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The Westerners are coming to save our black ass!

 It is not only naïve but also immature for us Africans to continue to believe that when the White Man comes to Africa he comes to save us! We are not children and we certainly do not need the white man to save us as we are very capable of saving ourselves.  If you read the western newspapers, yes it’s true that you won’t find anything positive written about Africa in it unless, of course, it contains material that demonstrates how the White Man saved the day!  Being indoctrinated into us being pitiful, incapable of taking care of business, is a way of thinking that needs to end and needs to end now if we are to move forward as a nation and as a continent. 

From Botswana to Nigeria from Somalia to Mauritius the movement to take care of ourselves has begun. From some of our older generation but mainly from our youth who have taken hold of our cultures, arts, music, films, books and our future and are embracing them and are proud to shout that this is who we are, we are not British and nor do we want to be, we are not American, or German or French we are Nigerians, Congolese, Ethiopians, Zimbabweans and we’re proud of that fact!

The negative news written by the West about our individual nations are meant for one reason and one reason alone. It may come across as news but it is to reaffirm every single day that Africa and Africans are nothing but corrupt, diseased, helpless, constantly at war, starving and unable to sustain our own countries.  This doctrine is so believed by the people in the West that they have us believing it too and with it this need to be saved by them. 

Because of this doctrine some African nations sit around eagerly awaiting the handouts they give to us, which in turn allows countries like the UK to tell us that if we don’t tow the line they’ll cut off the funds. Because of this doctrine, some African nations have even allowed foreign corporations to purchase land that for the small price they pay today will have larger consequences in the future. 

Whilst in Lagos I met so many young women in their thirties all aiming to make a difference, working towards their individual goals of financial independence and with access to the internet the world is their oyster and all this without the help of the ‘White Man’ telling them what to do.

Educated Africans are returning home, realizing that the only way to make a difference and to make their countries a better place for future African generation’s is not to run to another man’s land and help water his grass, which may seem greener, but to water their own grass in their own land and that with care it too would be just as green, if not greener.

So when I read articles from the BBC about some ‘White Man’ going to Nigeria to help entrepreneurs I ask myself ‘Why?’ Nigeria is a nation of entrepreneurs has been for centuries and   without the aid of the “White Man’ so we do not need the assistance of the ‘White Man’ in Africa, who helps to stoke the corruption in order to line their pockets deeper. We need ourselves to save ourselves.  Just like the white man didn’t need anyone, neither do we.  Thanks but no thanks.

Page 1 | How to Write about Africa | Granta 92: The View from Africa | Magazine | Granta Magazine

Page 1 | How to Write about Africa | Granta 92: The View from Africa | Magazine | Granta Magazine.

Africa’s imaginary gay crisis – By Ebenezer Obadare

 

 

A spectre is haunting Africa – the spectre of homosexuality. Over the past decade, a curious and totally unlikely coalition of religious leaders, the ruling class and sections of the mainstream media has launched a vigorous campaign against homosexuality and perceived homosexuals. Trading in the most spiteful rhetoric and symbols imaginable, members of this alliance have sung from the same hymnal, affirming, implausibly, that homosexuality is a recent import into Africa and that homosexuals are responsible for the continent’s postcolonial throes. Not unpredictably, the alliance’s investment in hate has yielded bountiful dividends of violence and murder. In January, the Ugandan teacher and gay rights activist David Kato was murdered by yet unidentified assailants after a national news magazine in the country “outed” (Kato never attempted to hide sexual orientation) him as gay and openly urged his execution. Ugandan police were suspiciously quick to blame his death on a botched robbery operation.

In October 2010, the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published a front page article naming gay Ugandans and encouraging people to “hang them”
Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone's cover calling for the killing of gays

African countries, to be sure, are not unique in this assault on perceived sexual deviance. Western countries may have instituted a raft of legal measures to protect sexual minorities, but such legal protection often has to contend with deeply rooted cultural antipathy. The truth is that even in the West, the struggle for sexual parity is unfinished, a fact the ongoing battle over same-sex marriage in the United States amply illustrates.

 

Even so, the situation in the West hardly compares with the atmosphere of competitive denigration found across most of Africa today. I advance two preliminary explanations. The first is economic. It is hardly a coincidence that the two countries where anti-gay rhetoric has been most strident in Africa – Zimbabwe and Nigeria – are also two of the most economically destitute. In both countries, the percentage of the population “living” on less than a dollar a day has risen steadily over the past two decades. Average life expectancy, according to the 2011 Failed States Index (where both are ranked 6th and 14th respectively) is 33.5 for Zimbabwe and 48.3 for Nigeria. In both countries, a frustrated quest for a rational explanation for economic crisis has produced an implausible demonology in which gays, lesbians and sexual “deviants” of all sorts apparently team up with sundry “demonic forces” to ambush not just those countries’, but Africa’s economic progress (incidentally, South Africa, with the most liberal sexual laws in Africa, is also the continent’s most economically advanced country).

