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The Curse of the Black African


- Njoku SaintJerry A.

( Monday, March 19, 2007 )

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"Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don't want to be around each other? You should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you." -Malcolm X


Hatred is evil and the force of evil, overwhelming, to an extent that a good cause is scarcely visible, which permits evil to be so celebrated in place of good. It’s like the two biblical lanes of one broad easy way that leads to evil, a literal hell and ruin and there be many that follow that lane to their shame and death, and one narrow hard way that leads to life and there be few that finds it. Whichever way, every negative trends had always echoed louder than a good cause but like a lie told in the dark, it only last a night and the dawn of a new day will bare its consequence to the unfortunate many that follows the easy road that leads to failure and death. This is the infamous path a teeming number of us black Africans has chosen to thread on, the broad way that leads to ruin, with a sizeable few struggling through the path that leads to life.

To the average reader, the purpose of this article is to enlighten us on the dangers of an inherent recession into darkness and a natural paralysis that might make a garbage of us to humanity and possibly pave way for a higher understanding of a personality in crisis, a society in turmoil and a people under a perpetual self torture of emotions, soul and body.

I have come across many young literate and intelligent Africans both at home and in the Diaspora and a question always bother my curiosity, If we do have these breed of intellectuals who exhibit a great deal of civility both in attitude and business and are contributing immensely to the development and progress of some of their host countries oversea, why is the entire continent littered with a good number of people of reprobate minds who not only constitute the African population but are among the ruling and elite classes. Why are the people religiously blind yet loud about it, there is a false sense of pride blooming among the elites and ruling class, there is a self induced segregation among people already battling with poor classification of humanity, ignorance is at its bloom and a fear of the unknown rules with a mocking grip.

A Personality in Crisis:

Almost every African I have taken time to observe shares this problem and it cut across ranks, from the age of 7 through the age of 17 and another from the age of 18 through the age 28, and finally from the age of 32 through 65, there is a colossal confusion of identity! As kids growing up we were forced to adore a false image of privileges that was supposed to naturally get to any human being, black or white, and that with time. our next door neighbour had bought a car then in the 70’s and had given a flat order with the aid of the town crier that anybody who touches the car will be dealt with decisively…One fateful day while admiring the car from where it was parked as was the routine then…we were just fascinated by a flashing white car, I saw myself on the shinning metal and went to take a closer look…and that was my undoing, I got thoroughly beaten and my poor mother had to go for a fight she might never win but she did her best.

‘Mr. Don’t Touch’, a new name the man has earned by this unwelcome attitude…will come out and scream ‘Do you know what it takes to buy a car... Can your generation ever save to buy one in their cringing poverty?

Then he will zoom off in his white 404 Peugeot Car while neighbors stare in awe at the magic of riches…’Mr. Don’t Touch was among the pioneer graduate of University of Nigeria Nsukka and had also managed to earn an MA in Education in his time. He lived in this illusion until his death in the early 80’s but the interesting thing is he died a poor man without one visible legacy apart from the ‘un-ending internal wars’ among family relations and in-laws at his demise. At that age, despite his paper education he will be considered as a man with a bloated and confused identity…one who could have been reckoned with as a model in the enlightenment and education of his people but he chose to pride in a false sense of fulfillment.

As I grew up, there was religion; we were made to accept that virtually everything African are in their character, in darkness, and depravity therefore a perpetual evil and doom looms ahead of us...and this threat to life and belief sticks, an unknown fear has been planted, those who braced Christianity much earlier in Africa looked with contempt on other Africans as barbaric, idolatrous and doomed to the fire of hell and distanced themselves from any form of relationship with their own kith and kin who were yet to embrace Christianity, I remembered an uncle burned his entire electronics and some households because he was made to believe that those gadgets are objects of Satan and could distract you from the kingdom of God then he literally avoided almost everybody including his little community apart from members of his church because we were considered sinful.

As the day dawned, another identity crisis had set in, The Christianized Africans looks away from his own home as ‘heathen’ and doomed to hell, igniting a strange fear among yet to be Christianized individuals who swung on headlong without any proper orientation or education other than…”You are doomed to hell of fire for participating in that ‘Age grade meeting’ and cultural dance. On this platform, an unknown fear has gripped the unfortunate lot…we suddenly flocked the churches not that we trusted any God but because we feared what we don’t know and with our ill-informed minds we were going to make a mockery of the entire episode, not grasping the merciful nature of God and the call to service.

With this confusion of identity and personality clash we grew up, some to an illusive chase of riches to impress the unfortunate many among their own people, others to a stupendous conceit of conversion and righteousness to an extent that they set up monumental cult personality with some strange un-ending titles that deceitfully gives an impression of a divine deputy to God. I once met a young man who addressed himself as Chief, Dr. Prince Pastor XYZ (Names withheld) and my dear African really admired himself to be on a spiritual edge as he handles the microphone on stage.

