam could not have been developed without European technology and assistance.
To decolonize means destroying the dam. After Zimbabwe’s currency failed, mobile phones were essential to allowing for transactions preventing people from traveling for days to transfer cash. Those phones are colonial instruments. The cell towers are again..colonial, and put in by colonial or ex-colonial entities. If Africans truly oppose colonialism — they must not be hypocritical, and take from colonialism benefits when it suits them, and then blame all of their own (and many self-made) problems on colonialism. Since independence, all of the African countries have been placating their populations that the sad state of affairs is not due to their kleptocracy or nepotism but to colonialization. This is curious because colonizers ran much more efficient operations than African leadership. If we want to discuss the evils of colonialization, we need to evaluate the full picture. This means realizing what African countries accomplished under independence, and also recognizing how much Africa relies on the technology from colonial countries. Otherwise, it is a rigged view. See the article How South Africa’s Decline Mirrors the Decline of Eskom, for what South Africa’s utility since the ANC came to power.
Whites Responsible for Decline of Johannesburg as It Has Become Increasingly Black?
Nanjala Nyabola has an explanation of Johannesburg.
The fact that the CBD in Nairobi and Harare survives white flight while Johannesburg struggles is testament to how pervasive and insidious apartheid in South Africa was. The scale of the system was immense, and its aftermath will be too.
Why is white flight something to be “survived.” Whites exploit blacks, according to Nanjala Nyabola. Shouldn’t the departure of whites lead to a renaissance for blacks who reside in the vacated area?
One might ordinarily conclude that the massive decline of Johannesburg is based upon whites leaving the city, but no — according to Nanjala Nyabola, the logic which leaves black South African’s blameless is the insidious apartheid system. However, when the ANC was pressing its case in the 1990s, did they tell the population that they would crater Johannesburg? The ability of Nanjala Nyabola to put no responsibility on black Africans for Johannesburg is genuinely awe-inspiring.
Nairobi is, of course, Kenya — which we already discussed. South Africa has a per capita income of $13,800, or $6,300 based on PPP, and South Africa is still receiving illegal immigration from other African countries, including Kenya. Still, South Africa is worse off than Kenya because of the legacy of apartheid?
According to Transparancy.org, the three countries in question score the following in terms of corruption.
- Kenya: The 144th least transparent country in the world.
- Zimbabwe: The 160th least transparent country in the world.
- South Africa: The 73rd least transparent country in the world.
Yet, according to Nanjala Nyabola, South Africa is still suffering from the after-effects and apartheid, and Kenya and Zimbabwe are the models to follow.
Let us take a look at another country.
- Namibia: The 52nd least transparent country in the world.
Whites still run Namibia. By Germans actually. And they have the best score of all of the countries profiled thus far.
Secondly, South Africa’s corruption level has only increased since the ANC took power. How is this decolonization plan working out in South Africa?
Harare is based in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has a per capita income of $1400, and it has been an unmitigated disaster since its independence. However, South Africa looks up to Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe is highly corrupt. However, the government of Zimbabwe is again blaming outside forces, in this case, sanctions that are put into place (related to specific individuals) precisely because of corruption in the political class in Zimbabwe. This is covered in the following quotation.
The leaders of the 16 member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) falsely attribute Zimbabwe’s catastrophic economic decline to sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western countries — and they have planned a series of coordinated events and actions to protest those sanctions. In shifting blame to the West, SADC is dismissing the Zimbabwean government’s violent misrule and excusing SADC’s own refusal to call for genuine political and economic reform in Zimbabwe. The notion that sanctions are primarily responsible for the economic collapse in Zimbabwe is a useful fiction promoted by that country’s authoritarian elite.
Zimbabwe’s leaders have long tried to paint a different picture, twisting the sanctions regimes into a false enemy to blame for the humanitarian and economic crisis that is worsening by the day. The International Monetary Fund estimates that Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world (though the government banned publication of inflation statistics). The World Food Program says Zimbabwe is facing its worst food insecurity in recent memory. The health-care system is near collapse, with doctors striking over poor pay and working conditions.
It’s no secret what Zimbabwe needs: an end to attacks on political opposition and civil society, elimination of repressive legislation, transparent economic management, elections reform and a genuine national dialogue. – The Washington Post
Forty years after independence and they have gone massively backward, and it is back to blaming colonialism.
Lets put it together.
Before Mugabe, black Africans were better off in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe did not have some billion percent inflation pre-Mugabe. Then with Mugabe, things got worse for black Africans. Do we see the relationship here? Pre Mugabe, Zimbabwe or Rhodesia had a functioning power system, now that is in disrepair. With black African farmers, their agricultural yields dropped. There is just such an inability for Africans to take responsibility for the failings of their governments.
Whites Who Bring Resources are Considered Investors Because of The Color of Their Skin?
Nanjala Nyabola makes the following inane statement about white versus blacks as migrants.
They also hint at another set of questions, including why the economic system sees black foreigners as a threat while white foreigners are seen as “investors” regardless of how many resources they bring to the table and the points at which they enter the economy. There is a legacy there that must be addressed much more comprehensively than simply declaring that African foreigners are criminals and must leave.
The vast majority of immigrants to South Africa are poor. As they do not have funds, it would be difficult to classify them as investors. Many of them stay in South Africa illegally, and the violence against them by black South Africans is primarily around the South Africans blaming these immigrants for stealing their jobs. Therefore the categorization of poor African immigrants as “job stealers” and whites as “investors” is not “regardless of how many resources they bring to the table.” Just the opposite. But Nanjala Nyabola can feel at least somewhat satisfied in that South Africa is seen as a country on the decline, and there are few white investors interested in investing in South Africa.
