The image above is very artistic to me and also very timely revealing of the state of human lives with respect to human decisions, choices, policies and the general outlook of the kind of social systems that we have created and which we also fight tooth and nail to keep in place.
Now let me ask you, when you look at the above picture, what comes to mind? Two Africans on both sides of a divide, separated by a stone in the ground and trying to put up a mark of friendship through a no-cross-border handshake? Or maybe what you are looking at is the image of an unseen borderline that will literally pass through the house in the background of the image, cutting the house in between two countries? Or what you see is a chicken taking a casual stroll across a foolishness called a border, without even giving an oops about the two brothers doing a photoshoot?
The fact that a chicken actually has more right to stroll in between both counties without giving a hoot about the name of the immigration officer on duty, while the men who are supposed to be the custodians of life on earth are posed for a photograph above a stone, but can’t cross over without some dummy documents, shows the dullness of the human society and the deeper dullness of those who are trying to keep it in place. The chicken is definitely the hero in this image.
By the way, I found the image above in a Facebook post and it instantly caught my attention. Here is the caption that was used for the image pots on Facebook:
The pillar in the image is the boundary between Ghana and Ivory Coast
This is Badoukro the border town.
A few months ago, the President of Kenya, Dr William Ruto was in Tanzania for a meeting and during the meeting he said something that caught my attention. His words did not catch my attention because they were new to me, after all, I have always thought along those lines, but they caught my attention because I had not thought any of our African heads of state were thinking along those lines. I can’t repeat what he said verbatim, but it’s this line of thought he expressed:
“How is it that animals can cross our borders from Tanzania to Kenya and from Kenya back to Tanzania without visas while we Africans have to get visas to cross borders in Africa?”
I believe he was referring to the wildebeest migration that happens between Kenya and Tanzania. And that wildebeest migration in itself and the noise around it, in my opinion, is the first port of foolishness. Here is what I mean. Humans pay thousands of dollars to get visas, pay for flight tickets, and book expensive hotels in the Mara, just so they come and watch animals which don’t need visas to pass through the borders and neither do they buy tickets. They just move because it’s their right to move around.
It is obvious that the president was not just talking about the border crossing between Kenya and Tanzania, neither country uses visas for their citizens to visit each other. He was speaking much more about the unreasonable borders we have between countries in Africa, which were not even put in place by Africans themselves but which have created all manner of division and inability for trade and the movement of people across the continent. And the issue of borders in Africa is just one of the many things that are not right in Africa. For, when it’s easier for Africans to travel within the European Union than it is easier for Africans to travel within the African Union, then we have a rotten systemic problem that we really need to face and deal with.
For a long time, we at Msingi Afrika Magazine have asked this kind of question, seeking to understand why, as a people in Africa, we allow so much of what was imposed on the African continent by the colonial intruders and then won’t stop complaining about how these impositions are inhibiting our progress, and then we don’t remove the impositions. We have really wondered why.
One thing that constantly stands out for me whenever I see things like the image that inspired this article is exactly what is happening in Niger Republic right now. We all know what is going on there so I won’t dwell on it much. But I noticed something in all of the media narratives and even the diplomatic talk about reinstating the former president, Bazoum, whom the military Junta removed; not one of those stories seems to ever speak about what the people of Niger Republic really want. No one is talking about what Nigeriens really want. That right there is one of the biggest problems with Africa. No one cares to ask what the people want.
Every incoming African government only seems to know that they have people only when they are asking for their votes. For the moment that that vote is given and they get into power, it becomes a scenario of “to your tents oh ye people, I have my foreign masters to serve.”
But we all have eyes to see that the deposed President Bazoum was not really popular with his people and that what the millions of people on the street that came to support the coup plotters are really saying is that, we are so disappointed and we need someone else. We need a change from the crushing effects of imperialist France and the puppeteering they have been doing with our leaders and the stealing of the natural resources of Niger Republic. But is anyone really listening? Not really. They are too busy fighting or wanting to go to war to protect the interests of France and the US, calling it a fight for democracy. That’s nothing but the demonstration of craziness.
In Africa, we love to sing the song of democracy and are quick to want to raise military interventions when a military coup happens in any of our nations, but we really don’t pay attention to what the meaning of democracy is. Even though democracy in itself is a lie, for those who forced it on Africans are not really democratic. But since at least one rallying call around democracy is that it is of the people, for the people and by the people, then why is no one listening to the cry and wailing of the people until a military coup happens and then we all start to make noise?
So, now a barely legitimate and quite frankly undemocratic government of Nigeria wants to lead a puppet ECOWAS in going to do the bidding of their masters in the Niger Republic citing an undemocratic removal of a president through a military coup? Talk about hypocrisy. How come they didn’t begin this intervention by first asking France to shut down its military base in Niger that is empowering terrorism in the Sahel, shut down France’s uranium mining whose radio-active contamination is killing Nigeriens, shut down the US military drone base in Niger from where illegal air surveillance is carried out in the region and then give room for African brothers to iron out their issues amongst themselves? How come interventions in Africa are never about how to make the lives of Africans better? Instead, it’s always been about protecting the interests of foreign powers.
Even African reps are fools
Imagine the foolishness of those who call themselves senators and reps in Nigeria. They allocated themselves 70 billion Naira to buy furniture and renovate offices, and now they are again asking for another 110 billion Naira to buy bulletproof cars for themselves. All this is as the nation endures the highest fuel pump prices in history at almost 750 Naira per liter; one US dollar is trading at almost a thousand Naira; there is a high cost of food, lack of constant electricity and the many other woes that the people of Nigeria are going through. Imagine such a mindless and wicked disposition of those who are supposed to be the representatives of the people. Should I be surprised if we wake up one morning to the news of a military coup in Nigeria? Not one bit. Ignoring the cries of the people is how and why coups happen. In fact, I would hail those who would carry out a bloodless coup for doing well and bringing some sense to a rather senseless situation.
Anyone can say my thoughts on a bloodless coup are flawed, but I really don’t give a toss about what anyone says. We have made Africa about natural resources, money, poverty, charity, and a field for global powers to play their resource control games and not once about the people of Africa. When will Africa ever be about Africans?
Even on social media foolishness pays more
For a couple of months now we’ve been uploading videos on our TikTok page and the response has been massive. The page quickly got a huge following of over 50,000 followers. And because each of the videos we share is completely centered on the African people, we get thousands of comments on our videos and through those comments, we are able to tell the very pain of the African people and those painful comments are mostly heartbreaking, to say the least. For people comment from all across the continent and even outside.
Recently, TikTok started censoring our videos and taking them down, claiming we violate their community guidelines. I found that very idiotic and unreasonable. And I say this because all we share is to tell the people the truth about what is going on in Africa, trying to shift them away from the lies of the mainstream media that never show anything good about Africa. Sometimes they restore the videos when we appeal their decisions, but sometimes they don’t.
I notice they do this censoring of our videos that went viral and which have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. At first, I thought we were doing something wrong or that the comments on the videos were toxic, until I realized that all the global social media platforms seem to have one thing in common, shut out the Africans and never let them know or learn the truth. But how do I know that this is a case of censorship of African content? I had heard about it from the very beginning when we just started using TikTok. Back then I read that the TikTok algorithm was intentionally set to show the Chinese audience videos about new technologies, engineering or anything that makes the Chinese people think innovatively, especially to their young people, while dance, comedies and nasty things are mostly pushed to the African population. And even recently, Rutendo Matinyarare, a pan-Africanist from Zimbabwe shared this same info with us.
But it’s quite clear really, that when you see African videos on TikTok where women are shaking bums or sharing videos of naughty comedies or even sexually explicit content, they get millions of views and they are not censored and even with thousands of comments. But here lies another question: But who should we blame for all these global anti-African sentiments?
You can share your answer in the comments below, but here are my thoughts:
When will the African governments come to the understanding that African people are people indeed and that they need spaces to breathe and express themselves, and this in the form of creating their own social media platforms and every other platform that benefits the African people? The world has clearly, time and time again, proven that the African people are not their priority. But should we be surprised that this is the reality when the very governments of the African people really don’t care about their people? Does anyone really care about Africans outside of the false charity that is pushed on the continent in order to get foreign agents closer to the communities where illegal activities like data mining and poisonous inoculations are carried out?
So, back to the chicken and border crossing story; does it really make sense that animals have more rights to cross borders in Africa than Africans? Does it make sense that Africans can travel more easily in the EU than they can travel in the AU? Does it make sense that when coups happen in Africa, we want to spend billions of dollars on interventions but we really don’t care about the welfare of the people whose pains are the tinder that light the fire of the coups? We need to get our priorities right or ship out and allow bold chickens to take over.
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Samuel Phillips is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, songwriter, singer and a lover of God. As an Afrikan content creator, he is passionate about creating a better image and positive narrative about Afrika and Afrikans. He is a true Afrikan who believes that the true potential of Afrika and Afrikans can manifest through God and accurate collaborations between Afrikans. Afrika is the land of kings, emperors, original wisdom, ancient civilizations, great men and women and not some road-side-aid-begging poor third world continent that the world finds joy in undermining.