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- Darfur Report
Until lions tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter
– African Proverb
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will
– Frederick Douglass
The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave
– Malcolm X
Every man is rich in excuses to safeguard his prejudices, his instincts, and his opinions.
– Ancient Egypt
The fate of Africa is that after slavery, colonialization, apartheid and neo-liberal globalization is that Africans are not agents of their lives. Definitions, agendas paradigms and perspectives are still imposed by Europeans who dominate all aspects of the African reality. Thus the image of Africa, the concepts of Africa imposed on the world are those created and controlled by non-African forces. Globalization is therefore not only an imposition of products but also of ideas and ideals- at the expense of broder human diversity.
– 'Alik Shahadah
What kind of world do we live in when the views of the oppressed are expressed at the convenience of their oppressors?
– Owen 'Alik Shahadah
We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us.
– Chester Higgins Jr.
Leave no brother or sister behind the enemy line of poverty.
– Harriet Tubman
If we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.
– African Proverb
If we do not stop oppression when it is a seed, it will be very hard to stop when it is a tree.
– ' Alik Shahadah
If the future doesn't come toward you, you have to go fetch it
– Zulu Proverb
Therefore, it is necessary, as a first principle, for the African—romantic or not—to produce rhetoric, which showcases to the world the most beautiful aspects of Africanity.
The need for the continuation of this tradition is not lost in today's markets, which are heavily dependant on sustaining the impoverishment of Africa. The primary objective, conscious or unconscious, of most European-African relations is to keep Europeans as the primary agent of everything which goes in and out of Africa; may it be intellectual or material. Thus maintaining dominance over African self-determination.
One possible motive why peace and human rights in Africa is so in demand, is because peace equals stability, which equals stable markets for Western goods and services. It just so happens, in our modern era, that the market for weapons of war is less profitable than that other consumable Western goods and services. After all, who will you sell guns to when everyone is dead? Far better to create pro-Western democracies, which can be enslaved into consumerism and have their people purchasing Western garbage: a perceptual client market for Western products. And the democracy export is part of ideological warfare. Naively, Africans bring these so-called gifts into their houses, and at night, out pour the armies of free trade and globalization. The Trojan horse of Western Democracy's only purpose is to create an African ripe for harvest. And this is why, in fiscal terms, If 90% of the wealth of this world is controlled by the elite 1%, know that 99% of that 1% do not have dark skin. Wars have been fought for the D-Word, leaders murdered, million dead. Democracy is the anesthetic in the Western cocktail before the lethal dosage of liberalized economic reform.
THE BOAST OF WHITES
Much of Western Europe's economics, historically, was subsidized by exploitation. Outside of this Europeans, like everyone else suffer from economic and other crisis. Recently four Eurozone countries are seeking help, included in this list is Greece, and Spain. Not to mention Iceland a few years ago. The press will not cover this with the same fervor economic failure is covered in Zimbabwe. So Europe, even when failing, is postered as a success. When African countries have a little slip, while trying to secure propsperity free from Western chains, it is sold as a failure. The issue is to maintain the myth of "without Europe, there is no viable Africa."
We hear about the terrible conditions of women's rights in Iran. But they failed to mention Iran has more female graduates at university level than most Western countries. So in the West, rights of a woman are expressed via the commodification of sex in the form of Rihanna and hardcore porn, in Iran it is via intellectual and economic empowerment.  They also failed to mention the booming Islamic fashion industry and film industry, which rivals the catwalks of Europe: A film industry, which doesn't take cue from Hollywood—but Iranian agency. But showcasing this is problematic, because Africans must believe like God's gospel that the only path is a European path.
Part of the notion of Western superiority has to do with the myth of 1st world, 2nd world and 3rd world. But It is not the 3rd World that defined the 1st world, so it is a little subjective. For the last 20 years the rest of the world has been pushing forward in developmental terms: Yet we still think the West is the best. Of the tallest buildings in the world 90% of them are outside the West, mainly (Arabia and Far East). Eastern markets also account for the bulk of the technological giants: Sony. Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Sharp, NEC, Epson and Toshiba are among the best-known electronics companies in the world with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Nintendo and Subaru . The West holds on to dominance because of military, media, and politics. And it is desperate because its hegemony is slipping, hence the rapid attempt at recolonizing the world. (Arabia and Africa in particular.)
You will always hear an argument from ignorance say "You should try and live in Africa or Arabia and see how good America is" ~ Have you seen Africa, have you lived in Africa, have you seen Tehran or Dubai? so how do you know it is so bad?: Oh I saw it on TV
Modernity is not the sole 'invention' of the Western World, but more over, 'modernity' is the sum total of Western conquest of the intellectual and tangible property of other civilizations. Europe will be also slow to tell you of the gifts it owes the "non-White" world; medicine, optometry, naval innovations, numerology, pasta, hygiene, canons, gun powder, paper, the pen, domestication, agriculture, scripts, sugar cane, and surprisingly the restoration and advancement of Greek philosophy, which is the foundation of Europe's intellectual strength was done by Muslims. Europe profited from that old saying LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. The luck of being at the crossroads of technological development, and the good sense to Europeanize it. Factors in the rise of Europe :1) Availability of potential crops and domestic animals, 2) The spread of agriculture, 3) Transfer of knowledge between continents, and 4) Population density.(Diamond, 1997)
And this is not stated for one second to deny the genius of European people. One of Europe's greatest accomplishments is how they institutionalize the memory of their ancestors in great public works. They have also made profound contributions, especially in recent times, in arts, science, modern technology, philosophy. We can give credit where credit is due, the strength of Africa does not hinge on tearing down the strength of another.
THE POWER FACTOR
Karenga states that Europeans had the will, but they did not have the moral restraint not to destroy. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Does this only apply to Europeans? We do not need an opinion when we have history. The Khans, the Mughal Empire, and in Africa the Ethiopians, Ancient Egypt, Askia and Malik Sy in W Africa, in South America the Inca. On and On. The difference seems to be the power factor and something we think was cultural. Comissiong identifies this as the Will to Power and the impulse to dominate.
So two things one is not in dispute power. They acquired the power to conquer. And the other which we are investigating is the cultural dimension. Where Ancient Egypt might have conquered Nubia and the Fertile Crescent, and Ethiopia might have jumped the Red Sea to conquer Arabia. The power to go further and the culture of domination was lower.
The responsibility of power is not for everyone and most abuse it. As Jamaal Wilson says power, for it to stay powerful must seek more power. This is why every nation (black or White) must expand to stay powerful-- It is a law of social physics.