Indeed, the great tragedy of erasure and cooptation of Pan Africanism is that we now have at least two generations that do not remember or believe in the promise of transnational liberation solidarity on the continent.
Africans agreed that the less severe abuses in a country in Africa that was white-run should take precedence over the far more extreme abuses by Africans of other Africans throughout Africa. However, once the white society was brought low, that solidarity evaporated. This should come as no big surprise.
SA: The Greatest Decline of a Nation Not at War
South Africa’s performance on a range of social, economic and governance measures deteriorated more in the past 12 years than any other nation not at war, according to Eunomix Business & Economics Ltd. South Africa’s decline in ranking is only been superseded by conflict-riven countries such as Mali, Ukraine and Venezuela and its peers now include Colombia, Jamaica, Latvia and the Philippines, compared with Portugal and Slovenia in 2008. – Bloomberg
Indeed, the entire nation seems to be in a state of decay where nothing works any more. Electricity is first on the list. Wi-Fi, in a country where most cabinet ministers can’t use e-mail (as confessed to me by one such minister), is certainly on my list. For the people of Kliptown, on the other hand, basic sanitation is a top priority. – The Conversation
Nanjala Nyabola claims the right to blame virtually all of Africa’s problems on colonialization. Her analysis is either ignorant, or merely dishonest as she, and many other liberally oriented writers, come up with excuse after excuse to do everything to try to deflect blame from Africans or African culture and ways of doing things. Amazingly, more people of European heritage continue to accept these evidence-free accusations.
African countries are not “recovering” from colonialization. Colonialization was the high point for African countries. Analysis of the degree to which European powers colonized various African countries shows that those that were the most colonized have fared the best. Countries like South Africa that stayed white governed did very well until they reverted to black African rule. The same is true of Namibia — although they continue to have white rule. Africas try to get across the Mediterranian sea and who complain of massive human rights violations in African countries don’t seem to be wanting to get away from colonialism, they seem to want more of it and what is provided.
None of this is to turn a blind eye to abuses under the white rule of South Africa — however, these abuses were better than how Africans in other parts of Africa were treated. The blind eye that is turned is by those that only observe abuse if the abuser is of European descent. Again, Africans from African run countries immigrated into South Africa during the apartheid period.
Are authors like Nanjala Nyabola doing anything to address the real source of the problems in Africa?
Is she discussing birth control, corruption, the lack of effective governing, and the fact that Africa’s education system is so bad?
No, she is putting her energy into blaming every African problem on non-Africans. This may feel good, but it is not functional and will not lead to improving the condition in African countries.
Blackouts were suspended in February 2008 as Eskom brought idled plants’ units back into service and delayed maintenance to ensure the lights stayed on in the run-up to the 2010 soccer World Cup. But the lack of upkeep took its toll on its facilities, with outages resuming in 2014 and intensifying the following year.
Interesting comments on this article.
Mugabe was initially kept in power by the rural vote: the unsophisticated peasant folk who swallowed the promises of unlimited land, milk and honey. Free Sl-l1T. This initial legitimacy gave him time to entrench his power by stealth. When the voters turned on him and defied constitutional change, he went berserk. An orgy of revenge followed.
Fact of the matter is that ‘independence’ was foisted upon large swathes of Africa before the continent was ready for Western style democracy. Why, and who should accept responsibility defines one’s basic political and philosophical bent.
And this one.
In our high mindedness, we–the USA, Canada, W. Europe–were horrified at the cruel discriminatory practices of S. Africa and (then) Rhodesia. Far-left Americans cheered the Kenyan rebellion against Great Britain, led by the Mau-Mau. Their strategy was not to defeat the UK but just instill so much terror–by murdering every white family they could find–that Britain would give up.
Even the Arab Algerians didn’t reach to that level, at least not as a policy.
Point being, there was zero outrage over the thousands of murders people like Mugabe committed . . . because they were “liberators” or “revolutionaries.” We venerate the memory of Nelson Mandela but ignore the fact that the ANC committed countless acts of terrorism in copy of the PLO. Bombing grocery stories, gov’t buildings, etc.
My fellow South Africans actually believe that Mugabe gave Zimbabweans land but many Zimbabweans chose to leave their land so that they can come and live in fear of Afrophobic attacks in South Africa.
Corruption seems embedded in the DNA of Zanu-PF leaders. Sanctions have hurt Zimbabwe but what hurts it more is the rot at the top. It started under Mugabe, with his family members often implicated. A president’s salary is public knowledge. His family’s lifestyle isn’t commensurate with what he earns. To then claim that he is a clean man surrounded by criminals, as the coup plotters stated, is thus disingenuous. Zimbabwe watchers will remember that it was under him that $15-billion of diamond revenue “disappeared”.
A reflection on Mugabe’s life would be incomplete without mentioning his role in the Matabeleland atrocities from 1982 to 1987. At least 20 000 people died because one man — Mugabe — wanted to consolidate power and could not brook opposition. There are South Africans who have attempted to excuse him because they believe he was fighting against apartheid–trained and sponsored dissidents.
A comment on “land reform.”
“Bread-basket of Africa.”
That was Zimbabwe before the idiots took control.
They handed land to “War Veterans” who didn’t want land, they wanted cash.
War Veterans wanted a pension and easy life : they turned the farms into brothels.
They beat up the farmworkers who lived on the farm and called them ‘collaborators’
because they’d taken part in the successful colonialist economy.