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We are on the African road to disaster

07 June 2012, 10:35

It is widely accepted that our species (Homo Sapiens) originated in Africa and that about 60 000 years ago small contingents left the continent and spread out over parts of Europe and Asia where they developed much faster than their relatives who elected to remain in Africa.

Various explanations are offered for the quicker development of these migrants like: accelerated natural selection caused by the harsh conditions; mutations which spread much faster in smaller populations  as well as the "founder effect" where a rare gene in a small group may quickly become much more common than it was in the large population.

Perhaps it was a combination of these factors that allowed certain populations around the Mediteranean Sea and China to make brilliant inventions in the arts and sciences. Animals were domesticated ; the wheel was invented ; agriculture was developed ; towns and cities were built ; sailing ships allowed exploration and trade on a large scale ; writing and later the printing press played a big part in education and the spread of knowledge .

While all this progress was taking place around the Mediteranean Sea , Africa south of the Sahara lagged behind and therefore offered little resistance when the Europeans and Arabs colonised large parts of Africa and captured millions of Africans to work on plantations in the new world.

The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe spread to North America and Japan but left Africa almost untouched except for South Africa.  So that while most of the world was marching on into the 20th century the majority of the populations of the African colonies were living a quiet rural life in small villages. When they became independent from the fifties (Ghana) onwards they were totally unprepared for self-government and failed one after the other. There were about forty successful coups in the first twenty years.

Like South Africa today all the countries suffered from mismanagement, misuse of public funds, a scramble for government positions, corruption, bribery, poor service delivery etc.

The writer Frantz Fanon observed in 1961 that politicians spent two-thirds of their time securing  and advancing their positions and a third serving the country

South Africa was supposed to be different and the world had high hopes that it would succeed where other countries had failed, but today the ANC-government show the same shortcomings that ruined the others and our supporters worldwide hang their heads in disappointment .

Will our leaders listen to good advice or will they proceed on the road to disaster they are now on? 

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