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HomeOpinionEditorialFemi Fani-Kayode: Africa, O Mother Africa

Femi Fani-Kayode: Africa, O Mother Africa

First to come to Africa were the Arabs. They hunted us down like animals, captured us, castrated us, sold us into slavery and kept us in total bondage for 1300 years.

What the Arabs did to Africans over that period of time makes everything else that they were subjected to after that by others, including the trans-Atlantic slave trade, look like childsplay.

Worse of all is the fact that in places like Saudi Arabia and Mauritania many black Africans still live in slavery till today.

After the Arabs came the Europeans arrived and also enslaved us, shipped us overseas, subjected us to barbarous cruelty and bestial servitude and described us as nothing more than chattel with the brain of a quarter of a man.

After the Europeans came the Chinese. They have come in their full power and glory with their enticing and intoxicating massive bags of money, cheap loans, suspect grants, fake and deceptive smiles and evil intentions with a view to turning us into perpetual serfs, debtors, beggars and economic slaves.

Like a snake coiled around our hapless necks, they are snuffing and suffocating the life out of us more and more as each day goes by and they are turning us into their slaves and minions just as others that came before them once did.

Sadly we may never be in a position to free ourselves from the bondage of their sinister and pervasive yoke or to pay off our debts to them. That is where we are today.

O Africa, who has bewitched thee? O mother Africa, who shall deliver thee?

I have asked myself these two questions over and over again over the years and I still do not have the answers.

Yet such is our pitiful plight today that it calls for some painful introspection and the sharing of some home truths.

In William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, the character Cassius said,

“the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.”

Nothing could be more appropriate than these words when trying to analyse, decipher and comprehend the African condition and mind-set.

I apologise in advance if anyone is offended by my assertions in this essay but if we are really interested in making progress as a race and if we wish to change our dastardly ways and improve our fortunes then the truth, no matter how bitter, must be spoken. That is the purpose of this contribution.

The illustrious West Indian revolutionary and foremost intellectual, Marcus Garvey, who was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant minds in history, once wrote the following. He said,

“having had the wrong education as a start in his racial career, the negro has become his own greatest enemy. Most of the trouble I have had in advancing the cause of the race has come from negroes”.

On his part another great thinker and formidable intellectual, the celebrated black American Booker T. Washington, aptly described the black race in one of his many lectures by stating that they were “like crabs in a barrel”.

He said that none would allow the other to climb over the top and, in the event of any such attempt, ALL would continue to pull back into the barrel the one crab that makes the effort to climb out.

I wholeheartedly agree with both Garvey and Washington. The black man is his own worse enemy and in the case of the African this is even more pronounced and self-evident. Permit me to expand on this.

There are a few exceptions to the rule but generally speaking the greatest weakness of the African is his inability to provide good leadership, his inability to demand for good quality leaders, his ignorance, his cowardice, his envy and his poverty.

This combination and cocktail of deadly afflictions makes us nothing but expendable prey to the rest of the world.

As the famous 19th century Arab slave trader Mehmet Ali once wrote, “you do not need to destroy the black African because he always ends up destroying himself and his people for you”.

He went on to say that “the minute ANY black African rises up, emerges, starts talking sense and telling the others how to escape our bondage and slavery it is his fellow Africans who he seeks to help that will undermine him, insult him, expose him, ridicule him, destroy him, sell him and kill him. That is the nature of the black African. He reasons more like a wild ape than any other creature on earth”.

Standing up for Africa is a risky business because those that will hate you most of all for doing so are the Africans themselves.

They would rather listen to a heartless and savage beast and support and follow him than to someone that truly loves and cares for them, that treats them with restraint, dignity, respect, compassion and kindness and that wishes them well.

I do not know where this sickness of mind and malevolent and self-destructive disposition derives from but I suspect that it is a deep-seated case of self-hate and self-loathing and a touch of what psychiatrics describe as the ‘Stockholm syndrome’.


The African always loves his slave-master more than he does his liberator. Worse still he resists the notion of good education and he barely reads. There are a few exceptions to the rule but this is true of most of them.


If you want to keep a secret from an African put it in a book or write it in a long essay. He cannot and will not read either of the two because he is mentally immature, chronically lazy, morbidly indisciplined and utterly shortsighted and because he sees no immediate personal gain or value in it.

He would rather listen to music and dance for one hour non-stop or watch a football or a boxing match instead. To him that is far more important and gratifying than anything else. Simply put he is stirred and motivated by his excitable and primitive passions and not by reason or logic.

Nigeria, which was meant to be the leading light of Africa, has now become its irredeemable and irretrievable basket case and the laughing stock of the world.