Sometimes ideas spread in a community that are erroneous or poorly understood at the lay level, without any deep critical thinking. The sociological formula of Prejudice + Power = Racism. It has been misrepresented by all sides. One side objects because they feel it implicates only Whites, and try to debunk it will illogical arguments without a complete understanding of the power dynamic and what that means. The other side accepts it because they feel it excludes Africans so naturally cling to it. However, the statement on its own only deals with power: the ability to affect the lives of people positively or negatively.
To deal with this formula as it relates to one race having an ability to be racist we must ask questions, can Africans have power? Well if you say Africans cannot have power you have instantly confirmed our lack of any form of agency which includes the ability to be powerful: You have just accepted the victim narrative. Power and privilege do exist in all communities so yes Africans can be racist if they have power and some do. So taken in isolation the sociological formula popular among liberals is non-racial. It can go in any direction, from Europeans to Africans and Africans to Europeans.
But the topic is not exhausted yet because Africans in the West are usually lacking in power, so that in the main, Africans are less likely to have the power to be racist (i.e. hurt the lives of others with bigoted views). And this misrepresentation of the formula actually either includes Africans or denies African agency depending on which reading you prefer. But because victomhood is so widely accepted by African people they toss aside agency for trivial claims.
AFRICA FOR HARVEST
Africa today is the primary testing bed for new drugs, social experiments, cheap labor and raw materials. A wealthy Africa would create stronger corruption-free government, which in turn would be an antigen to Western imperialist designs. These designs are in the form of the new slave masters—the multinational conglomerates. The reality of Africa on-the-ground is a continent locked into a blind subservient orbit; the junk-yard of the Western World. The function of Africa is thus not for the native Africans, but for the harvesting of materials to construct Western civilizations.
It only becomes and issue when other cultures are footnoted and denied agency; then it becomes racism. Fanon inflects that racism generates harmful psychological constructs that both blind the African to his subjection to a universalized white norm and alienate his consciousness.
It is said that when Europeans arrived in Southern Africa they might have brought the pencil but they also brought the eraser and while they wrote themselves into African history they used to eraser to rub Africans out of civilization. The term pre-colonial Africa speaks to this legacy because since when does 7000 Years of recorded history orbit around the century of occupation by Europeans in Africa? Since when does the entire discussion of African history spin around 80 years of colonial rule? These terms like " Lake Victoria was Discovered by some maleria stricken white man" are a blatent rejection of African agency. (The power of Africans to name their environment and discover lakes)
While self-determination is an inalienable human right, which allows a people to seek out their own path in the humanity, agency is the power to impose the outcome of self-determination on themselves and the world. Africans determining the names, opinions, cultures that define them is therefore an act of self-determination, the process that follows of imposing depends on how much agency Africans have. How much power does it take to transform the usage of the word "blacks" to "Africans"? That is the measure of agency, self-determination has already decided this is the preferred direction, but agency is yet to make it a final reality. In the case of being a "Negro" people, agency has prevailed, although it has curiously taken African people from a Spanish word to a English word for the same color. Neither self-determination nor agency have any inherent ethical overtones, they are ethical as inalienable rights but the content and the verdict of their process are not always ethical or in the best interest of the group. In other words, a community could use self-determination to jump of a cliff and agency to impose that destiny on their nation. So in both self-determination and agency conscious knowledge to formulate the best choices in a given situation is just as important and therefore must be assumed to be part and parcel of the package.
The first sign of agency is the inherent power to define ones terms of reference. Specific words exist for racism against Jewish people and US congress monitors global antisemitism (Global Anti-Semitism Review Act). Yet no such policies or terms exist for the greatest victims of racism. The ongoing African Holocaust is denied, ridiculed, mocked, and de-emphasized daily without any global sympathy. How is it possible for 13 million Jewish people to have so many terms which articulate their self-interest yet 1 billion Africans in their own home seem disabled in this capacity?
In order to brainwash Africans to the superiority of the European version of Christianity they first had to be brainwashed to the superiority of the European race and culture. In every instance when that notion of superiority was challenged or debunked Africans, and others, have demonstrated agency and created their own orthodoxies taking elements in the name of self-interest. But what we saw in most of Africa was a failure to get to grips with White supremacy, which got more problematic as Europe first demolished the walls of agency that protected African people. In dealing with religion we are really dealing with the symptoms of White supremacy. It is immature and futile to simply getting rid of Christianity because it does not deal with the reason Jesus is white. And Jesus is white because of 1st the mental conditioning to the superiority of Whiteness taking Africans further away form a cultural homeland. The issue is "Whiteness as property", the issue of Christianity as a problem is only because it is a symptom of White worship. Removing Christianity does not fix the root of the problem which is White worship.
Christianity is no more the product of Europe than communism is the product of China, yet in both cases both groups had enough agency to embed their political agendas into these systems. In the case of China it took communism and made it Chinese (Nehusi). In the case of Europe, it took Christianity and made it European. Europe had so much agency it not only changed Christianity within its own geopolitical realm but was able to impose this as a world view for many others. The key agent in the above is the power of the agency of a particular group.
Without agency everything will impose on you, democracy, political systems, religion, media, language, culture and even technology. And you will not be able to assert self-interest in any of these spheres. Just declaring democracy as "foreign" and marking it for deletion will not fix the problem. Removing democracy will only create a vacuum for socialism to come in. And now someone else's version of socialism will impose itself. Removing religions as foreign will also create a vacuum and the people will replace it with something else. Even if it is home grown it will still function in the same defeatist mode, as we see in places like Benin. Replacing media without agency will have Hollywood replaced by Nollywood. Just as empty but worst in quality. Once the issue of African agency asserts itself then it will challenge everything that comes its way.
The mechanisms that promote agency can be in creating African religions, African technologies, and African based political systems. But history does not show this as a natural relationship. Japan emerged as a power force, yet none of that technology which made them a force was indigenous to Japan. Yamaha pianos who now own Steinway, has no tradition in the piano making industry. Japan has no cultural history of Pianos, yet they are they control the majority world share as a piano manufacture. But did this start in the 20th century for Japan? When the Japanese first saw the power of the European gun what did they do? When most Africans nations first saw the power of the European gun what did we do? When you answer this question you understand this process right through to the present. The self-determination of Japan instantly sought to give the gun over to their metal workers to try and make a Japanese version, the African response was to supply African captives and trade for the European made weapon. This mentality continues right now.
If the power of self is strong it will exert itself in Africanizing and absorbing things that service a stronger Africa. In that instance the reactionary need to replace "foreign" with "local" will be replaced with a paradigm of absorption and Africanization. Simultaneously creating and conquering as Africa pushes into a new century.
