THE ONE SIDED PORTRAYAL OF AFRICA BY FOREIGNERS!
I remember a situation when some of my team members were taking photographs of the Makoko slum. Some zealous Nigerians came around to stop them from taking pictures of people living in the slum and in abject poverty. My European friends were taken aback by the aggression and anger of their Nigerian hosts. After further discussion with these men, the reason became clear. These Nigerians were concerned about the superiority attitude of some of the Europeans. Pointing to the high rise building of Mary land and Victoria Island, they questioned why the Europeans didn’t take the pictures of the good looking places in Lagos. They explained that it is a common practice among some Europeans to always show the ugliest and the most horrifying images of Africa, especially in their news media.
It is this type of one sided portrayal of Africa that has led the world to think that Africa is only about poverty, hunger and famine. I personally can attest to that. A lot of people in Europe today will find it difficult to believe that there are parts of Africa that are as good as some European cities. The general picture of Africa is negative with poverty stricken images of the continent. When similar clashes occur either in the streets of Lagos or in the parks of Amsterdam, between Africans and Europeans, some Europeans tend to think that these Africans are simply racist. Not true! Their concern is about respect, honor and dignity.
They, especially Nigerians, believe that they deserve enough honor, respect and dignity as the Europeans who visit them or who they meet in Europe. Their thinking is that they too deserve at least a reciprocal attitude. To the credit of my fellow Nigerians though, I can attest to the fact that a lot of the teams that have come with me to the country, generally go back with the impression that Africans are very respectful and extremely honoring to their European visitors. So, the problem of Nigerians is not necessarily a problem of race or racism, as I have said earlier, it is a problem of honor.
As you can see above, the title of this article is called, THE BEAUTY AND POWER IN NIGERIA’S DIVERSITY. I have slightly touched on racism and why I or any other Nigerian cannot be regarded as a racist. It is just not in our bones!
This is because most Nigerians never had close interactions with the white colonialists. Even though Nigeria was a colony of Great Britain, yet not too many Nigerians felt the presence of European oppression personally.
The tactics of rulership that was adopted in Nigeria was called Divide and Rule. This method of domination is when the Europeans won the trust of the ruling class of Africans especially the royal houses who in turn represented the interest of the Europeans. They had more direct interactions with the local population carrying out the will and commands of their European masters.
West Africa was more fortunate than their eastern and southern counterparts. The Europeans could not survive long in our part of the world, thanks to our deadly mosquitoes that infected them with malaria and other diseases. The red hot sun of West Africa did not help matters either. It was not just hot, it was deadly for the Europeans especially in a century that was before air conditioners and electronic ventilators.
Unlike in Eastern and Southern parts of Africa where the weather was more conducive to the Europeans, not too many of the European colonial masters moved to the Western part of the continent. In South Africa and East Africa, the weather seemed to be like a paradise to many European sojourners. Some of them settled down in those countries owning properties and becoming part of the population. The rate of settlement of Europeans in Eastern and Southern Africa meant that the African population witnessed firsthand the injustice of colonialism.
Apartheid is the case at hand. This kind of system of oppression cannot but call for a form of reaction. Even strong reactions like this probably explain why some Africans have either anger or fear towards Europeans. But to a large extent, it is Africans that are generally being discriminated against, rather than Africans discriminating against other races. More Africans have been on the receiving end of racism than on the giving end.
To be continued tomorrow with the following topic:
- Racism and tribalism within Nigeria
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja