Imagine with me, if you would, a man whose wife and children were imprisoned in a camp, surrounded by a pit filled with long sharp-edged poles, and barbed wire fence all around the encampment offering no way of escape. Guarded and harassed by their brothers who have been hired by their oppressor. Imagine what is going through the mind of the husband and father who watches his family from outside the camp where he and others are living like animals in the forest, sustained only by a defiant few, or items they plunder while on the run. Fighting, and some dying daily, to free their people. In their memories, fresh images of relatives and friends who had been sold off into slavery, never to be seen again.
Imagine a people, tortured and imprisoned, captives in their own land. Forced into hard labor in fields in which they once roamed free, now barely having enough to sustain their weakened bodies. Their herds driven off and harvests carted off to fatten their captors. Their crime? They had what the oppressors wanted and had been willing to trade with them as equals – but the oppressors wanted it all.
Then suddenly, these people are set free and informed they are now part of a collective called a ‘country’ with boundaries, where before they had roamed free. And their former oppressors turn around and offer the ‘hand of friendship’ saying ‘no hard feelings, let’s trade with each other now as equals – but on our terms since you know nothing.’ And these people say “Yes.” Just like that. After decades of mental and physical torment and injustice. They don’t say; make reparations you murderers, thieves and rapists. They don’t say give us time to grieve our dead. They don’t say first return those who you stole from us. No. They say, “Ok! We’re game. We will ignore the shouts of our brothers who are asking us to consolidate our power and wealth across the continent. We will ignore their desire to work together as one people to dictate terms to you. We will, once again, do as you say. No consequences to you. Have a nice day!”
Does that seem an odd response to anyone else? But that’s the story of Afrika. So what happened here? And why does Afrika continue in these old repressive patterns till today? Cutting deals that put their people into the slavery of debt. Refusing them free access to wisdom pathways across the continent, which could actually help transform Afrika for the better.