In the analysis of the paradigm “the making of a slave” the removal of agency from Africa was the first instruction needed in the creation of a “cooperative work-force.” Africans taken to the New World had no authority over their life; they were not even allowed to commit suicide. And the reason for adversity to African suicide was not religious or commercially motivated. It was not the fear of losing “merchandise” but moreover the mental domination and removal of all forms of self-ownership from the psyche of the African captives. The re-labeling and amalgamation of the Mandika, Fulani, Igbo, Asante, into one bland color label- black, was part of the greater process of absolute reduction of African identity: A color epithet that Europe believed to be the lowest color on Earth, thus reflecting the social designation of African people in European psyche. But for slavery to work this reality had to be transferred from the European mind to the African mind. Africans had to believe what Europe believed about Africa and Africans. Cultures, ethnicity, legacy, royalty, lineage was now melted down to a single entity—slave. The slave had no past and certainly no future, save for after death when they were allowed to service a white god in an abstract heaven. The genius of White Supremacy, when mastered, is it protects itself by breeding dependency among those it subjugates allow the victims to only know a Eurocentric centre of reality.
When we traverse the globe today and look at oppressed people, we see that despite their oppression, they are fully conscious of self, they have religion and culture which they proudly use to distinguishes themselves from their oppressors. The Jews in Hitler's death camps knew they were Jewish, they had their Torah, they had the Talmud and they had their history, which was reinforced by a Jewish culture. No amount of “special treatment” could alter the Jewish religion or their historical legacy. However, Africans by a process of the most hideous system in humanity were removed and later denied access to their history. Africans could not be attached to greatness as this would then beg the question, if these people were capable of science, engineering, social structure and kingdoms, how can their function be as beast-of-burden? How can a people who forged Timbuktu , Aksum , Kanem- Bornu , Egypt , Nubia , Great Zimbabwe, Ancient Ghana, Songhay, Sokoto Caliphate, Monomotapa be now mere labor units, movable chattel, branded like cattle, confined, de-robed, whipped, and reduced? It was absolutely essential to institutionalize the myth of a dark and savage Africa occupied by heathen cannibals who were saved by Europeans from absolute misery at the hands of their countrymen and marauding Arabs. History narrates that the European in their mercy did Africans a tremendous favor by bringing them to work in well-nurtured plantations in the West, allowing their lives to be touched by a white god, delivering them from savagery to culture, civilization and industrialization.
Naturally "saving Africa from Arabs" serves as evidence to prove to the African-Arab world that Arab slavery was a longer lasting and more hurtful activity. Thus Africans are skillfully told to take up issue with Arabia before bringing reparations claims to Europe for their brief 400 year stint in slavery. Numbers from the Arab trade are published at their highest, while numbers from the European trade are published at their lowest watermark. The Greatest Holocaust in the history of the world, the Greatest Slave trade in the history of Humanity was the European Trade in enslaved Africans. They will do everything in their power to make you "look the other way" (it is the Arabs, it is your own Kings that did it to you). They will drop numbers down to 12 million. And finally they will tell you it is over. Europe is the only nation still eating the profits from the African Holocaust. So it is both telling and ironic when an African-American wearing a name like John and Williams takes issue with what Arabs did over the European process that gave them their slave name.
"We cannot if we are sane, divide the world into whites, yellows, and Blacks, and then call Blacks white."He might have said that it would be equally as strange to call them "Mediterranean," "Hamitic," or a hundred other euphemisms taking authorship outside the racial property of African people."Black" in the North American context.
The "social "construction of race in America does not rely on skin color. "African Americans," as Asante notes, " constitute the most heterogeneous group in the United States biologically, but perhaps one of the most homogeneous socially.
Karenga notes that it "is . . . playing Europe's racial game to concede that Egyptians are white or Asian if they don't look like a Eurocentric version of a West African." Furthermore, "Ethiopians and Somalis, perhaps, resemble the ancient Egyptians and ancient Nubians more than any other peoples and they are, even by Eurocentric standards, African." Unless we revive the "Hamitic" Myth."
The question for the discerning student of history is; why do all the conclusions always serve to empower Europeans and disempower Africans. It does not matter if they use archeology or genetics, linguistics or reasoning the conclusions always make a deposit towards the greatness of Europe, and a deduction from the glory of Africa.
The question that should be put to these historians is “What has indigenous Africa contributed to the world?” Because the history of take-away has reduced Africa to nothing, thus implying the old statement “Africa is of no historical significance.” So how are today’s scholars any different from David Hume and Kant? If all their conclusions reduced all the nobility of Africa to given, borrowed or stolen.
Stuart Hall argues that the power of discourse is created to reinforce Western dominance. The discourses on how Europe described differences between itself and others used European cultural categories, languages and ideas to represent 'the other'. By producing a discourse of difference Europe was able to maintain its dominance over the "other" thereby creating a subaltern by excluding the Other from the production of the discourse. 
The foundational paradigm that begins with a pre-opinion, are like verdicts that come before the trial, or books that conclude before they start. The Eurocentric discourse on Africa is in error because those foundational paradigms which inspired the study in the first place were rooted in the denial of African agency; political intellectualism bent on its own self-affirmation rather than objective study. It is a dis-service to scholarship when any academic (of any race) sets their personal opinions before valid research and then twist and contort to force illogical agendas out of bad scholarship. Regardless of the arguments presented they find themselves towing the diatribes which blind objectivity.
This denial extended to denial of self-definitions. And in the 18th century, the birth of narrow racial definitions emerged. The “Negro” a creature with thick lips, black skin, flat broad noses, woolly hair, characteristics that became socially accepted by Europeans as “ugly.” This narrow definition of Africans shied from the reality that indigenous African people are physically the most diverse racial family on the planet. In indigenous Africa you can find epicanthal fold eyelid types as found in the San of Southern Africa, flat noses among the Bakongo, straight fine noses as among the Ethiopians, Somalis, Fulani, Tuareg and Wodabee; Short hair, straight hair, curly hair, light skin, dark skin, very tall and very short, from Berber to Bushman all are part of the African race. Not only were a selected set of physical features assigned to Africans considered ugly, but also African traits and African customs became bywords for lazy, barbaric and primitive.
