The Throne of Cotton

In the 11th Century a group of French aristocrats invaded England, killed its royal clan and ruled over it for two centuries. So those who once prod over the world like colonial masters, had their fathers lived like  slaves. But at the footstool of Europe was an unmarked space. In expedition of its businessmen, they  watched the gold fields that blazed South, copper fields of Zaire, lush vegetation that forked all around Nile, rubber plantations of Liberia and the oil palm business of the Opobo. The treasure was great and this virgin space needed a forced marital conjugation.

So in 1884, over a cups of whisky, so as not evoke a World War over the share of Africa’s resources,  European leaders made a patch of strange garments  weaving the entire fabric into Africa. They drew territorals lines  protecting their tradesmen like Taubman Goldie, Cecil Rhodes and King Leopold  who extricated both the human and inhuman essence of a community.

Black felt  sub-human and the color line was  thickly inked. Even to the semantics of language and objects of religion, black is dirty, ugly, evil while white explains everything good or even the gush of eclesstical glory. As the blackman moved from the sugar plantations, to coffee fields , it found finally found a new master in Cotton. The survival of the Cotton dynasty tendered by blackman was a major cause of the American civil War. The White Southerners wanted thier slaves protected by excluding the black man from the equal society. In such depressing conditions gave the dream to a 26- year old Martin Luther King to lead a 381 days’ bus boycott.

Even in its rough-patched communities as decided by the white skin, Africa saw the rise of nationalists who were loaded with visions of a sprawling continent. Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Azikwe, Hastings Banda, Sekou Toure, Senghor and many of their peers seized their country to take the continents to steeps of greatness . But most of them presently in another realm can take a critical look of the good intents they nurtured. Most of the Africa leaders like Haile Seselaise, Houpighet-Bogny, Bokassa reveled in tremendous wealth using the state power to arrogate communal resources to themselves. Only few African countries have not experienced coups and many without,  have been submissive to a single leader who feels indispensable –Museveni, Eyadema, Sekou Toure, Paul Biya and rest. Many like Julius Nyerere with the fervor distanced themselves from the capitalism naming it a society of the haves and have more.  Mired in socialist exploits they created entitlement driven population with forced property control which finally ruined their legacies.

The current phase of this continent has been the embrace of dysfunctional  democracy or carrot and stick dictatorship. But it is the same Africa that we have decried King Leopold and rest as colonial plunderers that birthed people like Mobutu Seseko, Sani Abacha, Robert Mugabe, Laurent Gbagbo and many more who used the resources of Africa to underdevelop Africa.Do we assume likes of Mobutu and Idi Amin are gone with the rubbles of history and we can keep sights of the glorious future. Does Africa profiteer from the massive wave of globalization or we are trapped in the resource-driven age and  still in a game of unequal exchange. Though  we have benefited massively form raging sweep of technology , does it add up to the finite resources of Africa taking flights to run the engines of the West.  I am just pondering over  the current globalization trends which comes a surge in imports of finished products and exports of our natural resources; if  half-blinded exchange is outright robbery.

We must assess critically throne the Africa presently worships – possibly the old foxes of Europe or new found grooms of Asia. If our education systems are still creaky and technology looks not like our calling, can we say have a equal share in this new innovation driven global economy?  If our fathers worshipped at the throne of Cotton in Alabama, who are we giving our resources to on  bended knees and how just are the proceeds shared for Africans to aim at competitive parity with fellow humans.