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Africans definitely need to rid themselves of their 'slave mentality'!

19 Aug 2022 at 06:54hrs | Views
Sentiments expressed by Malawi president, and outgoing SADC chair, Lazarus Chakwera - that, Africa risked being plundered of its natural resources by global powers from both the East and West - are the most welcome, refreshing and profound words I have heard from this organization, or any other leader on the continent, in a very long time.

What I have always found unsettling, and rather disturbing, about Africans, most particularly our leaders (both in government and the various opposition formations) was the apparent 'slave mentality' - which, somehow, appeared to make them desire to be subservient to one global power or the other, as if we were inherently created with a strong irresistible penchant to be ruled over or controlled by others.

It honestly does not matter whether we are referring to ruling parties, or the opposition - there is always one common thread sticking out like a sore thumb...they seem totally incapable of functioning or operating on their own, without some world power either calling the shots, or hauntingly lingering in the background.

This could be in the form of a country like China being awarded carte blanche by the ruling establishment, to freely loot and pillage natural resources with relative impunity, as a new form of colonialism - whilst, callously and arrogantly dispossessing local populations of their ancestral lands, yet never benefiting anything worthwhile from the exploration and exploitation of their God-given wealth.

Or, an opposition that takes instructions from Western capitals, as Washington DC and London, and a terribly high propensity of always running to these global powers, crying over affairs in our own countries - as if, the people of Africa were not capable of solving our own issues, without the interference of outsiders, who themselves are only after our natural resources.

Possibly, such a slave mentality emanates from our history as a continent.

We can recall that, during the colonial era, settler regimes were predominantly backed by Western countries - who had come to the continent for the sole purpose of plundering our abundant riches.

During this same period - especially, after the Second World War - we witnessed the growth of such new world powers as Russia and China, leading to the so-called 'Cold War' with the West - culminating in a vicious and ferocious fight for global hegemony, particularly over the already colonized richly-endowed continent of Africa.

As a result, countries as China and Russia came in to ostensibly 'support' liberation movements in Africa - by providing them military training and hardware - of course, not motivated by a genuine desire to see a free and independent people, but as a means of laying their hands on the natural resources, being held by colonial Western powers.

In other words, the whole backing we received from these Eastern countries was never a form of 'all weather friendship', but merely the climax of the 'Cold War' - with Africa being the new Vietnam and Korea, where proxy wars for the control of our resources were bitterly waged, with the local citizens as mere pawns.

After 'independence' was finally attained - it was pay-up time, as China and Russia demanded their pound of flesh - which is why, today, we have national governments, as in Zimbabwe, which appear practically powerless over the Chinese, who are virtually running the country, and riding roughshod over the indigenous people, with scant regard of the country's laws and human rights.

On the other hand, Western powers did not simply lick their wounds, and go away silently - but, have been working overdrive to reestablish their lost domination over our natural resources, mainly through opposition political parties.

Tragically, such is the story of Africa!

We seldom find truly independent countries and entities - that genuinely run their own affairs, without undue influence and control from one world power or another.

That is exactly the unenviable predicament the Malawian president Lazarus Chakwera understandably found unacceptable, and bravely spoke against on the occasion of opening the 42nd SADC Heads of State Summit, recently held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The continent of Africa can never dream of developing and its people prospering - as long as we perpetually feel the need to pander to the interests of foreign powers...both from the East and West.

None of these domineering countries care about us at all - but, only after our natural resources.

How, then, are we to advance and develop our nations when our wealth - which should be benefiting and uplifting our livelihoods as Africans (shared equitably amongst its people) are allowed to be pillaged by world powers?

Surely, ever since the Chinese, for instance, commenced plundering our diamonds in Zimbabwe - how have the ordinary villagers of Marange and Chiadzwa benefited?

Are their lives better off than they were twenty years ago - or, are they actually worse off, since being dumped in areas without the most basic amenities, schools and hospitals - yet, billions of dollars worth of minerals have been extracted and sold by Chinese companies?

We find a similar troubling picture in other parts of not only Zimbabwe, but Africa.

Africans need to finally break themselves free from this reliance and dependence on global powers - as if we can neither run our own national affairs, or fight for our own freedom from oppressive ruthless national leaders, without these powers' involvement.

Let us set ourselves free from the crippling shackles of this slave mentality.

- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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