The Western media has been awash with tales of racist motivated killings. Tragically, American law enforcement found itself at the center of this mess, thanks to social media, with the numerous cases of white trigger-happy police officers with itchy fingers when it comes to dealing with African-Americans.
I have watched some of these really disturbing videos where these law men who are given guns to protect and serve, see this as a legitimate opportunity to descend to horrendous levels of violence through the use of unnecessary force during apprehension without provocation or threat to life; or even when a lesser force is required. I got nightmares watching one too many.
It is more troubling that these shielded racist sentiments started manifesting in the era of the first African-American presidency. Obama’s emergence as the president of one of the most powerful nations of the world almost 8 years ago gave hope to Africa that racism was nearing extinction. Apparently, we thought wrong.
The cancerous social ill had malignantly spread into virtually every work of life and even became manifest in the world of sports. Black athletes especially in football, have continued to be the subject of racist slurs, chants and have even had bananas hurled at them. The response from victims has been the basis for the campaign against racism.
Today, we are faced with a greater evil; xenophobia. As if it wasn’t bad enough to have a section of white America hating on black America for no reason other than the colour of their skin, we have seen how the reckless, uncouth and irresponsible statement of a South African monarch has led to a bloodthirsty attack on African foreigners resident in South Africa.
Nigeria narrowly escaped an identical descent into anarchy during the just concluded 2015 elections when many rose in protest and roundly condemned the reckless comments made by the Lagos monarch where he sought to threaten a tribe to garner votes for his favorite candidate.
From all indications, it would seem that Africa’s enemy is leadership. The blessed continent has continued to struggle to find that elusive equilibrium in the midst of plenty and at other times, has appeared to steadfastly go in the opposite direction. Since democracy took a foothold, African leaders have continued to pander to the whims of neo-colonialism, with greed governing their very core rather than birthing a truly African sentiment.
At the base of this lack of progression is a large cross-section of ignorance due to poverty and lack of proper education. Democracy has not given Africa accountability or empowerment; rather it has replaced one dictator for another.
The xenophobic attacks in South Africa has greatly damaged what is left of African unity in the light of retaliatory responses by slighted African States. In Nigeria, calls for retaliatory boycotts are rife without due consideration of the attendant consequences to the fact that South African businesses run a large chunk of the Nigerian economy.
Other African countries have begun to retrieve their citizens resident in South Africa while flaming the embers of major diplomatic relations.
The failure of the South African president Jacob Zuma to “forcefully” condemn these acts, take decisive action to quell them and sanction King Zwelithini for inciting violence reveal the very character of poor African leadership. The high unemployment rate in South Africa has been ignorantly blamed on these foreigners; a lie that has been allowed to fester in the South African consciousness when in actual fact, the high unemployment rate is as a result of failed leadership.
Africa needs to recoil into a meditative shell and reconsider her past and future and begin chart her own course today. A future of greatness is near impossible when all parts of the same body are at war with each other. A large section of the West hate us; do we not justify their hate by hating ourselves too?
It is indeed time for an evolution of African leadership to meet with today’s challenges. Leadership is the sole determinant of Africa’s future as a continent of chaos or a continent of development.