They have animals in Africa

2014-12-18 16:53

It hadn't been too long, but she had already tried to justify her point three times.

1. The White man ruined Africa.

2. The White man exploited Africa.

3. The White man brought death to Africa.

It must have been the alteration in my voice, or the way in which my fist shook the table, or maybe even the bold indignation in my expression, but in all said stances, I could not disagree more.

Wandering through several conversations a day, one cannot possibly avoid participating in a similar situation. The past and ambiguous future of our African continent remains forever relevant: from the beating grounds of our former African fields to today's coffee chats, what was it like before the White man came?

The White man, capitalized not only in grammar but by the grandeur that has been associated with it, carries in its might heavy connotations of domination, superiority and exploitation. Conversely, Africa, capitalized only in grammar for in the mouths of their own remains undermined, represents a continent abundant in size and in the insecurity of its people.

The story always goes that a post-colonized Africa, stripped of the pride that once adorned her, is today equivalent to the look of a malnourished child's face in an American billboard.

What of then? Was there ever a then before the invasion of the White man?

This is a question that is not posed as frequently as it should, but quickly covered up with answers, or rather, assumptions, of a perfectly harmonious Africa, inhabited by its rational people, feeding on each others' satisfaction and living by the doctrine of Ubuntu.

Africa's past seems almost too misty to decode. Of course this serves as no solid obstacle to claiming that Africa was at peace before all colonization's mess-ups. To penetrate such peace and in infiltration spread conflict and violence unbeknown to those who in such land inhabited would cause an uproar in the house of moralities. Assuming there was something of the kind.

Hobbes' fan club would have to battle this one out. Assuming that Africans lived in peace, in their African bubble, would outright undermine the theories surrounding the state of nature, as proposed by Thomas Hobbes. If Africans are, too, human beings, then surely, they were motivated by glory, gain, desire and a good reputation, as can be observed in Africa's complex political monarchical systems that once triumphed.

So, to claim that an undisturbed Africa was a perfect Africa, and that today's problems are a direct consequence of the invasion of the White man is, perhaps, not as accurate as one would wish.

Another way to look at it is to wonder where would we, as Africa, be, were we left "undisturbed".

Perhaps we'd be enjoying the beauties that a simple life can offer, eating from the tree and bathing ourselves in the sun. Or perhaps we'd be killing each other off for territory, as, after all, conquest comes in all forms, in all continents.

But then again, there are always three sides of the coin. And since things are relative, even this is debatable.

Perhaps humans in Africa are exempted from all humanity's atrocities, and have only learnt their way around thanks to the White man who was so kind to share the memo. But one must not be so cynical, one must, instead, remember that, in Africa, we have animals too.

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