Talk ‘Bout Africa
Editor: In 1967 a Virginian Court in the USA upheld a racism ruling on the grounds that if God wanted the races to mix He would not have put them on different continents. When asked why God allowed the slave trade to interfere with His plan, the Court had no answer.
For this March, National Heroes Month, a few of these descendants of slaves would point to great Black achievement. Fewer still would remember that we Caribbean people did not begin in slavery and were an accomplished people thousands of years before. But many would be quick to apply the label “racist” when one talks of things uniquely beneficial to Black People.
Yet racism and xenophobia are increasing in Europe and Anerica. Consider what happened on 11th July, 2017 in Cova da Moura, Portugal. Eighteen police officers were charged for the apalling physical and psychological violence dished out to six African youths. None was convicted. The BBC reported one officer said “ You do not how how I hate your race, You should all be sterilized, you and your shitty neighbourhood”. It could have been Donald Trump speaking. One youth, Whaffysa Magahaef, told a police officer that she was late for her University class . The officer replied “Black people study?”
But Blacks had Universities long before Portugal yet how many of us know that? And in America a black man named Frederick Patterson manufactured cars before Henry Forde ever did. Today scholars question whether Democracy originated in Greece. Truth is, long before the term “Socialism” and “Democracry” were mentioned in the west, an ancient form of Social Democracy was shaped in Africa.
Research has shown this grew out of a continent-wide constitution that governed the entire African people as a single race.
Africa was also the birthplace of a religious civilization that taught there is one Supreme Creator, predating that of the Jews by several thousand years. Research also indicates that the early wandering Jews which included Blacks, got many of their religious ideas in Africa where the patriach Abraham stayed and where Moses was born.
We challenge intervention in Venezuela but none has challenged the new imperialism of Russia and China in Africa. Russia’s Africa trade in 2017 grew by 26% to $17.4 billion and since 2009 China is the largest trader in Africa. It is said China is the money and Russia is the muscle in Africa. Their citizens are actively studying all things on that great body of cultural awareness and natural wealth called Africa. What are we doing? In St Vincent and the Grenadines not one jot of African History is taught from the curriculum of our 26 Secondary and 68 Primary Schools. But the overwhelming numbers of Asian students at top Universities is attributed to learning and the parenting of deep cultural values based on past achievements. I believe our own Black Youths, through lack of a real connection with Africa’s great past, are robbed of vital knowledge, discipline and motivation. The African cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal but bred in captivity, out of touch with its natural past, it can never achieve the full capability of its potential for speed, no matter how hard it tries.
Every great people possesses a past which guides their future and about which they are deeply proud. Without it we will always be “watered down” by other cultures and be satisfied with an inferiority complex. We survived slavery and the aftermaths of Emancipation through the strength and training our Ancestors brought from Africa. And of the 20 million slaves brought to the Caribbean about 8 million perished under terrible conditions at sea. Should their death be in vain?
It is not unthinkable that modern Africa with its challenges can benefit from looking at its awakened Caribbean sons and daughters. Like Brother Bob said to all of us “rise oh fallen fighter, rise and take your stance again”.
Haitians are still being drowned in overcrowded boats and Blacks are today being sold in Slave auctions in Africa. As history repeats itself, our wake up call should be clearly heard.
Steve J Wyllie