Thought Leaders Series: 2018

Made in Africa

Unlike Europe where Christianity was enforced initially by Emperor Constantine, then later followed up by soft power until it became a core fabric of society and social norms, Africa had conflicting philosophies.

In Africa we already had our traditional indigenous philosophies (which scholars argue served us well, with potential for further development), later there were also elements of Judaism from Ethiopia, Islam through various Jihads, and much later Christianity.

While Islamisation was achieved through force, Christian missionaries could not justify the use of force in their efforts, so they left it to the pirates and military. In fact, few missionaries spoke up against the injustices, violence and racism of the era.

When Africans questioned the actions of missionaries, they provided explanation using the Bible. Largely the story was that we did not know the God of Abraham, as such, the wrath of God had come upon us. Therefore, in order to make amends we had to change our ways, and accept Christianity.

However, the conundrum remained that what they saw about the Christian faith was in fact cruel. It was racist and imperialist. Even when they accepted the faith, they were not received as fellow human beings. This left doubts about Christianity, hence the elites resisted, trying to redeem what was of left of their traditional beliefs.

They could not accept a faith that barely tolerated them. A faith in which they were never seen as equals, a faith in which they were seen as accursed for being ignorant that God had visited earth; hence they had to atone through activities and rituals. This includes obeying their slave master as ‘unto the Lord’, because it was the will of God.

So, like volcanic rocks, we have layers of ideologies unlike any other race in this World. Hence we suffer from identity crisis, and we struggle psychologically with feelings of insufficiency or inadequacy; which we try to cover up through materialism, individualism and greed.

The challenge for us in this century is to embark on the work of delaying. This will take the shape of deconstructing existing institutions and social norms, with a view to harness the best, and replace the worse. By this we carve out a fit for purpose strategy for the future of Africa, and the World at large.

This difficult but attainable feat will take a long while, but, it is not an option. The opportunity cost of foregoing such intellectual investment is incomprehensible. It will be a travesty of justice, a project that is worth every ounce of our time and energy.

Reachout | Revive | Recover