Every African nation that has gained independence from a European oppressor almost always ends up being poverty stricken despite the abundance of natural or manpower resources.
There are various reasons for this, but the end result is the same. The criticism is sugar-coated and behind our backs – and sometimes in our faces – we are seen as fools by other races.
Many post-colonial black Africans have proven to be the most unproductive and those who have tried to claw themselves out of poverty have been failed by their own people more than by history itself.
Our faith as blacks is based on the fact that the God we believe in lives somewhere in the sky.
But what many do not realise is that God lives within us.We seldom listen to ourselves, let alone look for opportunities within ourselves to develop.
This is ironic since we are a generation that has a majority of religious worshippers.
In fact, our oppressors only exploited us because they saw God-sent labourers, not to mention that they see God within themselves so they worked together to exploit us and build an economy.
Unfortunately, seeing God within ourselves as blacks has proven to be a challenge.
Do you ever wonder how much depth, reasoning and unification world leaders had to apply in order to make racism and segregation acceptable?
Successfully implementing the two in their respective nations for centuries had to be a work filled with determination and firm belief in the “rightness” of their actions.
Ironically, when the time came to take a global stance against colonisation and oppression, the oppressors did so without even raising an eyebrow, conveniently forgetting that they were the main proponents in the first place.
This might not be the best example, but the underlying lesson is global cohesion. Can our race really get to those heights when we struggle with local cohesion?
In the land that we wish to claim today, what has made the Jews wealthy or Afrikaners see opportunities in the labour that we offer?
What has led the Indians and Somalis to see prosperity in our streets that we vandalise when putting on demonstrations or marching against injustices?
Why do we bow down to the Walmarts and Vodafones at the expense of local entrepreneurs?
It might be that people who do not have faith, foresight or an understanding of freedom are often involuntarily at the mercy of developed nations and communities.
Their ignorance and dislike of self only fuels the businesses of those who take advantage of them. This is unfortunately a reality that is facing Africans, from leadership right down to the grass roots.
Our picture of progress has always been associated with what the whites, Europeans or the West have or have achieved. For example, the German sedans, striving for a beautiful house in the leafy suburbs, having the best in French or Italian fashion wear, listening, broadcasting and emulating American music and films.
The list of these foreign things we desire is endless.When we talk about liberation, peace and wealth, it’s always referred to as something whites took away from us.
We need to re-establish through history and redefine using the present who we were before colonisation and what it means for our current communities.
The answer is definitely not in the material things that we’ve chosen to define our success like the Louis Vuittons, Range Rovers and plush mansions.
I would like to see us rekindle the humility, sense of brotherly and sisterly love, community sharing and development that we have lost.
Let us redefine what success meant for us before we were colonised. Like the Bible says: “Do not envy thy neighbour”. Let us rather find greatness within and work together to develop and nurture it.
Our task is to build a foundation of academies and give our children and future generations the opportunity to have a global view and perception that will keep them inspired. Children in the townships should not just learn from TV that there’s a big world out there.
They need to also learn this from their schools, government and leaders. We have a responsibility to give them the belief that they can rise above the poverty many of them are born into.
Without creating this sense of purpose, we will keep fighting for land and, sadly, once we get that land, we won’t even know how to manage it, let alone work together to develop it.
We are already suffering the “we’ve got it now, what do we do with it” syndrome?
For instance, once we achieved our hard-earned freedom and had our first black multimillionaires and billionaires, our first tenders, deeds to land, many have no idea how to use those to develop communities.
There will never be an answer until we create a necessary sense of purpose and stop thinking money or the material things are what will make us progressive.
So whether you are a powerful politician, a rich businessman or a domestic worker, if your being is not rooted in pride of who you are, the foolish mentality will continue to grow.
The poor will get poorer and the success of our liberation struggle will depreciate, our well of resources will run dry, our lands will go to waste, unemployment rates will rise, the torch of the Mother Continent – South Africa – will diffuse, and if you don’t hear the sceptics say blacks are fools today, you will hear them loud and clear then.
Now that we have started a dialogue, the next step is to change our attitude towards each other.
» Metane is a South African hip-hop artist