Culture and African Development: Recasting the Dice of Africa’s Future
Africa, the Dark Continent of Conrad, has for long been a victim of civilization. The legacies of colonization have sharply brought down her much cherished culture. Culture is the totality of man.
Many scholars have concluded that colonization brought nothing to Africa than slavery and loose of consciousness. Walter Rodney expresses this in his book How European Underdeveloped Africa. He listed many instances to include the economy and political life in Africa.
With a sharp contradiction, Albert sees Europe in Africa as a privilege for Africa to develop. Africans could have developed better than where she currently is today. He blamed African leaders as the problem of development. Both scholars are right in their explanations and perspectives to the coins of colonization.
But I will like the Africans themselves to answer this question: What is the secret of Chinese development? Why have the Africans failed to develop?
The colonizers were religiously motivated to deliver the African countries from their leaders. This was one of the reasons for colonialism. Till today, the richest groups of people in Africa are the religious leaders. They use the church money on their names and families to build universities that their one-thousandths members cannot afford. The largest private universities in Africa are located in Nigeria. These universities are owned by Muslims and Christian leaders. These universities hardly give scholarship to their poor members who lived by hunger to pay tithes and offering. The colonizers gave out scholarships up till now to Africans while these leaders want to build heaven on earth with the gain of their worshiping centers. The irony is that while the Africans with scholarship will prefer to stay back rather than coming down to be polluted by the system of underdevelopment, the African religious leaders have successfully created their own religion that the poor Africans will worship through them.
Development is embedded in culture. African traditional leaders are nobody in the face of development. They are the neglected institutions. Colonial masters at first made use of the traditional leaders to purify the culture of the Africans. These African leaders misused these opportunities and increased the yoke on the shoulders of their people. Yokes of physical slavery, extortion and power exaggerations brought a re-think of African traditional institution.
Ekeh (1975) felt that Africa’s ‘common men’ politicians planned to take over the sacred seat. They fought and did so through, and with, propaganda. The traditional institution lost the seats of powers to new African elites who found themselves and terribly in the shoes of traditional leaders. The traditional African culture had suddenly become a mere form of cover picture of lion and lioness of a nursery kid. African traditional institutions were corrupt, fought for the sovereignty enjoyed by them before colonization. They refused to believe that democracy simply means lay down the sovereignty for general purposes.
African [leaders] elite tenure of African development is the second colonization. Here, Rodney was right that colonization was evil. But Rodney will be wrong to associate this to the white folks. Africans at this stage took ransom of other Africans. Sudan resolved to pre-colonial concept feudalism. South Sudan became the slaves for the north Sudan. In Nigeria, corruption brought unforeseen segregation. There are the poor, those who worked as slaves in different government and private parastatals, and the rich who also work in these places. The rich have access to the resources of the nation. They steal and assist their foreign partners-in-crime to accelerated stinking wealthiness. They made laws to chain the poor; they are always justified by the judicial arms of government. Rodney refuses to see the underdevelopment of Africa from the irresponsible leadership posture and lack of meaningful vision on the part of African rulers and people. Obama made it clear in his visit to Ghana in 2014 that African will only be developed by the Africans. It is a waste of time and resources to conclude that Europeans alone underdeveloped Africa.
African culture refused to develop Africa because of this development-mute of African leaders’ positions. China was a colony of the British but managed to emerge a developed country, her language and products, law are China-centered. Africa development is being hampered by Africans.