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Afrikans: don’t mourn your stories, celebrate them


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Afrikans: don’t mourn your stories, celebrate them

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A lot has happened in recent times and many cans of worms are being opened by the vocal efforts of some Afrikans who have decided that they won’t continue to be slaves to the thoughts and ideas of those who made life hard for their people, parents, and their forefathers.

There’s been quite some buzz on Twitter recently, as regards the death of Queen Elizabeth II of England. Her death in itself became a major global story from the day it was announced on September 8, 2022. But one thing I found interesting is the fact that, while her death made much buzz online by those who are celebrating her life, equally, her memory did not go down well with some Afrikans who think she does not deserve all the good stuff being attributed to her and they went vocal about what they think about her. One such voice is the CNN international correspondent Larry Madowo, a Kenyan who was outspoken about what he thought about the late Queen. His thoughts were captured in an article published on K24 Digital.

Larry Madowo lost his cool after his tweet about the late Queen Elizabeth II was flagged in Germany, the report said.

It happened that, Mr Madowo while reporting for CNN from Nairobi, explained how the late Queen Elizabeth was not liked by several people in Africa including in Kenya. The CNN correspondent noted that the brutal British colonial history in Africa had tainted the late Queen Elizabeth’s reputation among Afrikans.

“There is a complicated legacy on the African continent. The fairy tale is that Queen Elizabeth went up the tree top here in Kenya a princess and came down a queen it was because when she was here in Kenya that she learnt that her dad had died and she was to be the queen. Eight years after that, the British colonial government cracked down brutally on the Mau Mau rebellion against the colonial administration. They herded more than a million people into concentration camps where they were tortured and dehumanized,” Madowo said.

“And so across the African continent, people have been people who were saying ‘I will not mourn for Queen Elizabeth because my ancestor suffered great atrocities under her people and that she never fully acknowledged that’. And that’s why among African Twitter among black Twitter on social media there have been very many people who are ungovernable,” he added.

So, when his tweet was flagged in Germany but was not pulled down, because, according to Twitter, it did not violate their community guidelines, Madowo commented on the issue and said “Some people don’t like it when Africans tell their own (his)stories. What in the Berlin Conference is this?”

Another Afrikan, a Nigerian-born American professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Uju Anya shared her thoughts about the late Queen. Apparently, as news of the Queen’s failing health emerged on Thursday, hours before her death was announced, Anya tweeted her response. “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying,” Anya said in the now-removed tweet. “May her pain be excruciating.” As would be expected, her tweet received all manner of reactions globally. One such response was from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who quote-tweeted her on Thursday, saying: “This is someone supposedly working to make the world better? I don’t think so. Wow.”  And to this Uju Anya responded in a rebuttal tweet May everyone you and your merciless greed have harmed in this world remember you as fondly as I remember my colonizers.” Then she added later “If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star.”

Her Twitter account was blocked for a while, but on her return, Anya revealed that Piers Morgan, a TV presenter wanted to interview her but will never get the opportunity.

“Piers Morgan calling me ‘vile, disgusting moron’ while his producer calling me for interview. Tufiakwa,” she tweeted. Reacting to her tweet, Morgan said, “I definitely want to interview you. I’d like you to try repeating to my face that you hoped the Queen died in ‘excruciating pain.’ But I suspect like most vile ‘woke’ trolls, you won’t have the guts.”

Anya shot back, “No, Piers, you want to interview me, because your career died in excruciating pain, and you need the ratings. But I won’t let you chase clout off me. Like I said, I no dey put food for my enemy mouth.” Her last statement “I no dey put food for my enemy mouth” is Nigeria’s pidgin English and it means “I do not put food in the mouth of my enemy”.

The last comment I will share is that of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The EFF stated that native South Africans have not known peace since the British seized full control of the country in 1805. “She willingly benefited from the wealth that was attained from the exploitation and murder of millions of people across the world,” said the EFF.

Are these comments from Afrikans really a surprise?

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Well, I do not think I am surprised at the various comments made by these vocal Afrikans in regard to the life and death of Queen Elizabeth II. Sincerely, to be surprised would mean I either have not been paying attention to Afrika’s history, or I have been brainwashed to believe that when it comes to the pains of Afrika, no one needs to speak but when it comes to the inflictor of the pain, we should all say “hail the queen”.

Now, I know many people from multiple divides have different opinions about the statements by the EFF, Madowo’s and Anya’s tweets, and the responses they got, and that’s fine really. We all are free to express ourselves as much as we want, especially when it comes to matters of such delicate nature. And I say delicate, not just because it is the mourning time for a family or nation that just lost their Matriarch or Queen respectively, but delicate because there are others who have also lost millions of their Matriarchs due to the direct or indirect handiwork of the very same royal family of Britain. I am of the opinion that, for fairness to be given a chance, and while we “mourn” the death of the Queen, we must also be free to ask the question, “who is mourning those millions of Nigerians killed in the civil war and who is mourning the lives of those Kenya Freedom fighters called Mau Mau, and will justice ever be served for them?”. To not give room for such dialogue is saying that we are not ready for a fair and just world.

It’s not a matter to be swept under the carpet or an issue to be made light of by a faceless “Twitter Jury” who think the evil antecedents of their forefathers are nobler than the pain those antecedents inflicted on the forefathers of others. People are hurting and families have borne pain inexpressible for decades, and that cannot be wished away like a common thing nor can it be seen as mean or a sign of lack of sympathy when the descendants of those oppressed ask the question we wish to avoid. We have to address people’s pains and make recompense where needed and maybe we can begin the journey of healing our world. For it is not possible to make the world a better place while the backs of those who have carried the burden of the world still bear fresh wounds and bruises. Justice for all should mean justice for everyone, irrespective of which region they are in the world.