NOT BLACK AND WHITE
Henry Louis Gates (HNIC) reply:
The color of philosophies, not the color of skin is the greater issue. Many who profess to celebrate pan-Africanism act as agents, mouthpieces by proxy, whose mission is the perpetuation of the removal of agency from Africans. Some household names such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kwame Appiah are renown for at times selling African history down the nearest toilet. With passionate black such as Stanley Crouch and his cohorts, even White racist have a hard time keeping pace. Because they can say thing which most racist whites cannot, for fear of political incorrectness. These African detractors sustain in the most delicate of ways that the sole authority on Africa is none other than the European, and that all studies of culture, language, are for Europe 's final interpretation.
Still today, pop-history is littered with “the discovery” approach of Africa . Thus, the source of the Nile was “discovered by...” Crediting an African with exploration in the European mindset would be like crediting a mule or a migrating Zebra. Historically Africans are made to sway like leaves on the wind, impervious and indifferent to any form of civilization, a people absent from scientific discovery, philosophy or the higher arts. We are left to believe that almost nothing can come out of Africa , other than raw material. The African cannot discover, he can only be discovered. Every article and aspect of African life must start with "African history according to prof White person..." Which is a direct assault on African agency and humanity.
With the joy of hindsight and all the history of how this world operates Africans are still looking at convicted serial killers with the glary eyes of a child. Iran is awake, China is awake and India is waking. What about Africa? Are Africans thinking as free Africans or colonial victims? When we let religion divide us. When we let borders divide us. When we absorbed alien notions of human rights/civilization. After the progress made up until independence what was it that allowed the vision of Nkrumah to slide? After the great leaps in the 60's what was it that allowed the introspeactive African consiouness to de-evolve into the likes of 50-cents and Lil Kim? Because in this social mud, African people are not only victims, but criminals.
Who created the modern identities and made slaves out of people based on these identities? So arrogant that they accuse Afrocentricity of doing what they do 24/7. And we understand it all has to do with normalized history, that is, history of Europe (white people) is the history of the world, every other history is really "The history of contact with Europe." So African history starts when Europe "discovered" Africans swinging in trees and eating each other. Anyone asserting any differing opinion to Hume and Kant is practising identity politics.
In 1994 the Manhattan Institute, a public policy forum, published Alternatives to Afrocentrism, a collection of highly critical essays by, among others, Lefkowitz (an over celebrated African detractor), Gerald Early, Stanley Crouch (another version of Henry Gates but more vulgar and obnoxious), Wilson Moses, and Frank Yurco. Early, an African American, has been especially vitriolic, dismissing Afrocentrism as just another North American experiment in "group therapy," intellectual fast food for his less sophisticated brethren. In the academic world Afrocentricity has become a dirty word because of the activities of a few pseudo-historians who marred authentic Afrocentric research. This ultimately undermined the seriousness of Afrocentrism. But too much bad research and lazy scholarship has been a global problem and most Afrocentrics are guilt of this. While Eurocentrism seeks to replace African civilizations, it is not the aim of Afrocentricity as Asante stated:
But with all due respect to the work of Asante, Afrocentricity has never sat still long enough to be properly described and accurately critiqued. Its like a trying to shoot a moving target. Every time the wind blows it seems to evolve new arms and legs in a fatal attempt to jump out of the way of critique. But the books are testimony to the plethora of fallacies and unfortunately when you construct a elaborate label for yourself you must take the good and bad that come with it, including the pseudo-historians that seek fame under that flag.
In dealing with religion Afrocentrism/Black orientalism reveals its pseudo-intellectual narrow minded foundation as not much more than a minion of Euro-Orientalism. It treats age old historical relationships by superimposing African-American victimhood into ancient African history. Complex relationship in both African Christianity and especially Islam are washed away in monolithic, simplistic, unsubstantiated, un-academic diatribes. In an attempt to forced concepts of "pure" and "foreign," Africa is reduced to "foreign", "invaded", and especially "victim." All wrapped up in fear of anything not "pitch black" and defended not by logic, but by shouting and other stage tricks.
In an attempt to forced concepts of "pure" and "foreign," some African historians make the job of Eurocentrism easy by support the primary thesis that Africa is on the outside of history. Many times some Afrocentrics have no problem speaking of the glorious African past and the universities of Timbuktu and Aksum to score racial points but then on the next page try to totally demonize Islam and Christianity in Africa as destructive. They praise the battles of Kemet but curse the battles of Songhai. And regardless of the segment of African history they try to force agendas of "African purity" ideology of "invasion" " destruction" "conquest" "foreign religion." The question must be asked is something valid or superior just because it is birthed in Africa? What happens when something "foreign" carries more moral or social profit? Because it is impossible to deny that the coming of Islam removed many harmful practises, not only from Africa, but also from Arabia: Hygiene issues, basic morality which are now considered normal and obvious. And it was the coming of Islam that actually preserved a great deal of West African history because it was absorbed and institutionalized (libraries, fatwahs, etc). As much as Afrocentrics love to claim and praise Egypt , these rulers by today's standard would be considered an oppressive and exploitative aristocracy.
Cheikh Anta Diop, whom Afrocentrics admire has a very interesting review of Jacques Pirenne's History of Ancient Egypt . Diop comments favorably about Pirenne's description of revolutions against the Egyptian rulers by lower-class Egyptians — something one would expect in an exploitative society. But the Afrocentrics who so admire Diop seldom mention this aspect of Ancient Egypt. Now balance demands a honest study of history, it cannot be terrible and horrible when Askia raids and pillages non-Islamic villages and be "glorious" when Kemet does it to Nubia. Or "military genius" during the bloody Mfecane of Shaka Zulu as he forcible united the Ngoni people. How are these two standard different to what racist have done with World history?
Africans must be agents of their own history and control the format, agenda, and placement by which African history and culture is taught, disseminated, absorbed and weighted. But this does not mean that it is okay to fictionalize history to react against academic racism. And for this reason the Maafa study is a key sign of the Pan-African paradigm-shift where the legacy of the African Holocaust on African people globally is studied within the framework of the natural history in which the Maafa occurred. The emphasis in the historical narrative is on African agents (African-Centred) but this is very different from using history to force modern-day racial concepts into past to score racial points. As sweet as it is to believe in the Sirius B Dogon myth it serves no historical relevance in the face of hard empirical evidence.
Afrocentrism needs to be commuted in its current state, while it's prime principles salvaged, as a new generation sensitive to the politics for its creation must re-look at Africa with more sophisticated eyes. The thirst for a new African reality is not serviced by the populist trend of Afrocentrism. Afrocentricity has slipped from any station of nobility to a fringe theorist playground. While Eurocentricity thrives, it does so because it has been supported the institutions which created it, Afrocentricity tries to survive among the structures it critiques, which in itself is a paradox. Populous Afrocentricity is tolerated and humored, while mocked because of inability to do anything but provide therapy. Populist Afrocentric books, (Which is different from proper Afrocentric scholarship) are another mirror of their contradictions because they are just compilation of favorable opinions of Africans by Europeans. While desperte to userp Christianity and Islam's stronghold on African people, the alternatives — if any, seem to oxidize and rust when hit with the hard air of reality.