The situation in both Zimbabwe and Nigeria seems to validate the link between material privation and political suggestibility. Where people are poor and poorly educated (or not at all), they are more susceptible to political manipulation by demagogues who parrot easy explanations for complex and fundamentally rational economic problems. In most of Africa today, the insidious fiction that the “gay next door” bars the way to economic progress has been the cue for a massive pink-hunt. The parliament in Uganda is currently mulling over legislation to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. In Nigeria, the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2006 expressly criminalises homosexuality and same sex marriage. In Zimbabwe, Dr Martin Ssempa, surely Africa’s most virulently homophobic preacher, bludgeons the poor with graphic images of the “sickening” things that gays get up to, ironically enough, in the privacy of their bedrooms.

None of this politico-economic explanation can be meaningful without a connection to the expanding influence of religion in Africa. This is my second explanation. Over the past three decades, much of the continent has fallen under the scourge of Pentecostal Christianity. As a social phenomenon, one with key transnational connections, Pentecostal Christianity in Africa has carried a moralist and doggedly anti-intellectual banner. On the one hand, Pentecostalism manifests as a moralising force that narrates Africa’s economic and political crises as an inevitable outcome of public immorality (and what can be more immoral than two men or two women going at it in their bedroom?), a situation, it would seem, that can only be rectified by a collective return to the straight and narrow. As an anti-intellectual force, Pentecostalism in Africa is profoundly ahistorical in that it eschews human, especially political, agency in favor of pseudo-spiritual “explanations”.

This is the overall anti-intellectual, anti-rationalist climate in which gays have become, quite literally, African societies’ whipping boys. I emphasise this climate in order to drive home an important point: given the atmosphere of pervasive irrationality, gays are only one among many other “enemies”. In Nigeria for instance, an ever growing list of “demonic forces” has recently expanded to include so-called child “witches” who are blamed for even economic problems that pre-date their conception. In the most tragic examples, brainwashed parents have colluded in the killing of their own children.

With many evangelical upstarts naively promising salvation in exchange for gays’ renunciation of “sodomy”, the continent is once again chasing shadows at the expense of real solutions to its serious problems. Such problems may vary in manifestation and degree, but they are unified by their being traceable to a common set of factors, foremost among which are elite myopia and failure to invest in human capital and physical infrastructure. These problems require urgent and, suffice to add, rational attention, and as it is, African governments’ capacity to deal with them is hobbled by their failure to keep their highly skilled young men and women at home. These are the things we should be obsessing about, not what the dude next door is up to when the lights are out.

“Black Women are at the bottom of the Totem Pole”

During the rehearsal of ‘Rosie’s story’ back in the nineties in London, one of my fellow acting colleagues, a funny white guy who was casted in the role of the social worker,  said something that would change my view forever on how I as a black woman was viewed through the eyes of others.  Up until then, I just assumed that I was like everyone else in London, a citizen trying to find a place to fit in this world.  Mais alas, that was not true.  According to my “Patronizing well-meaning” fellow actor, he felt sorry for us black women, because we were at the bottom of the totem pole, the social pecking order.  First came the white man, he explained, then the white woman, followed by the black man and then us, poor black us!  (Rosie’s story was about a young black girl and so the majority of the actors were black women).  A feather could be heard landing on the
concrete floor until it got caught up in another draft and wafted on its way to another landing site, as our mouths hung open, our motions stopped in mid-movement.  That pose, that silence was held for just a few seconds but it seemed like minutes.  As that well-meaning patronizing actor was then attacked from all corners as if he were a fat cow to a pack of hungry hyenas.  We pounced on him and showed no mercy.

Our director, a wise black woman, decided that this was a topic that our fellow white male actor needed to be educated on.

