RE: “Africa’s problems are self-inflicted” (The New Times, December 11).
It is surely us the problem, because we are sick. Both individually and collectively, we chronically suffer a century-old schizophrenic pandemic. We have been, and still are, brought up to hate ourselves and everything we own. In every mode of our lives we aspire and struggle to become other, to become the “westerner”.
And yet, a blatant impossibility, we’ll never, ever become them. And many among us who, thanks to God, have successfully managed to cross the Mediterranean have lastly arrived there alive, and have lived there sufficiently long. We will testify on this: the western countries are far from being heaven on earth. Their society is far from being the model of and for all human well-being.
Thus, in Africa, deeply colonised as we are, the well orchestrated distraction and double-impersonation that we constantly suffer results in eternal frustration: neither becoming the westerner that we deeply aspire to be, nor remaining who we are that we no longer know, and finally ending up in awkwardness in every single move in our daily life, physically and mentally unsure and uncomfortable. And, ultimately, erratic and unsubstantiated successive life decisions, simply copycats that reflect a chronic malady, a generalised impoverishment, an obvious weakness that all those others see and ride on to prey on us all the time and in many different ways.
As an illustration of the case, Rwandan ladies sometimes, alas not often enough, wear imishanana... (think of Made-in-Rwanda). When will the Rwandan men start adorning imikenyero n’imyiteero on a regular basis, reserving the alien neck-tie and jacket for certain special events and places?