Major A. F. Mockler-Ferryman, British West Africa; its rise and progress (London, S. Sonnenschein and Co., 1900.) General Research and Reference Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.
Unlike Soyinka, who wrote about colonialism from the African's point of view, Orwell, like Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, presents the moral dilemmas of the imperialist.
When will people stop WATCHING FROM AFAR as africa gets plundered time and time again, and actually GO THERE TO HELP AND RAISE AWARENESS!!! It absolutely angers me that so many people are aware of the situation in africa and continue to stand idly by as the continent gets its final nail in the coffin. If you are reporting this, knowing the effects it could have, and you are not in africa, writing letters to the zambian govt, or using the power of the pen to get those within zambia aware of it, then you are honestly the worst of them all. You see what is going on, but are too lazy, cowardly, or don’t care enough to go to africa make africa your home, and defend it. .
The question is: when will Africa wake up and free itself from clinging on to the adopted false consciousness of an ideological worldview which legitimises the power and privilege of the very forces that are committed to dismantling it, and as Ngugi wa Thiong’o says, pulling down the emerging protective wall around it and lulling its inhabitants into closing their eyes so that, as they did before, they sleep again and condemn themselves further to the abyss? Could 25 May – Africa Liberation Day – be the day to reflect?
Other possible threats include the continued marginalisation of African languages, symbols and heroes and the resultant self-emasculation of the African identity and other worst forms of enslavement that have never before been experienced, the increased subservience of African cultures to foreign ones, the rise of Chinatowns on the African landscape, expressed through new export growth centres, and the preservation of Africa’s position at the bottom of the global value chain. Combined with the already entrenched effects of American, British and French imperial presences on African culture, winning the ongoing cultural war that the Chinese have joined will be tough for Africa, requiring an ideological mind shift, a strong and enlightened national leadership and significant consensus. People would need to be willing to endure a period of upheaval.
WAKE UP DIASPORA, AFRICA NEEDS YOU!!! Your efforts are absolutely INSIGNIFICANT in places like Israel, US, and other racist countries. You converse and wait and beg for your rights from your oppressors who will NEVER give you equality and equity because that is simply not your home. It will NEVER happen. Why are you fighting for a piece of your oppressors pie when you can have your own pie, cake, dynasty, and secure this for your future generations in Africa? It both baffles me and saddens me so much because i’m realizing that the stubbornness of the black diaspora to realize it has lost the battles across the world, would lead to the eventual loss of the war for Africa. Absolutely cementing the African as a the second class human everywhere across the globe.
On a continent where the major cultural industries – film, television, music and food chains – are already dominated by Europe and America, the establishment of Chinese Confucius schools threatens to frustrate the continuing efforts to resuscitate Africans’ sense of self-belief and identity, their confidence in themselves and the world around them, and to unify the continent in a way that is perhaps best captured by the vision of the African Renaissance. Most importantly, a new, more subtle and dangerous form of colonialism, which, unlike the Western interventionism of the past, enjoys the consent of those on which it is preying, is quietly underway, and with deleterious consequences that will only become clear with time. The imperialism of the 21st century is cultural, soft, digital, less conflictual and effected in spheres where the West lacks the moral high ground to disparage China’s actions. By infusing the institutes into existing national educational institutions, the Chinese are investing and securing the spread of their culture into the minds of Africa’s leaders of tomorrow – in many areas – be it industry, academia and politics.
It is probably easy for cultures, like the American one and others, to resist or at least manage external influences. For African cultures, already beleaguered by centuries of Western domination and operating within the imperial supremacist economic and social structures which make Africa fertile ground for neo-colonialism, the rise of Chinese Confucius schools poses several threats.
It is creative because it is not static and, like life, it renews itself amidst changing socio-economic and political contexts. It is vulnerable because some cultures are being eroded and replaced with others, usually those that are more dominant. Whether or not Africa’s new imperial suitor succeeds in its aims depends, in large part, on the resilience of the host cultures, the strength of the host economies, and the consciousness and agency of the host populations.
Language allows the consumption, internalisation and articulation of foreign ideas through various media (radio, television, books etc.) and the possibility of expanding relations across many places. Education, acquired through scholarships to China and through Confucius schools, captures the promising youth of Africa, implicates them in Chinese philosophies, material and ideological exchanges, and creates a moral indebtedness that is difficult to totally unpick. One possible outcome for this scenario is the production of a national leadership with a sense of alienation from its own settings and which may increasingly look East, seeking to imitate the master.
In other words, what many critics have termed Chinese imperialism, like all imperialisms, including its Western precursors, recognises that it must empty Africans of their independent human essence if it is to thrive and defeat existing patterns of social practices that inform locals’ knowledge and understanding of the world, how they engage in that environment, and how they re-create and interact with it – be it through customs, moral norms, laws, beliefs, tastes, art or other forms of cultural expression.
The founding of these centres also represents an admission, perhaps learnt from the West, that economic and nuclear power alone do not go so far in terms of effective control of the world. To truly and fully control a people, the powers that be must also influence their cultural habits, their language and belief systems. This has been routinely referred to as soft power. This strategy of conquest has been previously deployed in Africa by France, Britain and the United States – expressed through the creation of enduring institutions of cultural dominance like Alliance Francaise, the British Council and the American Cultural Centre – with considerable success and a devastating effect on the African psyche, akin to what renowned African writers like Okot Bitek and Chinua Achebe wrote aboutregarding the colonial condition.