Fear of the unknown

Confidence thrives in every man that appreciates his worth. The absence of that creates fear and insecurity. One of the deceit of ego is to make us seem more special and rated than others and this exist immensely where there is a blind level understanding of humanity, we were all created to complement each other, whether black or white, rich or poor, privileged and less privileged. Among us Africans, a perpetual fear looms, a fear rooted in the chains of slavery, an environmental and economic threat that has taken over the scars of slavery.

Slavery has ended but why do the fears hang on still? Fear is propelled by trust. You are only afraid of what you don’t trust to give you a sense of security, what you trust to harm you! and where there is a lack of self worth, everybody is afraid of everybody, everybody wants to impress everybody, this has produced so much distrust among us black Africans so in order to produce some spider-web securities that gives us that strange fears of insecurity we hunt each other like a wild game, we cheat each other, we take advantage of each other’s weakness and feel comfortable with such callousness.

And the weak turn to erstwhile religion that has considered them too sinful to merit a heaven for no other crime other than possessing an identity of which you’re bound to drop for a fake self. My brothers, this is why there is a lot of churches among us here in Africa, a lot of pretentious religious claim of what we are not because we hope to impress somebody but nobody that we are a converted people, then others considered privileged built high fenced walls, bought cars, built massive ‘spider-web palaces’ some illusive riches!…feeling secured and not bothered an inch why a teeming number of their own people are down and worn in every spheres of humanity.

Because of an unknown fear of ‘rejection’ the privileged few had to impress everyone but nobody. In doing that, they siphon monies meant to develop their own regions, give their own people some decent education and necessary environmental condition and flee overseas to impress everybody but nobody… While the fears drives on and when that sudden acquired security is not considered safe enough, he buys a title- a Chief, Dr, Archbishop, Prince, Rev. XYZ-to impress everybody but nobody. Then if by mere chance the individual mounts any rostrum of authority, he want to impress his ego to the unfortunate many, his own people, by means of deceit and arrogance.

Those who couldn’t contain the pressure of insecurity to life and a bleak future resort to crimes and lawlessness, if this is only a means to impress their presence to everybody but nobody, the society thrives while the fears rages on.

The Lord almighty is a loving and merciful father; and he said in Hosea 6:6, “I demand mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God and not burnt offerings”

The weak, the wretch and those who could not fit in into that spider-web security run amuck into a littered tent of miracles for everything but an unknown fear of an ‘evil force’ inherent in us that we can control and God will love us more other than our ‘unsolicited sacrifices’ of miracle seeking and vanity fair …Nobody has paused to learn about this knowledge of the Great God of mercy and Love…who cared less about your unsolicited sacrifices when you had scarcely shown some love and care to your own people by assisting them in everyway. And the fear lingers because we had never known this God in the first place other than running from a hell of fire we are already living on. God have mercy!

The threat of Ignorance and Deceit

When you lack a sense of self worth, your struggle to impress everyone and everything around you becomes obsessive. At that state of mind, there is a conflict of natural knowledge and imminent blindness to see even one’s own face in a mirror. The natural gift of reasoning is threatened so much that a dream of fantasy of an ideal world of our own, made by us and controlled by us rules the humanity in us. Our poverty, our crimes and failures all emanated from a sheer threat of ignorance to address our own myriads of teething problems, natural wisdom will teach us that a garden of flowers unattended to will be overgrown by weeds overnight, like my dear ‘Mr. Don’t Touch and the flashy white car’ he was so conceited in his prime acquisition, silver-spooned kids and some personal comfort while his entire community lived in total darkness that the knowledge of ‘human insecurity’ eluded him.

First, he had built his spider-web palace without fenced walls, he was such a force not to dare in his little imagination…those days, the ability to speak proper English was one added weapon, and he had always used that word ‘Don’t touch my car”…since we could neither tell what that means nor pronounce it correctly we assumed it was his own ‘magic words’ he got from his white teachers…Mr. Mba was so pleased, at his stupid unmatched profile.

As the day unfolds, the threat of poverty and lack was becoming so unbearable that one day, some ‘strong willed’ kids break into ‘Mr. Mba’s poultry and took some chickens away…this was a great luxury. Those days there was little you could steal from anyone because ‘stealing’ was such a great offence! His sheer ignorance has been threatened; he built a fenced wall at last!

The crop of African rulers today without one bright skill of leadership were among those ‘chicken thief’ that break into Mr. Mba’s compound and made away with some caged birds…they grew up without any sense of belonging or civility due to bad mentorship or none and by the time they gained access to the place of power, pilfering has become a norm. My dear Pioneer Educator was too ignorant and self conceited to teach his people the values of education, the gains of patriotism and the blessing of sincerity, hard work and honesty that his carelessness plagued him to his ruin and death, like African rulers who always die without a viable legacy nor a successor but another specie of thieves and lawless individuals often more vicious than the former who steal their own people dry and watch them suffer in penury and excessive lack, plagued by a degree of deceit of ignorance that leaves you blind and deaf only to hear a dirge or emergency siren rushing their rottening body to an oversea hospital to die in shame! Because they scarcely built any viable institution, health, education nor security.

