Writers have a role in reconstructing Africa’s image

The African continent is sadly synonymous with conflict, poverty, hunger and disease. Worse still, more often than not, an African solution to the problems that rock the continent cannot be obtained.
Zachariah Mayaka Nyamosi
Zachariah Mayaka Nyamosi

The African continent is sadly synonymous with conflict, poverty, hunger and disease. Worse still, more often than not, an African solution to the problems that rock the continent cannot be obtained.

The DRC crisis for instance, is insurmountable. Its complexity stems from a raft of the developed world’s interests suffering from denial and hungering for selfish gratification.The Libyan crisis had a lot of behind the scenes manipulation; the rich nations exploited the rich North African nation in the guise of protecting civilians.

An educational approach is necessary in resolving the African crisis. African identity and history should reverberate in our curricula to liberate our children’s minds from ‘western superiority’ thinking and patronage.

Let there be more African literature to reclaim the African image and celebrate our unique identity and values.

The masses need emancipation. The belittling attitude towards Africa lives large in the western media and can be more conspicuously observed in the literature by racist writers like Joseph Conrad. In his novel, Heart of Darkness, he paints a dull and sickly picture of Africa. In his imagery, he likens the black color with dirt and sickness. According to him, black skin is as a result of not taking a shower for too long and sickness.

In Conrad’s novel, Africans are savages and emaciated nebulous figures. They are so dark that you cannot see them. Sailing on an African river is a terrifying thing, as the rivers are full of meanders and rocks while the western rivers are straight, safe and easy to sail on. In short, there is misery in Africa.

Contrary to the Western portrayal of Africa, African literature has tried to reconstruct Western ideology on Africa. The conflict that rocks the continent is traced to colonialism and Western religions.

In Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s novel, The River Between, the two ridges, Makuyu and Kameno, lie as sleeping lions, quite ignorant about what is going on in the outside world.

Rivalry, that is characteristic of what has been happening in the Arab world, creeps in when the missionaries come with their religion, dividing Africans down the middle. Divided in the lines of tribes and religion, the once coherent African society gets up in arms against itself. In the middle of confusion and chaos, the colonialist rules and exploits Africans. The divisions that arose along the lines of religion and tribe still exist today. We no longer think about ourselves as African. We look at ourselves as us and ‘them’.

Reversing this trend is as difficult. However, education can be a powerful tool of liberating ourselves from the talons of conflict, feuds and destruction.

The Western support and involvement in the African affairs should be taken with a pinch of salt. They are not up to any good.

This popular question about why the UN and the West are doing so little about the conflict in Somalia and even Syria (as of most recent reports) should be answered..

 

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