EUROPE's SOLUTION FOR AFRICA
What they will try to do is assert a "best win" solution which preserves peace but protects profits. Hence race gets taken off the table so we can waste our energy on a supposed other foe of humanity. All the while the race privileges maintains European domination.
The premises behind much of the solutions for Africa are in the ideal that a hurting Africa needs a humanist hand from Europe . NEPAD insist that a richer Africa is in the interest of the entire world, but nothing in World history indicates moral objectives as a reason for action. In South Africa and much of Africa the theory is if you eat enough crumbs from the master's plate you will eventually get full.
One type of sophisticated warfare is to control the opposition, to give the illusion of diversity i.e. liberal and conservative while intellectually having the same agenda. giving people the choice of being eaten by the wolf or the fox. An agreement in the United Nations’ Security Council or other diabolical agencies such as the World Bank is like an agreement among a choir, and such agreements are not agreements at all nor are they meant to provide any succor to the problems of Africa .
When Europe spoke of partnership we thought it was a marriage but it was really a concubiage
There is nothing but capitalism and illusions of democracy, which are alien to the aspirations of African people. From “Feed Africa” to “Make Poverty History” which are mere sloganeering programs with no genuine effect on the population of the continent.
Do you think the slave master who gets rich from your enslavement is going to give you the keys to your freedom?
We cannot have the oppressors telling the oppressed how to rid themselves of the oppressor.- Kwame Ture
Everything in our current world, and in our history, tells us we cannot let our guard down and integrate our revolution for justice. Every time Africans extend their hand in partnership with Europe we always come back with 1/2 a hand. And common sense says we must , at best, be cautious of feeding our hands to wolves.
There are two stages to any solution: Identify the problem or agent and then bring the cure by doing work. If you do one without the other, we are wasting time. E.g. If your car is leaking fuel, just putting in more fuel will not fix the problem. You must also know why the fuel is leaking. Eurocentric rhetoric planted this notion of "a blameless world" in which the cause is disconnected from the solution. It is a blanket argument used to defend their responsibility for being at the head of most of the ills of the world.
TARZAN AGAIN : Black Story — White Voice
In the Tarzan paradigm Tarzan is the great white hero who speaks on behalf of the 'primitive' Africans and acts as the parent and leader. During colonialism Europeans established themselves as the primary agents of African destiny; in their superiority they knew what was best and spoke on behalf of Africa. Now what is not understood is when Bono stands up and speaks, or when yet another White person "exposes" the ills of Africa through film this is a direct ideological continuum from the superiority complex of slavery and colonialism. The underlying preemies is Whites are morally and intellectual superiorly and have a burden to save Africans.
I t would not be sufficient to tell the story of Idi Amin; so infamous enough and surely notorious enough character in his own right. No, they say, this would reduce the value of the project, in comes the European into the storyline. It is actually amazing to see Mel Gibson attempt to make a film of a non-White people without a central European character. Returning to the likes of Richard Attenborough we cannot blame him for his bias in Cry Freedom , he is by nature a European and is simply acting out his European weighted worldview, avoiding Eurocentric as a term, as every healthy race is sensitive to his or her cultural perceptions. It makes no sense to ask Spielberg to give more “Africaness” in his Amistad or The Color Purple (which was an amazing piece of cinema). Even stories of African struggle are without exception made by Europeans: End Game, Invictus (Clint Eastwood), Amandla (Lee Hirsch), Roots (Collection of Whites), War Dance (Sean Fine), Life and Debt (Stephanie Black), Rize ( David LaChapelle ). Who is cashing in again and again on our tears? Why can' Africans be the central authors of their stories? The issue is not for Europeans to become more sensitive in “pretending” to be African, the issue is amazingly simpler; it is for Africans to be agents in their stories and hence removing the problem all together.
The concept that Europe is qualified in bringing out indigenous people's stories is just as arrogant as assuming Africans are and others are a worthless child-race. All nice intentions are welcomed by these are all rooted in the same racist presumption of racial incapability on the part of Africans and other non-European races.
Doesnt it break your heart that when you go to a site "this is Africa" or " Africa this Africa that" or see a shop selling African art, and then you click the about page and all you see is White people smiling at you? Doesn't it tell us something powerful? How is it possible that in 21st century that 99% of our news agencies, cultural sites, history books, films and everything to do with Africa is directed by European people, and if Africans are lucky they get to work for them. Only in Africa, Not with Asian, not with Jews, and certainly not Chinese. But anytime you see a site on Africa and their face on the about page be sure the agenda (however well meaning) will not deal with African holistic liberation. They will talk to death about Music, about how nice Victoria falls is, how human Nelson Mandela is but never will they self-implicate Europe in the ongoing removal and denial of African agency.
A journey to the local media outlet see Michael Palin in Africa, or a PBS special on Africa produced by an all European cast called Tigress productions. This is the interface, which we need to challenge; many of us are caught-up in incidentals of our struggle. Being seen on a screen is not self-determination, especially when the gatekeepers, decision makers who determining the validity of our work are all European. African stories are attempts to explain Africans to Europeans as opposed to Africans explaining themselves to each other. These mere fact renders the whole concept of “Black cinema” and “Black perspective” redundant.
When It comes to the Jewish story, regardless of if it is a historical piece ( Schindler's List), a Comedy (Meet the Fockers) or a Sci-fi (X-Men), a social drama (Freedom Writers) every single opportunity reinforces the Jewish story. Only Africans think consciousness is a genre.
Once there was a web site called Africana which explored African history and generally empowering topics, where is that site today? It has been taken over by the commercial giants AOL and is now blackvoices, a collection of trite and pointless garbage that celebrates the emptiest aspects of African-American culture; the singers and the dancers, the entertainers and the clowns. Make no mistake, the world is happy and delighted to promote another African singer and dancer. That is the Africa they are comfortable with; Jumping around on stage with a microphone, spinning hips - base and tribal -only expression is from emotion. Not that we shouldn't love our music which is key to our identity. But we need to know the difference. Nation builders, business ownership, strong political leadership, teachers, researchers, historians, medical doctors. You will meet far less opposition in the world when you satisfy these stereotypical roles. Music and dance have a serious place in our culture, but unless we have nation structure all this dancing and singing will service everyone else but us.
