These are not the best of times to be a Black person. They have never been. The phrase man’s inhumanity to man pales into utter insignificance when put side by side with the other proposition: Blackman’s inhumanity to the Blackman. This is the crying shame of all Black people.
Throughout recorded history and ancient mythologies, through the gradual differentiation of the human species into separate racial categories, the worst enemies of the Black race have been their own people. Either as colonial slaves or post-colonial serfs, either in outright captivity or coded confinement, Black people have been the worst tormentors of their own race. The Black race has been particularly stricken by a failure of leadership. The worst specimens of the race often end up as leaders. Among the half-mad, it is the comprehensively insane who are often the most self-assured. It is the iron law of human society. Among African leaders of the past half a century, there are at least four documented cases of certified cannibals: Marcos Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Jean-Baptiste Bokassa of Central African Republic, Samuel Doe of Liberia and Idi Amin Dada of Uganda who famously noted that human flesh is just a little bit saltier than normal venison. It is not enough to eat up their countries and their resources, they must also consume the flesh of the best and the brightest. This past week as horrid tales of xenophobic fury from South Africa gripped world attention, the global media were also beaming pictures of thousands of helpless and hapless Africans openly drowning from sinking flotillas in an attempt to reach salvation in mainland Europe. Many of them who fled Africa in search of greener pasture would never be seen again. It is a scathing indictment of post-colonial Africa and its laggard leadership. The unfolding tragedy of South Africa is a searing rebuke to the post-apartheid Black leadership and its failure to provide solace and succour to the South African multi-racial underclass after the millennial misery of White separatist and supremacist rule.
Xenophobia naturally takes over when ordinary people find it difficult if not impossible to make ends meet or even to feed. As it so happens even in the most advanced nations, whenever utter scarcity prevails, immigrants are often the target of furious resentment boiling over to insensate violence. Hell is indeed the Other and the new order. It is now over twenty years since apartheid rule formally ended in South Africa. To be sure, it was not going to be easy. It takes time and arduous planning to overcome centuries of entrenched inequity and inequality. The poorly educated and psychologically repressed cannot become captains of industry and industriousness overnight. But it would seem that the ANC ranking leadership have been too obsessed with taking over the perks and perquisites of the former apartheid masters rather than working for the true emancipation of their people and the amelioration of the plight of a populace on the verge of despair and despondency. In the event, they have only succeeded in creating a new Black super elite while deepening inequality and socio-economic anomie in South Africa. Yet by the same token, the failure of the South African post- apartheid elite also beams unflattering light on Nigeria, the other potential African giant, and its failure to fulfill its manifest destiny as a welcoming Mecca of the Black race and a transforming economic hub for the continent. Had Nigeria become an economic success rather than a poster boy for thieving incompetence, it would definitely have relieved the pressure on South Africa. In default, Nigeria has become a nation of absconding refugees at the mercy of xenophobic South Africans. Luckily, it is morning yet on day of salvation. Nigerians have just gifted themselves a rare chance of a new beginning. In the light of the national mood of expectation, we publish this morning a piece which was written about a decade ago which directs attention to the plight of the Black race.