We told him that we did not want his pity, nor anyone else’s.  That if the white man would take his foot off our necks we’d be just fine, that we wouldn’t have to work twice as hard to achieve recognition because the white man was afraid of a little competition.  We went on and on about why a black woman was not at the end of any totem pole or pecking bloody order.  An hour went by and he listened and nodded his head, he asked questions, and we answered. In the end he apologized, thanked us for enlightening him and we all went back to rehearsing our lines.  However for me, like I’ve already mentioned, this shattered my happy illusion forever and my attention began to focus on how the world really did view me as a black woman:

Adjectives

  • Angry
  • Sexually Exotic
  • Sexually promiscuous
  • Loud
  • Unimaginative
  • HI-V carrying
  • Baby happy
  • Lazy
  • Bad attitude
  • Into gangs
  • Hater’s of white women
  • Fat ass
  • Single mothers
  • Un-educated
  • Low self esteem

These adjectives could go on and on.  Now of course black women are not perfect, but neither are Asian women, Indian women nor white women for that matter.  But if you want to destroy a culture, if you want to oppress people use any of the above adjectives and keep repeating them until people begin to believe them to be true, including the very people you are stereotyping.

All around me I see sister’s, strong black entrepreneurial women, who are silently and diligently making a difference around the globe.  From:

  • Writers and bloggers
  • Fashion designers
  • Jewelry designers
  • Highly successful business women
  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Mothers/Wives
  • Actresses
  • Sports personalities
  • Politicians
  • Singers
  • Accountants
  • Engineers
  • Scientist
  • Preachers and
  • Billionaires

To name but a few and this list, too, could go on and on. Black women are and have made a difference to the world.  We are contributing in so many facets it’s incredible, yet one reads very little about the positive work that we do. However we have shown that we do not require approval to continue silently or loudly to do what we do for we have shown that we are on nobody’s totem pole!!!

A word from my baby sister

Well Hello….

Yes, It has been a while, again.  Time just seems to be on a fast track and I never seem to be able to keep up.  In the last seven weeks so much has happened to my personal life that I would love to share with you all, but I have to get it straight in my own head before I can do that.  Don’t worry nothing awful, on the contrary…

So today I would like to share with you all something written by my baby sister, enjoy….

 

Welcome again to this series and today, I have decided to borrow the chorus of one of music’s greats – Michael Jackson- who so aptly sang “Man in the mirror”. “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways, And no message could have ever been clearer, If you wanna make the world a better place, Take a look at yourself then make a change”.

In Nigeria today, there is not a shortage of conversations about the state of the country, the economy, politicians, corruption etc. Offices, lunch rooms, beer houses, clubs, churches, mosques, online, offline, newspapers, blogs, EVERYWHERE you turn, EVERYONE has an opinion about how bad Nigeria is and who is responsible for it (fingers are usually pointed at the leaders) but not enough about what can be done.
Today, I would like to declare to you that, WE are part of the problem. Yes, you and I.
Let me introduce you to a seemingly unimportant incident that informed this article. This weekend, Sunday to be precise, my husband and I went to a certain hotel for brunch. The place was filled with all sorts of people, races, accents, name it. It will take a short while to get a table so we had to put down our names and we were second in line. Slowly, other people came after us and put down their names and among them were these two ladies who also wrote their names. After about 30 minutes, it was apparent what was going on and my husband got up to check the list. Sure enough, our name had been crossed off and we realized the ladies had claimed to be us and took our spot when a table opened up…off they went to grab brunch while we still had to wait.
Do I hear you say, “Okay, what’s the problem here? They were just sharper than you guys”. WRONG!! This and many more are the things wrong with our nation. Too many wrongs are acceptable and when you attempt to speak up, everyone gathers round quickly to say, “Let it go”. We see this type of behavior everywhere. We don’t want to ever wait our turn for anything. We drive on the BRT lane that’s meant for buses only. We go to the bank and our first instinct is “How can I skip the line?” Why is it difficult to follow the rules?
Have you noticed how we can NEVER start anything on time? Most events starts a minimum of 2.5hours later than the advertised time. When the road sign says, “Do not enter”, someone somewhere decides, “This does not apply to me” and they proceed to disobey. Let me list a few more and as you read through and recognize the one you are guilty of, silently nod your head :-)
a. We pee on the roadside
b. Drive on BRT lane to get out of traffic
c. Actively skip the line when we go to the bank, restaurants, coffee shops, anywhere, it doesn’t matter to us
d. Drive against traffic if it favors us and find a way to justify it.
e. Follow a convoy out of traffic just to get ahead
f. Yell at a policeman when you get pulled over because we do not believe they have a right to do so
g. Make a conscious effort to show up 2-3 hours late to an event just because you don’t want to be the first one there
h. Scream at the airport when asked to please take off your shoes and belt to get checked
i. We throw trash out the window while driving and yet we are the first to say, “Lagos is so dirty”.
j. Drive in the opposite direction on one-way streets because it’ll get you to your destination faster.
k. Run the red light because we just cannot imagine stopping. I am actually convinced that people think the red light means “Go”.
l. You don’t complete our tasks thoroughly and when reprimanded, somehow we feel we are not liked
m. We push N500 or N1000 in the hands of security men so they can let you park in places where it is clearly NOT ALLOWED.
n. We run the red light, we get caught and to avoid facing the wrath of the law, we ask, “Oga how much abeg make we end this matter”.
I could go on and on but take a minute to nod well, surely, you must be guilty of one, two even…
So ask yourself again why you expect anything more from our leaders. This same behavior and more is carried on by a lot of us and this plays out in public glare when we go on to become CEOs, Governors, Senators, President etc. So next time when you see bold headlines like, “XXX is summoned for questioning over $500m bribery”, before you shake your head, throw your hands up and lament, ask yourself, “Given the same opportunities and circumstances, would I have made the same mistake”?
If we all refuse to do any of the above and more, we would have made a conscious decision to begin the walk down progress lane. All of our issues persist because there remains an abundance of people who are willing to break the law and cut corners as long as it favors them.
If we must make progress, change must first start with the man in the mirror…

