on Africa

Many of my friends might have found my last post offensive. I could have lost a few friends because of it. Some could be asking why I allowed a racist bigot to comment on it. I have little to no patience for bigots. I find it strange the lengths people can go to bolster their bigotry.

In almost a daily basis, I read about Africa this or that by some empty heads who would not know where Africa sits on the world map and it is tiring. And even when the reporting is done by Africans, it still leaves much to be desired.

This is one such article.

But I like this comment. It expresses my sentiments in a way I couldn’t articulate them

Considering Africa’s history and that many countries are a collection of dozens or hundreds of nation states, democracy in Africa will always be far more complex than it is in the much more homogeneous Western societies. African countries dominate the top positions in Greenberg’s Lingusitic Diversity Index.

Just like Africa’s true geographical size is misunderstood due to the Mercator projection, I don’t think many people in the West appreciate just how complex African countries are. And Western media (perhaps due to lack of time and space) condense African stories to very simplistic narratives that don’t fully capture wider realities.

Most European countries for instance are largely mono-cultural (other cultures are present but there is usually one overwhelmingly dominating culture and language). Compare the mono-lingual European countries with e.g. Nigeria with more than 500 languages, Congo with more than 200+, Tanzania with 100+ etc. Many European countries would struggle to manage the complex levers that running some African countries involves.

Look at France. It is supposed to be an advanced democracy but is clearly struggling with just 10% of its population being a different culture from the majority. Some of the laws being passed in France like the ban on the burkini would see acres of ‘Freedom and democracy is dead in Africa!’ headlines in the Economist and other mainstream Western publications if they were to be announced by an African government.

What about Belgium? Just a puny two-language problem sees it struggling to keep its panties on. Now multiply that 2-language division by 250 for Nigeria, 100 for DR Congo, 50 for Tanzania, 40 for Ghana, 35 [68 correction by Mak] for Kenya etc. America is still straining to treat its minorities as equal human beings decades after the civil rights movement.

I like that African countries such as Botswana have shown that simply taking Western democracy as is without local customization is foolish and unsustainable (its actually at the root of many democracy problems in Africa). With its steady progress, Botswana has shown that for democracy to succeed in Africa, it must be blended with local realities and accommodate existing traditional leadership structures.

It’s only idiots and bigots who would thing Africans are not doing anything to improve their countries. It is only idiots with a limited knowledge of history who do not that the policies of the Brenton Woods institutions, skewed trade and continued raping of our resources by the west and aid among other things keep Africa on its knees.

No African country even purports to advise the west on how to run their countries. Isn’t it time for Africa to be left to find it’s own solutions to governance. Africa is a large continent. It is diverse. And it is complex.

And finally if your response to this is going to be Africans are not intelligent, I am having none of it. I will delete your comment.