Is Africa responsible for its problems?

Ivan Mugisha: Most people in other worlds prefer to call our beloved Africa “The Dark Continent”, a term that contains nothing but negative connotations.
Ivan Mugisha & Rachel Garuka
Ivan Mugisha & Rachel Garuka

Ivan Mugisha: Most people in other worlds prefer to call our beloved Africa “The Dark Continent”, a term that contains nothing but negative connotations. Literally, that term could have been coined to advise Europeans not to travel to Africa unless they have torches to light up their paths.

It also means that the sun and moon don’t shine in Africa; generally speaking, living in Africa is like living in hell itself. Talking of hell, some people’s religions teach that when an African dies, they neither go to heaven nor hell; in other words, ‘Africans don’t have souls’.

In this ‘Dark Continent’, there are more animals than people, more trees than houses, more death than life, more sickness than health and the sad part is that it has been like that since the day European boats anchored at the shores of Zanzibar. Since then, it hasn’t even slightly improved to a “paler continent”.

The dark skin is something that has been despised, abused and enslaved. Laws that govern international trade are friendlier to developed nations but harsh to Africans.

When it comes to soccer an African footballer will not enjoy his game without someone mimicking a monkey chant at him- how in the world is that Africa’s problem?

Our leaders are demonised, our institutions sabotaged and our economies turned into dumping places for the unwanted filth from the other “continents of light”.

Whereas the Americans seek to ‘Americanise’ the rest of the world, the French embark on an aggressive assimilation policy. They believe that if we behave like them, then we are civilised.

However, a backdoor thought on all these foreign policies shows that in actual sense, our sociality and culture is despised and ridiculed as too barbaric for humanity to embrace.

More like a pet is trained to perform marvelous stunts for the amusement of its owner, Africa’s adoption of westernized lifestyles is for their amusement.

An African country that chooses to ignore such lifestyles will be cut off from all life support; it will be made to look evil even to its neighbours and will no longer receive any sort of aid.

Talking of aid, ever wondered how we got trapped into such a tight spot of needing aid so much? The conditions placed on Africa have made it so. The day Africa was unsystematically ushered into the world trade economy made it impossible for it to do much but need aid more.

Our natural and human resources were plundered and undervalued so much during the colonial period that all we thought about for survival was mother England, mother France and mother Germany.

When an African state chooses to develop under its own paradigm, it’s doing so at the risk of suffering hunger, disease and extreme poverty. It will not fail because it’s a terrible paradigm to follow, but because of sabotage from all those anti-Africa organisations.

Regardless of the unfairness that Africa suffers, there is a glimmer of hope now. There is a new crop of African leaders, both in the Government and in the private sector, that have shown resilience against the wishes of their bullies.

Leaders that seek to pursue an aggressive industrial framework, a step at a time; leaders that seek to plunge their countries out of depraved dependence on foreign donations and leaders that are selflessly willing to improve the lives of their citizens at the cost of looking like demons to the rest of the world!

Such is the new world that countries like Rwanda are hoping for.

 @RushAfrican on Twitter

Rachel Garuka: As humans, the only thing easier than the alphabet is blaming someone else for our own failures or problems. As a matter of fact, we spend more time pointing fingers in the wrong direction than we do trying to fix a situation.

It is so much easier to blame the West for every sad encounter Africa faces and immediately refer to the coming of the Europeans and the slave trade era. What people seem to forget or maybe do not know is that slave trade was prevalent in Africa long before the ‘White Man’ set foot in Africa.

When people hear Africa, they either associate it with poverty, darkness or every disease known to man. Now, personally, I do not think that the ‘White Man’ brought us diseases and poverty. He didn’t spread these diseases all over the continent either! HIV/AIDS is something that doesn’t seem to worry Africans anymore. Crazy enough, they are more worried about pregnancies than STD’s!

When financial aid is sent to Africa for the less advantaged, what happens? Corrupt government officials choose to fatten their wallets instead and then curse when the West doesn’t intervene at another trying time.

Several Africans seem to think violence is the answer to everything. Every time something they do not find amusing happens, they hit the streets with clubs, stones, tires and paraffin to start fires across the city. If money could be made from riots, Uganda would be filthy rich by now as no one riots as passionately as they do. The electricity supply in Uganda is something I have never been able to figure out. For a country with water sources and a dam, it is absurd that you can’t spend one full day without loadshedding!

There is so much we can learn from the West instead of blaming them every chance we get. Sure, we need them, but there are something’s Africa is capable of doing on its own. Why should we cry victim all the time like the West doesn’t have problems of its own?

We have beggars, homeless children and the like walking the streets in all corners of Africa. The people with money would rather make more money and buy as many cars as they can, the not-so-rich ones think because they are not rich, there is nothing they can do. We seem to have other people more worried about our situation than we do ourselves.

The continent is not rolling in money yet when it comes to fancy events and things like that; obscene amounts of money are spent just to make the occasion happen. Yet we have the tendency to expect everyone else to solve our problems – except ourselves!

The endless civil wars that plague the continent are a case in point. For some reason, the expectation seems to be that the responsibility to intervene in these situations lies with Europe and the United States. Africans seem all too happy about starting these wars and then evade the responsibility to stop them.

According to, the Belgians partly provoked the genocides that have occurred in this country when they took over in 1919 seeing as they distributed cards that identified Hutus and Tutsi’s. The latter were the only ones allowed to have places in politics, education and business thus creating a social rift between the two which eventually erupted into genocide.

These could have been avoided if the use of tribal identity to decide social placement was abolished, or if tribal identity was abolished period! Today’s inspiring Government is fighting tooth and nail to prevent those tragedies from ever happening again with its emphasis on reconciliation. That is all we need.

The time has come for Africa and its people to begin demonstrating their capacity and political will to solve the continent’s problems. Blaming the former colonial powers might have been a fine excuse in the past, but not anymore. It is time to take charge of our destiny!



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