GOP CANDIDATES – STOP BORING US!!!

President Obama and the Democratic Party have been in office for a mere 29 months.  They began their tenure with an uphill struggle of aiming to put America back on top during one of the worst economic depressions since the 1920’s.  This economic down turn took the Bush Administration 96 months to orchestrate and for that we are still picking up the pieces.   

It seems as though the Seven Dwarfs have no balls to come up with any real strategies for getting our country back on the road to recovery.  They were all singing the same bloody tune of how they would reverse this and that, but what about moving our country forward from the mess their own party put us in? No words about that, just the same old bull crap!

It’s high time, we, Proud Americans, stop being so complacent and demand more from our politicians.  I don’t want you to reverse health care when approximately 86.7 million Americans are without health insurance at any one time.  I want to see the unemployment figures reduced drastically.  I want a decent education for every child in America and not just the privileged.  I want to see our seniors taken care of in facilities that are respectful of their age.  I want hard-working Americans not to lose their homes.  We all know that children who are placed into Foster Care have a lesser chance of being successful and yet we as American don’t seem to want to do anything about it.  Our children are our future.  We have a judicial system that incarcerates more minorities than whites for the same crime and this seems to be acceptable!  Those are some of the issues that the Seven Dwarfs could be addressing.

 Give us REAL reasons; Michele, Herman, Newt, Ron, Time, Mitt and Rick, to get off our complacent ass and vote for you.

It is all about the Pumba!

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My heart is breaking and I don’t care if you are not an animal lover, my heart is breaking for my delightful dog.   Pumba was (and still is at the time of writing this blog) our first daughter even though we have three cats, one of them about to turn sixteen, Pumba was the first animal we sort together.  This precious dog was found at our local animal shelter.  We had been dead keen on getting a Greater Swiss Mountain dog.  And after a trip to a dog show in Denver, Colorado we quickly realised that the pure bred dog was just a pompous ass!  So we returned to the shelter looking for a good old faithful mutt.  Day after day we visited not knowing what dog would be ours.  Yet we knew just by looking into dog’s eyes what type of temperament we were looking for.  We are the non hiking, none sporting kinda of people and a few days into our search there she was, our kind of girl.    The shelter told us that was an Australian sheep dog. I suppose the black spots she possessed were the only clues that they had to go by.  They had named her Jezebel!    We sat with her for an hour before she would even venture from behind the chair she was hiding behind, to grab some dry dog food, and only because she was hungry.  In the end Pumba, as she became to be called and loved by, grew into a tall, one hundred pound, beautiful New Mexican Spotted Mountain Dog.  She remained shy, but thoroughly loyal, obedient, and so easily trained that people would comment on how they wished their dog was so polite and delightful.

Today we have learnt that she has lost her fight against the aggressive big C!  In the back of my mind I wonder, and now quite loudly, how much of the crap in dog food was to blame?  We removed an almost twelve pound tumor in October of 2010, check an earlier posting, but now it’s swallowing her lungs she sounds like a smoker. 

So we’ve arranged to have her short life ended in her home.  The thought of driving her down to the vets leaving her in a sterile environment to die, wasn’t something we could do to her.  The doctor will administer the transition drug as she lies on her own bed surrounded by the people she loves and the memories that we hope she will cherish as she slips into sleep and then wakes up to run free without pain.

Good night and good-bye My Precious Pumba.  I will always love and cherish you my faithful puppy.

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