Returning us to Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, the reason is that as El-Hajj Malik Shabazz said: “we stand for nothing, fall for everything.” Agency is the natural actions of a self-determined people; lack thereof is testimony to the shallow position Diasporian-Africans occupy.
EVERY STARTS AND ENDS WITH EUROPE
The liberation is a Europeans enterprise, the countless revolts and revolutions are a footnote in the annals of history. A few names by sheer power like Nat Turner could not be washed out of history but many fought for liberation over the centuries of enslavement and colonial rule. Failing to see who is writing history, our admitting it and then being part of inheriting Eurocentric agency is denial of self-determination. And while culturally Africa is not a monolith our response to oppression has been monolithic. The consequences of our oppression have taken similar patterns independent of our ethnicity, religiosity and geography (see 500 Years Later).
African people are not even allowed to choose their own leaders. The African continent today continues to be a nesting bed for Europe’s choices for Africa ’s leadership. The heroes like Mary Seacole are not heroes of African people but heroes of Europe . The most treacherous and hateful “blacks” are celebrated outside of Africa ’s interest. African heroes are nominated by all white communities during “Black history” month in the UK , so that singers like Alicia Keys gets postered with Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. Not understanding African people, has never been a restraint for Europe dictates. So Black History Month is absent from a memory of Africa because European memory is not comfortable with that history which they had the power to destroy but not the moral restraint not to. (Karenga) The error again and again is the acceptance and trust Africa people have seemingly placed on the opinions and values of Europeans. Authorship and authority, if not from Europe , is not valid.
African scholarship is thus alight to a circus show, for the same motives of giving a monkey a suit and a law degree—-entertainment. To state an opinion not supported by European or to speak favorable about Africa is to be an Afrocentric, which in the European vocabulary simply means a desperate childish pseudo-historian.
African history began with the arrival of the Portuguese. Before that time Africa was of no significance. The only names seen in the abolishment movement are William Wilberforce, Granvel Sharp et al. The liberation is a Europeans enterprise, the countless revolts and revolutions are a footnote in the annals of history. A few names by sheer power like Nat Turner could not be washed out of history but many fought for liberation over the centuries of enslavement and colonial rule. Failing to see who is writing history, our admitting it and then being part of inheriting Eurocentric agency is denial of self-determination.
Maybe we are asleep or late of the starting block to recognize new opportunities and move into our own cultural niches before they become dominated and controlled by others. Almost every major organization rooted in “doing” something for Africans or “saving” Africans is European dominated. And some of us think we are free.
The beboppers' attitude was summed up in a famous quotation attributed to Monk: "We wanted a music that they couldn't play" – "they" being the (white) bandleaders who had taken over and profited from swing music.
AGENTS OF ACADEMIC RACISM
The volumes of publish works by the Hitler's of the African Holocaust is impossible for Africans to gain any foothold and authorities stance in their history. Year after year, the bookshelves are filled with one opinion. The most “popular” Africans are those singing from this music score. Some of the most racist and pejorative material today is taught in schools in an attempt to vindicate the continuation of academic racism. The self-referencing of the “old boys” like Hume and Kant is valid today because it is old, white, and used many, many times. It is thus impossible for the frustrated African to gain any ground because he/she is in a battle whose parameters are set by foes on a battlefield tipped economically, socially, in favor of the opposition. We often hear “so and so is acknowledged by everyone to be one of the most prominent scholars of …” so and so is always white. To go against the white grain is to be "controversial" another racist way of boxing in African opinions as on the fringe of scholarship. But scholarship is a white only seat, academic apartheid with no room for debate. Aspects of academia which are dead and buried, but still in use.
It seems that White scholarship believes that if you repeat a lie, it evolves into the truth on the 1 thousandth occurrence
In factual cannot become factual by virtue of volume or consistent use.
Any African academic discussing or having a positive take on Africa that contradicts their assertion is called Afrocentric, as if this form of opinion is a cultural slant loaded with the bias of pseudo-history. They say with one breath that Eurocentric academics were “men of their time” but still keep saying these people were the definitive guide to Africa. How can you say something is wrong but keep using it as a definitive source? The complete dismantlement (deconstruction) of the academic paradigm of authority needs to be a first step in a pure analysis, and it is for Africans to adopt this approach as bases for articulating and imposing a new identify. And in this we cannot overlook the significance of linguistics as a function of oppression.
SUBTLE LANGUAGE OF RACISM
To highlight the academic dilemma against Africans it is necessarily to just site one of Europe ’s key historians on slavery. The age of the work and the period it was written in seem to make little impression in universities today, who seem to neglect the social status of Africans in the time these so-called scholarly books were being written in. It also neglects to highlight the mind-set of the authors of these works and their contribution to the obscuring and footnoting of African history and African contributions to civilization. Men who would be labeled by a self-determined African today are referenced and cited with little challenge. Despite all the new research and development, this dead racist scholarship is still held high as the authentic source on Africa . Almost as if the more you reference a bad source the more authentic it becomes. The foundation of history of Africa cannot be studied outside of the dynamics of race and racism in the writings of African conquers. This is not to dismiss their entire work, but surely to raise the red flag of sincerity, and subsequently expose the agendas behind these scribbling. J.D. Fage sits high on this throne of Anti-African rhetoric [ii]
“Today, however, some scholars assert that slavery did not have a wholly disastrous effect on those left behind in Africa .” [iii]
Imagine begging the question and stating that some scholars believed the Jewish Holocaust was not entirely disastrous. We must assume there is again some degree of salvation in the actions of the Europeans who saved Africa from savagery. It is like saying the Jewish Holocaust was beneficial because some Jews got senior position in the Nazi army, or slavery was good because Africans got free Caribbean cruises.
“At its peak, the Atlantic slave trade took about 90,000 slaves per year out of a total population of around 25 million in just Guinea , where the vast majority originated. This number was significant, yet only a moderate annual growth rate in population was enough to sustain it by replacement. Therefore, the slave trade is unlikely to have caused a decrease in the population of West Africa , though it may have reduced or even halted population growth in some regions.” [iv]
Again, we see the apology and denial of the consequences of enslavement [v] . What this is saying is the harvesting of African people was done sustainable and that it had no demographic consequences on birth rate, it would be worth mentioning that the most viral and healthiest members where been exported overseas so it is inconceivable that it would not affect population demographics not to mention settlement patterns and human social potential.
