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Manny Obi-Wan Meyer
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The African Dream II: No more jibba jabba

29 January 2014, 10:34

Before you even start reading this, I warn you that this article will take a slightly more combative tone than my usual outputs.

If you are sensitive soul, I suggest you switch over to an article about raising kittens or Justin Bieber's latest STD scare.

Otherwise, your incited rage might just cause you to choke on your breakfast burrito. (However, if you keep calm and read to the end, you will find a balanced viewpoint.)

Let me begin by saying that, as a 'coloured', I feel my cocktail of ancestry gives me a unique perspective.

A viewpoint that allows me to comment from a perch above scrutiny, as I am not swayed by either side and I can offer the objective opinion.

 Here go the first shots.

 The Europeans that came to these shores (and indeed, those of America and Australia) were, for the most part, not the cream of Europe.

They were the dejected and disenfranchised. The statue of liberty song that welcomed immigrants through Ellis island bears testimony to this fact.

The one that goes, "Give me your tired, your sick and your poor…", ring a bell?

Your white forefathers left Europe to seek a new beginning here (and those other mentioned frontier countries), free from oppression from the established European monarchies and elitist land owning families of the day.

They came here and with their superior technologies, were able to either drive out or appease the locals for land. This happened here, it happened to the native Indians of America, it happened to the Aborigines of Australia.

 Cleverly, they used these locals to amass local knowledge and as cheap labor.

They designed and guided the building of infrastructure and roads (using this cheap labor) we have today. They established trade with the rest of the world by selling local farm produce and later, the discovered underground resources and minerals.

This allowed them to become wealthy and deservedly so. Their combination of gambling, hard work and ingenuity paid off.

Their only problem was that they never allowed (up until generally the mid-20th century) these locals to thrive and learn and themselves prosper under these new conditions, which these locals had also helped to create. Ironically, creating here the same social inequities your forefathers ran away from in Europe.

We should understand this past, learn from it as to not make the same mistakes, yet not dwell in it and move forward.

Here goes the second shot, in the opposite direction.

Fast forward to the present. It has been decades of freedom and little progress has been made. Indeed, we seem to be moving backwards.

We are witnessing a resurgence of militant ideas against the west (See J. Malema, R. Mugabe etc.) when we should be doing some introspection.

Our leaders criticize the west and western ideas, all the while riding around in BMW's, talking on iPhones, wearing Armani suits and getting coffee from the local Starbucks.

The irony and hypocrisy of this seems to elude both them and their blinkered followers, who swallow up everything they say as though it is somehow the sweet, golden nectar of the gods.

These leaders spread grandiose ideas of impending riches to these following sheep, without clear and concise plans on how this will be achieved.

I was to come to a grand conclusion, a rally to both uplift and inspire, yet I am buckling under the weight of my own thoughts.

Do we, as Africans (and I include all races and creeds here), have the ability to fix things? To rise to the occasion? I think we do.

Until my sentiments are echoed by the general population and not seen as some sort of an attack, I'll keep my head down and do the Johnnie Walker thing. Keep walking.

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