Power-hungry strongmen give Africa a bitter taste of liberty
12 months ago, 3 Jan 01:00
With the start of a new year, I have found myself increasingly thinking about my motherland continent: “Africa My Africa”. “Africa My Africa” is the title of a famous poem by a famous poet – David Diop – a French West African negritudist, who was born in Southern France. It is one of the poems that have stayed with me since my high school days, when I read the poem for the first time and have forever been touched by its nostalgic sentimentality. Diop died young (1927–1960), but his poetry rings so true today, just like it did when it was written in the early years of the 19th century. Allow me to quote its touching provocative first stanza: Africa my Africa/Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannah/Africa of whom my grandmother sings/On the brinks of the distant river…..your blood flows in my veins/Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields/The blood of your sweat/The sweat of your work… Africa the beloved continent had a tumultuous 2017. It is the year that started with a whimper and ended with a bang – as it were. COMRADE BOB'S ZIMBABWE Who would have imagined the Zimbabweans at the eleventh hour of the 11th month would ferret away their imposing despot, a permanent signature who had sworn before the political gods that he would rule the great Zimbabwe even when he was six feet under? But lo and behold, what happened? What happened can only be described as the mighty fall of a political juggernaut who had once come to believe in his infallibility. Since the fall of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe (Comrade Bob), some of my compatriots have been sceptical, even cynical. “But what is the difference between Emmerson (Dambudzo) Mnangagwa (ED) and Robert Mugabe?” ED is Comrade Bob’s former vice-president, now president. And that is where they miss the point. After 37 years of Comrade Bob’s mercurial and oftentimes imperialistic rule, many Zimbabweans erroneously came to believe that to eject Mugabe was akin to uprooting the great ruins of Monomotapa. It was an impossible feat. The truth of the matter is Zimbabweans had resigned to fate and were just waiting for Mugabe to die. When a window of opportunity offered itself, Zimbabweans seized it and run away with it. Historical moments are made of this. LIBERIA, A COUNTRY OF FIRSTS Liberia, the small West African nation, had been wrought by war for the better part of the 1990s. But who would have imagined that one day in the month of December in the year 2017, George Weah, a footballer of no mean feat, would one day triumph on the electoral political field, just like he had done on the football field? Weah, whose footballing exploits are legendary, was to become even more legendary, when for a period of time, he took it upon himself to bankroll the national football team of Liberia from his own pocket, money he earned as a professional football player in Europe. When he won the presidential ...
Category: oped opinion