"The Nok civilization is argued by some to prove that Africa had a civilization prior to the arrival of Europe . "
This kind of tone appears to vindicate Africa but it actually introduces reasonable doubt. Its references again the false notion of a primitive Africa as a half-valid hypothesis for it shows by implication that anything or everything in Africa has to be articulated by juxtaposition. African civilization does not require any proof or revolutionary rethink. This kind of reasoning follows from “he seems very educated for a black” or “you see they are not all savages.” What needs to be done is exposed the motives behind those removing African agency from the annals of world cultural contributions.
“For those left behind in Africa the standard of living increased substantially and the region became divided into highly centralized and powerful nation states, such as Dahomey and the Ashanti Confederacy. It also created a class of very wealthy and highly Europeanized traders who began to send their children to European Universities. [vi]
Jewish historian William Rubinstein:
"Of these 10 million estimated dead blacks [sic], possibly 6 million were killed by other blacks in African tribal wars and raiding parties aimed at securing slaves for transport to America "
This is the tone taken to discuss the African Holocaust, the same Rubistein takes a completely different objection to any tone which diminishes or subtracts from the reality or the humanity of the victims of the Holocaust of Jews. Jew are White humans, Africans are blacks.
The contempt in Eurocentrism is so self-evident it almost needs no commentary to identify either intention or fallacies. It is be restated the source of this material comes from a respected seminal academic and authority on Africa . Before Europe , we know the Kanka Musa had gold reserves that made Ancient Mali one of the riches economies in the Ancient world. It is also a fact that Sankore was an African university so notable that Arabs and others came to study there. All of these non-direct facts retort the claims that contact with Europe brought power and education. Also the statement about Europeanized traders is intended by the author as a compliment a kind of accession of the African from savage beast to Europeanized. Fage trips and stabs himself with his own pen and exposes and implements himself as one of the historical agents of academic racism that has distorted the African historical time line.
Racism has been discussed extensively and most agree it is something we should eradicate, but we need to not be given to a knee jerked or anecdotal observations to solve it. Racism is both a human defense as well as offense; it feeds on both ignorance of the other, and vulgar self-interest. Had Europeans come to Africa and meet with a united people who mastered space technology, nuclear weaponry, and drove cars running on air, two things would have happened. A. there would be no perception of inferiority b. They would have been no opportunity for their vulgar self-interest. i.e. no racism.
The power to deny jobs, the power to block media, the power to enslave. Racism requires, at one level, for the person applying the racism to also have power to affect the target of racism. Harm, or at least perceived harm, is therefore a consequence of racism. Therefore any race can practice racism but especially when the have the power to inflict harm. Bigotry is in all forms of racism, but racism is not always in all forms of bigotry, if we understand the power dynamic.
Racism is also the belief that one race is incapable of mature processes and thus requires help to solve their problems to successful live productively in modernity. The constant impositions of what is good for Africa by Western voices is racism. To suggest that Africans should culturally become more like Europeans is racism. To suggest that aspects of African culture are regressive in the face of Western culture is racist. Racism is domination of one race images and ideas and ideals even in territories where Africans are the majority. Racism also takes away the tools of self-determination by making the dominant race the source of all orthodoxy and standards. So the experts on Africa are always White, and any African opinion outside of white approval is decried as ahistorical. And in this we see the constant "call to authority" which has the facade of being "mainstream" study but is really a re-stating of politically correct form of Eurocentrism.
In academia racism seeks to control all areas of people activity and access to information about self. It sets up notions of "Neutrality" which are monitored and controlled institutions of the dominant race class. And demands that oppressed people use these tools to access information. White racism fails to see the arrogance in itself and often repeats the same methodologies which are today decried. The constant attitude of qualification to speak to, write about Africans as if they were primates incapable of opinion of self. Structures of study are set-up at all junctions to exclude or reduce any form of challenge to the white status quo. Work is challenged for reliability when it is self-published or comes from publications not run by Whites. So the entire deck is stacked against the African to curb and lose any form of authentic study of self and the wider world.
So During the time of Kant It would have been stated that:
Lake Victoria was discovered in 19th Century
Today it is modified to the "neutral tone" variant':
Europeans discovered lake Victoria in 18th Century
The issue of African agency is still suppressed and the Eurocentric focus is still unchallenged. No African can say "Rome was discovered by Ethiopians in the 3rd century." So how do we explain how African is put in orbit of a European world view in a society where agency and self-determination are championed?
Racism is interruption of people’s right to determine their political and cultural destiny. Racism is mainly expressed by the dominant race class to the rest of the world. Therefore generally speaking the experience of racism is felt by non-white people. Ironically the new tone is for the dominant race-class to accuse disempowered people of being racist every time they try to identify and eliminate racism.
And one cannot have your cake an eat it to because every time Africans lay credit on a White agent for why Africans are doing some wrong we are denying our own agency and celebrating them as gods of our destiny. Because they would have to be gods to have such power over the African universe. African people have demonstrated absolute agency and contribution to both Islam, Christianity as well as Judaism. The theory, which identifies these religions as foreign, is baseless and shallow. When we study the history of Western Europe we find there conversion to Christianity much later than Africa , yet in all of their writings they claim authorship and agency in Christianity.
Do we see Pakistanis doing this in Islam, even Chinese Muslims claim their noble inheritance in these faiths. Chinese Muslims cite the Chinese greats like Zheng Ho and his contributions to Islam. Mongols were highly tolerant of most religions, and at the time of Genghis Khan in the 13th century, virtually every religion had found converts, from Buddhism to Christianity to Islam. Yet with some African academics, there is this suicidal strategy to undermine the degree of agency and influence of Africa on Islam . They would rather remove it as foreign and thus collapsing the largest African kingdom of Songhai [ix] to obscurity, gone is Africa's claim to Timbuktu , Islamic Spain, Aksum , Sokoto and Ancient Mali. This anti-African rhetoric also infects the notability of Uthman Dan Fodio, Menelik Askia Muhammad, Thewdros, Bilal, Malik Sy, Selassie, Ahmadou Bamba, Sundiata, Seka Toure, The Mahdi of the Sudan , King Ezna, Emperor Fasiladas, the list is endless. But all of these people are removed from history, not to mention our recent greats such as Farrakhan, Dr. King, Garvey, El Hajj Malik Shabazz and Cheikh Anta Diop.
This again testifies to the fastidiousness of the cancer plaguing disenfranchised Africans globally. No people in history are seen to do this. The Turks, who accepted Islam late in the day, made it their own and ruled with it. The principle cornerstones of these faiths have African origins and agency but some like fools cast Africa's historical station into the wind, as "foreign, worthless, and out of Africa " . Sufism an influential branch of Islam is African in origin, testimony to the power of Africanistic theology on Islam. Ethiopia was one of the first Christian Kingdoms in the entire World! The Khans were successful because they integrated what worked in their favor, as did our ancestors. This planet is a fusion and dynamic collision of cultures and ideas, there is no purity.