The Nigerian Government once took an advert campaign on image laundering to an oversea media firm, CNN, and paid a huge sum, while the contract was pending the oversea media was doing what they have always done best…ridiculing a continent of peoples that are too blind to see their own face in a mirror…by televising the poverty stricken and neglected Niger Delta region and its sudden break down of order and lawlessness, the Nigerian government felt insulted and had to withdrew the initial advert contract with CNN after having deposited some ‘loose millions of dollars’.

Marcus Garvey the great Prophet earlier warned; “History is written with prejudices, likes and dislikes; and there has never been a white historian who ever wrote with any true love or feeling for the Negro. The Blackman should expect but very little by way of compliment from the pen of others”

There are many media firm that could have done a better job than CNN for the Nigerian people or they can afford to take the advert around Africa but sheer ignorance and greed has blindly plagued the African rulers to an extent that they have been made to despise their own possibilities and have rather developed into parasites.

Aboard a Kenyan flight from Nairobi to China, I was surprised that the flight attendants were young Chinese girls on the China-Africa route and one of the reasons for the listings I was made to understand was ‘Chinese language ability and cheap labour’ No doubt the HR department must have done a good job attempting to give the national airline an international outlook by means of staffing and I could remember having met many young Kenyans studying Chinese language and other professional courses in a couple of universities here in China, some graduated and have returned home struggling to mingle into the already saturated labor market while those who stayed back searching for English teaching jobs are here battling the colour stigma that plagues every African.

Carter G. Woodson, in his book ‘The Mis-education of the Negro’ states that; by service we may prove sufficient unto the task of self-development and contribute our part to modern culture."…This is not going to be a service rendered by ghosts but the African to Africans…Charity they say; begins at home. The threat of ignorance and self deceit is driving us all blind to see our own rottening sores…Nobody but the African can redeem herself from this self inflicted curses.

The curse of religion

Booker T. Washington said, "Sentimental Christianity which banks everything in the future and nothing in the present is the great curse of the race" Throughout the Bible, Abraham was a busy man working and owns a myriad of cattle, Isaac, Jacob and Moses all tilled the land and worked tirelessly for a just cause and provided for their own families and I remembered a place in the same Bible where it states that if your brother comes to you in need and you prayed and tell him to expect a miracle and don’t help him solve his immediate needs, or you tell him to go and be clothed when he really needs even some of your used clothing to keep warm, what sort of a man are you? And it asked; Are you not better than an infidel? A wicked man!

When churches took over the place of industries, empty factory halls converted to worship centers and a celebrity oversea evangelist invited as guest over flamboyant religious meetings to help the people pray off poverty and diseases, nothing other than a magic is expected.

A certain writer once celebrated the emergence and rise of religious activities in Africa as a blessing and added; “no factory or any other industrial firm can boast of the patronage religious activities enjoys, citing a particular church in Nigeria as a credit. Little did my dear African know that the empty factory halls that have given residence to churches is as a result of massive unemployment and economic failure that has produced crime, spiritual and physical diseases that has pushed the teeming congregation into frustration and hopelessness, little did he know how gullible my dear common people have become in believing anything that’ll produce a quick solution to an unending tales of pain and neglect to an extent that the titled clergy have preyed on the innocence and simplicity of his own people and has stringed their hope on ‘some miracle’ instead of working hand in hand in true Christ-like love and commitment to help his people get decent education, some employment opportunities by means of skill acquisition, shelter and provision of simple welfare.

Where the secular authorities have failed the suffering people and the entire system and they turn to religion that promises quick returns without ‘principles and character’ the depravity and gullibility of such minds will know no bound. There is certainly a heaven to merit by mere faith in God but not without works or services, Services to humanity and the society.

Where the national education system have failed, let the church come up with a better plan, where factory has folded up due to bad economies, let the church come up with organizations that will engage ‘the teeming unemployed and frustrated people’ that are held captive by some quick magic promises of miracles and God will reign over other lapses.

Self Esteem

My people, there will be much to say; of learning and making more books there will be no end. The only viable difference between the Black African and others is Self Esteem; if you have it, people will regard you and if you don’t have it you’ll always be looked down on. People who don’t think highly of themselves always run to others for every slightest excuse and tend to create some unnecessary impression over everything, they criticize themselves, cry all blames and are prone to endless bickering over every flimsy excuses.

This is the solution; a degree of self esteem, sincererity and simple honesty puts you on a positive edge of life, if African rulers reflect the people they rule then they must be lacking a great deal of this quality and will only usher that expected great change when they deal with the curse of a personality in crisis. The absence of courage to do your own things, defend your own home and depend on others for the simplest security breeds an unknown fear; all these vices are a by-product of lost self esteem. The ignorance, deceit of ego and some blind religious practices are self inflicted curses on a people that lacks simple knowledge of themselves and their God given qualities.

I have avoided the word ‘African leaders’ in place of ‘rulers’ in the entire article because a Leader will find time to read and act no matter how busy and fussy his brain is…if we make out time and read all that is written about us both negative and positive and don’t act, the curses will cling on. Thank you

Malcolm X
Photo Above: Malcolm X
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