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Schrodinger's Africa Once Again

18 March 2017, 22:17
I don't pay nearly as much attention to SA as I used to, after so many years away, but I do check in from time to time.

I suppose it's no surprise that there's been such an outcry about Helen Zille's colonialism tweets. After all, she's white, and colonialism was only slightly better than hell, with crappy outfits.

However, what has struck me most about the outcry is that once again, people with longer African heritage than the average white Saffa are loudly proclaiming that "had white folks not interfered, we'd have got there eventually" and that "white folks all think Africans can't do stuff for themselves."

The problem is, dear reader, that what we have here is Schrodinger's Africa. Like the proverbial cat in the box, which is simultaneously alive and dead until the box is actually opened, we'll never know, one way or another.

Perhaps the African people WERE just late bloomers, lagging a few centuries behind the rest of the world. Perhaps they WOULD have solved all the problems of the world, given enough time.

The trouble is, they didn't get that time, because every civilization throughout history has followed a pattern, one part of which was expanding their empire. The Greeks did it, the Romans did it, and eventually, so did Europeans.

Unfortunately, because Africans had NOT got to the level they may well have achieved by that time, the admittedly brutal and brutish colonizers rode roughshod over pretty much everything.

We'll never know what Africa might have achieved had that not happened. But we also can't deny that when it did, the colonists did bring technologies and advances that had as yet not been invented in Africa.

So while the cat that is pre colonial Africa remains in the box, subject to speculation, the facts are that Zille was not wrong. Politically incorrect, certainly, but factually correct.
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