Really, now, why is Africa poor?

Nice excuses do you have more concocted for the next 100 years or so? I mean its been over 50 years and using the same excuse does not attract pity anymore. I mean take the case of India for example, their population alone is greater than that of the African continent, colonized for more than 300 years,Gained independance [sic] 60 years ago and you can see substantial development. How come this is not the case in many African countries? English is not their mother tongue either.

Comment by Reid – 28 March 2008 @ 10:53 pm

The above comment was in response to my 20 June 2006 post called, “Why is Africa poor?” And I just wanted to react to the comment. I know full well that the commenter, Reid, won’t listen to me because his/her mind’s made up already, but what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. I wish Reid would come out so we could talk things over (my email is at the top of http://sotho.blogsome.com, in case you’re reading this, Reid).

Nice excuses do you have more concocted for the next 100 years or so?
As a matter of fact, yes, I do. Except they aren’t excuses per se but what I believe to be the truth. Much as you have accusations and insults stocked up for the next one hundred years, your side of the story, I have what I believe in stocked up, too, my side of the story. And what I believe is that a series of events have contributed to stunting the economic development of many African countries. And, yes, slavery and colonialism are part of that series.

The same thing happened to the American Indian and the Australian Aborigine. It is no surprise that these peoples, who were subjected to the same conditions Africans endured, have been marginalised and are actually struggling to survive in the land of their birth. Only a very short-sighted brain will fail to see this, and choose to label it something else. And skin colour has no bearing on intelligence or stupidity, Reid. None whatsoever.

Skin colour is the organism’s reaction to the intensity of sun rays. The stronger the rays, the more pigmentation cells in the epidermis, called melanocytes, become active, producing melanin, the dye that gives dark people their tan.

I mean its been over 50 years and using the same excuse does not attract pity anymore.
Today we’re still going on about the facts of Alexander the Great‘s life, which did not occur 50 years ago but more than 20 000 years ago! What grounds could you possibly stand on to suggest we should not speak about historical facts of half a decade ago? And what historical facts would those be?

By 1905, African soil was almost completely controlled by European governments, with the only exceptions being Liberia (which had been settled by African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia (which had successfully resisted colonization by Italy). Britain and France had the largest holdings, but Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Portugal also had colonies. As a result of colonialism and imperialism, Africa suffered long term effects, such as the loss of important natural resources like gold and rubber, economic devastation, cultural confusion, geopolitical division, and political subjugation. Europeans often justified this using the concept of the White Man’s Burden, an obligation to “civilize” the peoples of Africa.
[source…]

Colonialism came after slavery, mind you. Slavery devastated the continent, depleting it of its healthiest, most viable, strongest citizens. Then colonialism came in to finish the job. When I bring these facts up, it is neither to attract pity nor to seek revenge. It is to bring them up in order to respond to comments such as the one you left on my blog.

And why in the world would the African seek pity? From whom? As far as I know, the African wants the European and the American off the continent. But there’s just too many raw materials and minerals in Africa, aren’t there? And the Occident ain’t getting out unless it has to, is it?

I mean take the case of India for example, their population alone is greater than that of the African continent, colonized for more than 300 years,Gained independance [sic] 60 years ago and you can see substantial development. How come this is not the case in many African countries? English is not their mother tongue either.
It seems to me you might be making an error made by many, which is taking Africa to be a country. For the sake of clarity, Africa is a continent, a continent with many countries; India is a country, and is equivalent to one among the 53 states on the African continent. Due to this, India could not have undergone the same fate under colonialism as Africa. Let me explain.

In the nineteenth century Europe scrambled for Africa, and proceeded to carve it up like pie to suit its strategic needs. No concern was given to how the pie was carved, nor to what toppings were on each piece. In fact, “some 10,000 African polities were amalgamated into 40 European colonies and protectorates [source…].” Imagine that. 10 000 boiled down to 40!

Traditional foes were placed within the same borders, and villages were divided by new boundaries. Take a look at the map of Africa and see how many straight lines there are. India is one country and did not suffer this fate.

Upon independence, when colonial armies were no longer present to keep foe from foe, wars broke out in many places on the continent. And this has nothing to do with skin colour. Take the former Soviet Union, or Yugoslavia. These places, like Africa, had artificial frontiers held together by an ideology backed by a well-trained army. Take away the army, and the rest is history, among black people as among white ones (actually brown and pink respectively. Sort of). Like I’ve said, if you’d like to talk, you’ve got the comments section, and you’ve got e-mail.