Africans have succumbed to some of the greatest horrors in history but not the extent of being the exploited historical fodder of others; the perpetual victims in the entire annals of history. Easily seduced with the same tricks that work 500 years ago.
Almost nothing is given to Africa without a greater benefit to Europe. The new admissions about African kingdoms are a result of overwhelming evidence which forces Europeans into admission which is then twisted to retain the old myths. The fostering of anti-Islamic sentiment among African people to break unity, or creating false borders between the Diaspora and the continent all serves a greater agenda. The promotion of western neo-liberal feminist values to break the African home. Western democracies to stifle African political genius. In the final analysis, the only people to fix the problems of the African world—may those problems be self-inflicted, inherited or imposed—is the African.
It is the responsibility of the next generation of academics to re-interpret the works of their predecessors. This is not a duty exclusive to the victims of Eurocentric academic racism but rather to all. The plurality and multicultural world is far safer if we all exist in an environment of truth and fairness overriding the miss-motives of the past.
The foundational paradigm must be truth; this is the driver for the next generation. We must sail the ship of truth on the sea of lies, against the tide of repetition, for this is the only way to erase the pre-assumed notion that washes and perverts our shared histories.
Owen 'Alik Shahadah, is an African Cultural writer and a multi-award winning Filmmaker who documents African history and culture. For more info see www.owenshahadah.com
* Women make up more than 60 percent of Iranian university students with some fields in science and engineering having more than 70 percent of their alumni be women. The opportunities for women education and their involvement in higher education has grown exponentially after the Iranian Revolution. According to UNESCO world survey, Iran has the highest female to male ratio at primary level of enrollment in the world among sovereign nations
Always use the word 'Africa' or 'Darkness' or 'Safari' in your title. Subtitles may include the words 'Zanzibar', 'Masai', 'Zulu', 'Zambezi', 'Congo', 'Nile', 'Big', 'Sky', 'Shadow', 'Drum', 'Sun' or 'Bygone'. Also useful are words such as 'Guerrillas', 'Timeless', 'Primordial' and 'Tribal'. Note that 'People' means Africans who are not black, while 'The People' means black Africans.
Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.
In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don't get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn't care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.
Make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls, and eat things no other humans eat. Do not mention rice and beef and wheat; monkey-brain is an African's cuisine of choice, along with goat, snake, worms and grubs and all manner of game meat. Make sure you show that you are able to eat such food without flinching, and describe how you learn to enjoy it—because you care.
Taboo subjects: ordinary domestic scenes, love between Africans (unless a death is involved), references to African writers or intellectuals, mention of school-going children who are not suffering from yaws or Ebola fever or female genital mutilation.
Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can't live without her. Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed.
Your African characters may include naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermitic splendour. Or corrupt politicians, inept polygamous travel-guides, and prostitutes you have slept with. The Loyal Servant always behaves like a seven-year-old and needs a firm hand; he is scared of snakes, good with children, and always involving you in his complex domestic dramas. The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe (not the money-grubbing tribes like the Gikuyu, the Igbo or the Shona). He has rheumy eyes and is close to the Earth. The Modern African is a fat man who steals and works in the visa office, refusing to give work permits to qualified Westerners who really care about Africa. He is an enemy of development, always using his government job to make it difficult for pragmatic and good-hearted expats to set up NGOs or Legal Conservation Areas. Or he is an Oxford-educated intellectual turned serial-killing politician in a Savile Row suit. He is a cannibal who likes Cristal champagne, and his mother is a rich witch-doctor who really runs the country.
Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Also be sure to include a warm and motherly woman who has a rolling laugh and who is concerned for your well-being. Just call her Mama. Her children are all delinquent. These characters should buzz around your main hero, making him look good. Your hero can teach them, bathe them, feed them; he carries lots of babies and has seen Death. Your hero is you (if reportage), or a beautiful, tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who now cares for animals (if fiction).
Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank. When talking about exploitation by foreigners mention the Arabs, Chinese and Indian traders. Blame the West for Africa's situation. But do not be too specific.
Broad brushstrokes throughout are good. Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa. African characters should be colourful, exotic, larger than life—but empty inside, with no dialogue, no conflicts or resolutions in their stories, no depth or quirks to confuse the cause.
Describe, in detail, naked breasts (young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small) or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies. Remember, any work you submit in which people look filthy and miserable will be referred to as the 'real Africa', and you want that on your dust jacket. Do not feel queasy about this: you are trying to help them to get aid from the West. The biggest taboo in writing about Africa is to describe or show dead or suffering white people.
Animals, on the other hand, must be treated as well rounded, complex characters. They speak (or grunt while tossing their manes proudly) and have names, ambitions and desires. They also have family values: see how lions teach their children? Elephants are caring, and are good feminists or dignified patriarchs. So are gorillas. Never, ever say anything negative about an elephant or a gorilla. Elephants may attack people's property, destroy their crops, and even kill them. Always take the side of the elephant. Big cats have public-school accents. Hyenas are fair game and have vaguely Middle Eastern accents. Any short Africans who live in the jungle or desert may be portrayed with good humour (unless they are in conflict with an elephant or chimpanzee or gorilla, in which case they are pure evil).
After celebrity activists and aid workers, conservationists are Africa's most important people. Do not offend them. You need them to invite you to their 30,000-acre game ranch or 'conservation area', and this is the only way you will get to interview the celebrity activist. Often a book cover with a heroic-looking conservationist on it works magic for sales. Anybody white, tanned and wearing khaki who once had a pet antelope or a farm is a conservationist, one who is preserving Africa's rich heritage. When interviewing him or her, do not ask how much funding they have; do not ask how much money they make off their game. Never ask how much they pay their employees.
Readers will be put off if you don't mention the light in Africa. And sunsets, the African sunset is a must. It is always big and red. There is always a big sky. Wide empty spaces and game are critical—Africa is the Land of Wide Empty Spaces. When writing about the plight of flora and fauna, make sure you mention that Africa is overpopulated. When your main character is in a desert or jungle living with indigenous peoples (anybody short) it is okay to mention that Africa has been severely depopulated by Aids and War (use caps).
You'll also need a nightclub called Tropicana, where mercenaries, evil nouveau riche Africans and prostitutes and guerrillas and expats hang out.
Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.