My ultra-personal inner monologue

Military complex to guilt complex

As a born African – and having taught the brightest young technology minds in Africa for the last seven years, I am qualified to have an opinion on the future of Africa. At least, let me narrow it down to South Africa.

Westerners should stop measuring African success by European standards. Africa only has problems in the light of Europeans, and Africa only realised its problems after the Europeans arrived.

Before European colonisation, Africa was populated with civilisations who successfully survived for millennia. In fact, modern human life probably originated in Africa. Why suddenly the worry about what Africans do to one another? Who gives the Europeans the right to decide what is best for Africa, what moral standards they should use or how they should be governed?

It is all still part of our (European) Calvinist guilt-complexes. We colonised all these areas, then started feeling guilty, and then withdrew when it became too uncomfortable. Instead of completely ‘Europing’ the African continent, colonisation was a half hearted attempt. We withdrew too early.

Had the Europeans stayed longer, Africa might have been fully ‘westernised’ and it would have stood a chance. As it stands now Europeans were too cowardly to see it through, resulting in enough change to give Africans a taste for civilisation, but not enough change to complete the revolution from stone age to electronic age.

the best examples are South Africa, Australia and the United States. In these countries the colonialists had the longest run and could make a proper go at creating a ‘European’-like country. It is unfair to give Africa a taste of what it could be like (colonisation) and then withdrawing before the job is done properly.

Africa doesn’t need debt relief, it doesn’t need infrastructure, it doesn’t need any more Western interference. It needs to be left to its own devices and sort itself out. As soon as it is ready to play by modern rules, it can join the modern game. This is what some of the South East Asian countries decided in the middle of the previous century. Adapt or die. to reap ‘European’ benefits, you have to play by European rules.

This outpouring was inspired by a BBC blog on the World Economic Forum.


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