I saw a graphic image around the time that the Queen passed, in which the creator was trying to talk about the various ornaments that make up the Queen’s crown and her staff and where they came from. Based on that graphical image, it appears that all the precious stones that were used to create that crown and the staff were “stolen” from Afrika, India, and the many other places where the oppressive footprint of the British “empire” got to. Surely, how will you expect the descendants of those who lost their lives for those precious stones to come and bow down to the one wearing the crown made from those same precious stones?

Afrikans, celebrate your story, don’t mourn

It’s so interesting, and at the same time disgusting, how the same world that thinks that the story or history of Afrika began with the slave trade gets angry when Afrikans talk about the horror of the very same slave trade and the colonialism that followed. As if there is anything good to say about slavery and colonialism outside of the oppressive, murderous and looting hearts of the colonizers.

It is in the public record for whoever cares to find out that, the history and story of the Afrikan people prior to the Atlantic slave trade were deliberately wiped out, and the countless thriving kingdoms and their civilizations, spread across Motherland Afrika were destroyed by the same plague called the white race. And this was done just to paint a picture that says Afrikans are backward and were living on trees before the so-called “white” or “pink” man showed up on their shores to civilize them. But in the midst of all the woes and pain caused to the Afrikan people for many decades and centuries, I think it’s time we ourselves as Afrikans, begin to tell our happy stories if we have not yet started.

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The West, Europe, and those who call themselves the first world love it when the only narrative that comes out of Afrika is that of chaos, violence, terrorism, drought, Boko Haram, coups, election rigging, etc. Such news about Afrika makes their headlines and sells their magazines but they suddenly keep quiet when the best graduating students of a University in the US are from Nigeria or from any other country in Afrika. Such good news never makes headlines, but that is up to us to correct.

As Afrikans, we have a lot to celebrate even with all the pains and the terror that the backs of our forefathers have borne, their stories, irrespective of how horrible they are, are our stories too. We must tell them, not from the place of revenge or bile, but from the place of having learned wisdom and readiness to create a better future for ourselves and the next generation of Afrikans.

What in the Berlin Conference are we doing?

I watch our Afrikan leaders line up to climb buses that they wouldn’t necessarily use at home, just to get to go see someone that is about to go down six feet. And in as much as it’s ok to ride on that bus, at least it should give them the chance to catch up, and because of whatever reason i.e., traffic or congestion, the funeral planners may have given, but, will that also translate to these leaders coming back home with a different mindset about the high horses that they love to “rule” their people from, knowing that just like the Queen whose funeral they attended, their funerals too will be attended someday by both the poor and the rich of their countries?

I read about a particular Afrikan president who wrote a letter of condolence to the newly crowned British king and also wanted to be invited to the funeral but was turned down because the royal house claimed he has issues with human rights in his country. I watched as many Afrikan nations declared days of mourning in their countries for the late Queen. And like Madowo exclaimed, I am forced to also exclaim “What in the Berlin conference are we doing”?

I know some will say that it’s not just the funeral that our Afrikan leaders went for, but that they also want to build diplomatic friendships with the newly crowned king and thus cut some trade deals between their countries. That’s ok really. But how many of the trade deals that we have been cutting in Afrika for the past sixty years have really favored Afrikans, outside of the few who are connected in high places? Outside of being the hands that are used to carry out the operations of these trade deals, how many of the profits of those trade deals trickle down to the poor Afrikans? I bet you know the answers; for they stare you in the face when you see the slums that we still have in our capital cities. The answers stare you in the face when our people go to work in Saudi Arabia and come back in coffins, DEAD. The answers stare you in the face when you realized that the flowers, that we gladly export from Kenya to London do not have fragrance and are not even patronized by bees, because they were planted using toxic chemicals thus the so-called profit from the sale of those flowers came from the killing of our natural ecosystem because of pesticides and the other “cides” we are using to destroy the land. And then later, the same Afrikan leaders will go line up in queues to talk about climate change in their worthless United Nations summits, while the policies that they signed at home because of Bill Gates’ money, have reduced local farming to the planting of dead seeds called GMOs. How long does it really take to change a nation or a continent? How long will we keep this evil Berlin Conference going? Really!!

A bit of good news

Recently, Namibia and Botswana decided to abolish passports between their countries. Meaning that their citizens won’t need to show passports at their borders, only national ID cards.

“Our two countries share not only a common border but also a common people and heritage. A symbiotic and interdependent relationship exists along our common borders. Our relationship is coming from generation to generation, we have people on both sides of the country. I know how many Namibians are in Botswana, speaking Herrero, Nama, and Afrikaans here in Botswana even though Afrikaans is a foreign language. When my brother (Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi) is saying we are tired of these historical boundaries, he means it and is enthusiastic. I agree and we are going to abolish passports, we will use National Identity cards, and we will sign that agreement today as proof that we walk the talk,” said President Geingob of Namibia.

Even though this is an event that is many decades late, I still laud it because it’s a step in the right direction even as more room is given for more Afrikans to relate with each other without the evil called borders. So, it’s a piece of great news even as every Afrikan wants to hear the greater news that all passports between all Afrikan countries have been abolished or that we all have just one Afrikan passport. This is one of the things our Afrikan leaders should be falling over themselves to do for the Afrikan people, not lining up to go say goodbye to a dead Queen.

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