This is a “country” of 200 million hapless and ill-fated people who are still struggling with the very concept of nationhood and who have their own internal colonial sysytem of bondage and servitude where one small race of non-indegineous and non-negroid people have enslaved all the others and laud it over them.

This is a country where genocide, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, islamist terrorism, poverty, the persecution of political opponents and religious minorities, failure, evil, incompetence, insensitivity and wickedness is not only perceived as being a normal way of life and system of governance but also encouraged and celebrated.

Like the proverbial zoo or jungle, only the strongest and fittest can survive or get to the top in such a hellish place and shithole of a country. There is literally no hope for the weak, the poor, the vulnerable or the decent in such an environment and callousness, doublespeak, deceit and impunity appear to be well rewarded.

If this were not the case how can one explain the fact that a so-called nation that once had the greatest, most progressive, most dynamic and most educated people in Africa will accept a barely educated and clearly unfit neanderthal like Muhammadu Buhari as its leader on three separate occasions and continue to support and hail him even after he openly insults them before world leaders and treats them like filth.

His Army has failed woefully in its war against Boko Haram because he has refused to empower and equip them adequately and because he pampers and encourages the terrorists.

His economy is heading for the greatest recession in Nigeria’s history due to his incompetence and inability to save money for a rainy day.

His impoverished and desperate people are marching, robbing and rioting in the streets of Lagos, in the outskirts of Abuja and in one or two other major cities looking for food and threatening the worse if they cannot find any.

As anarchy looms and sets in on parts of the country, Nigerians are being attacked openly and robbed by massive rampaging and hungry mobs made up of very angry, desperate and wild young men and he has said nothing about it let alone try to put a stop to it.

His airforce bombed scores of innocent and defenceless civilians, including women and children, to death two days ago yet it was barely reported in the press, there was no sense of outrage about it from the people and no-one in the country really gives a damn.

He has locked down his people at home in the nation’s densely populated commercial and administrative capitals of Lagos and Abuja and one or two other provinces in an attempt to prevent the spread of the corona virus without providing any provisions, money, food, water and electricity for them and without offering them any meaningful palliatives even though he knows that they are suffering badly and that his country has been officially designated as the “poverty capital of the world” by numerous international institutions!

It takes a cruel and callous man to do this and turn his back on his people in their time of need. Worse still when it comes to the fight against coronavirus itself in the last 3 weeks he has only managed to test between 10,000 to 20,000 people for the disease in a country of 200 million!

As if that were not bad enough, as his citizens are being beaten up, tortured, humiliated, insulted, dragged out of their homes and hotels and made homeless in China and as they are being accused by the Chinese authorities of “creating” and “spreading” Covid 19 he encourages, supports and commends the Chinese Government for doing all this and he welcomes Chinese doctors into his country for an unknown and unstated purpose even though the Nigerian people and the Nigerian Medical Association have expressed their grave concerns and deepest fears about this and kicked and warned against it.

Yours truly was so disgusted and appaulled by Buhari’s servile and cowering disposition towards the Chinese that he was constrained to tweet the following this morning.

“The support and defence that Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s otherwise erudite Foreign Minister, provided for China yesterday, even in the light of the barbaric atrocities that Africans are being subjected to in China, was embarrassing, gutless and shameful. Must Buhari always lick foreign arses?”

I am still waiting for an answer to the question but needless to say I will not hold my breath.

Things are so pitiful in Buhari’s Nigeria today that even the IMF has refused to touch her with a barge pole and has excluded her from the massive $21 billion USD bail-out and pay packet that they have just offered many other African nations as their contribution to fighting Covid 19 on the African continent.

If there were ever a country that could be best described as a nation of self-flagellatiing masochists it would have to be Nigeria. It is a country in which the worlds most cruel and heartless sadists are in power and the people appear to like it just like that.

Those that go by the name of IPOB and that have had the presence of mind, decency and courage to protest and say that they have had enough and wish to break out and establish their own country have been locked up, demonized, insulted, maligned and murdered and they have been declared as terrorists even though they never threatened or used violence to effect their purpose.

To say that you want to be free from bondage, tyranny and subjugation and that you wish to chart a new course for your ethnic nationality or tribe because the accursed Lugardian amagamation and forced marriage union between the north and the south of 1914 has never worked has now become a mortal sin and an unforgivable crime in Nigeria and self-determination has become a dirty word. What a tragedy!

Africa does not need to be conquered because she has already conquered itself. Today Africans are slaves in Libya, they are treated like animals in the Middle East and China, they are barely tolerated in Europe and they are hated and treated with contempt and disdain in Asia and North and South America.

All this yet they still believe that their leaders will lead them to the promise land and cut them a better deal in the world. This is nothing but delusion. What a sorry lot we are.




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