“There is no art to know the mind’s construction on the face.”
– King Duncan (William Shakespeare, ‘Macbeth’)
Who is an African? This question echoes in the halls of present society. Decades before, Africans were easily recognized by the color of their skin. Today, we have people of Caucasian ethnicity also claiming to be Africans, foreigners who are fluent in diverse African dialects ranging from the sonorous sweet Swahili to the amazing Afrikaans and foreign born celebrities reclaiming their African roots. The innocuous change from black American to African American; the harnessing of African resources, both material and human, the pre and post colonial eras as well as the pseudo-colonial periods which are upon us. However, I digress.
The dark continent as Africa has always been called; fondly or otherwise, is based not only on the color of our skin. It is a direct jab as to the cloud of ignorance that has shrouded us for generations and, if I might be so bold, is still mucking our present waters. We have been treated as inferior, hence we think we are. We have been treated like we are the ones who have a problem; hence we think we have problems. As much as every person and country has problems, Africa’s greatest problem is Africa. Whether we care to admit it or not, we live in an era I choose to call; pseudo-colonism. We are in a never ending mind game with western ideologies. We have come to think that every African ideal, policy and belief is ancient, backward, old-world and barbaric. I don’t dispute the fact that we have some ideals that are outdated, but because we are Africans, does that make everything we do outdated?
From west to east, from north to south, Africa has flourished into a magnificent continent, with our citizens representing us globally in various sectors ranging from politics to entertainment as well as sports. We have being able to evolve from a period of darkness and obscurity to a time of illumination. However, not everyone in Africa has been privy to such illumination. They privileged minority have always had the upper hand in every country. In Africa, this has become a major issue of concern. Corruption, decadency and favoritism have become an everyday practice that requires drastic measures in eradicating it. Ghana comes to mind when drastic measures are mentioned. However, these vices have become so ingrained into the African psyche that something even greater will be required before Africa can be what it should be; a continent of greatness.
The one eyed man will always be king of the blind. This is true because the man who has 2 eyes is not available. It is no longer a secret that Africans constitute the greatest number of foreigners in Diaspora. Ranging from education, work, business, health reasons and even permanent migration, Africans have always desired to pursue the fabled “greener pastures”. True, the western world has a lot to offer; only very few are willing to take back what they’ve learnt and develop Africa. We live a “everyone for himself” mantra that has not only ruined the unity of Africa but Africa itself. Language, political approach, social strata, financial ability, tribe and a range of other underlying factors have made unity impossible.
A Namibian studying in South Africa has to face segregation from white Africans just because she’s of a different color. An Igbo man being victimized and stereotyped by Yorubas in the in Nigeria, Egyptians and Algerians always willing to associate themselves faster with Arabs than with Africans just because of similarity in skin color and religion. This inequality is the very reason Africa is stuck in the rut. Those who don’t like the situation can’t do anything about it. Those who can do something about it don’t want to. Everyone just wants to be ahead so he or she isn’t subject to the whimsical desires of a non-illuminated man. This selfish attitude is what has made global diplomacy to be a joke. That is why certain African countries find it difficult to travel to the western world. The only time Africa seems to be united is when we are under attack. Be it physical, verbal or diplomatic. One of Africa’s greatest positive traits is our traditions. It is those that breed a sense of morals and a penchant for religion. In this, we are superior. However, a time might come when African countries will be ruled by those who have never lived in Africa; free thinkers who will bring the final wrecking ball and make Africa a permanent colony of the west.
So my question still remains… who is an African? An African isn’t just about the color of your skin, or your passport, or your nationality, an African is a person who lives and breathes Africa. What makes you a true son or daughter of your mother? When you take care of her and you are always there for her. The same principle applies to this scenario. Only when you rise up to the occasion and fix what has been broken, comfort what has been perverted and heal want has been infected, can you be an African. Even an American, Asian or European can be African if they have genuine and positive intentions for Africa; that’s what makes a person an African within. So instead of wondering what your country has ever done for you, I post this question to you: what have you done for Africa lately?
Dr Kenechukwu Nnamani is from Enugu State Nigeria.
He is known to have engaged in different political and business activities across Nigeria.
A graduate of MBBS from China, he speaks mandarin proficiently and has also been elected as the president of International medical society Nanchang china.
He is the chairman of kvasgroup and has vast business engagement in oil and gas, construction and many more.
We have interviewed Dr Nnamani and he recently is engaged in promotion of agro export in Nigeria.
He has helped local farmers to understand the dynamics of export and also invested in the production of palm oil which is widely used locally in Nigeria and also consumed outside Nigeria.