Political Independence Not Enough
“…We must unite for economic viability, first of all, and then to recover our mineral wealth in Southern Africa, so that our vast resources and capacity for development will bring prosperity for us and additional benefits for the rest of the world.
“That is why I have written elsewhere that the emancipation of Africa could be the emancipation of Man.”
These are the unmistakable words of one of Africa’s greatest sons, Kwame Nkrumah, while addressing attendees at an OAU Summit Conference in Cairo in 1964
It is now 49 years since these famous words were uttered. Now every African country has attained political independence from the white man`s repressive and oppressive ruling.
For more than a century white men asserted dominance on mother Africa and took incredible control of her fertile lands, mineral resources as well as the minds of her people.
Finally, the men from Africa woke up from their deep slumber and mobilised themselves to take back what was rightfully theirs and also to restore what the locusts had eaten.
The sad thing is many African countries to date are not fully liberated both economically and mentally.
Most colonisers are still in control of the precious minerals and the fertile soils while the true owners of the land are working in the fields and mines.
Though being the richest continent in terms of natural resources, Africa has one of the poorest people in the globe mainly because its natural resources are in captivity and are underutilised.
Zimbabwean economist, Happison Zvenyika, says: “Economic freedom is the key to greater opportunity and an improved quality of life. It’s the freedom to choose how to produce, sell, and use your own resources, while respecting others’ rights to do the same.
“While a simple concept, economic freedom is an engine that drives prosperity in the world and is the difference between why some societies thrive while others do not.”
Countries like Zimbabwe that have taken it upon themselves to economically liberate themselves have faced one of the gravest criticisms from the colonisers and sadly from other African countries.
“We have sought to address this inequity … And what has been the response from former imperialist quarters? My government, my party and my own person have been labelled land-grabbers, demonised, reviled and threatened with sanctions in the face of accusations of reverse racism.
“The land is ours. It's not European and we have taken it, we have given it to the rightful people… Those of white extraction who happen to be in the country and are farming are welcome to do so, but they must do so on the basis of equality,” once said President Robert Mugabe.
One other aspect is mental emancipation, which is a crucial thing for African development and eradication of poverty.
The majority of Africa`s population is still stoutly bound by the colonialist`s ideology including many African leaders who have a dependency syndrome.
Slavery, as we choose to understand it, is over but the slavery that we refuse to admit still exists. This never-ending slavery is the slavery of the mind and is caused by a lack of understanding of ourselves.
What then should be done to free mother Africa from economic dependency and mental slavery which have made Africa`s independence more of an illusion than a reality?
“In order to be able to carry out this resistance to neo-colonialism at every point, positive action requires to be armed with an ideology, an ideology which, vitalising it, and operating through a mass party with a regenerative concept of the world and life, forge for it a strong continuing link with our past and offer to it an assured bond with our future.
“Under the searchlight of an ideology, every fact affecting the life of a people can be assessed and judged, and neo-colonialism's detrimental aspirations and sleights of hand will constantly stand,” once said Kwame Nkrumah.
To end mental slavery many points have been raised by different experts, some saying that Africa must free itself from stereotypes attached to it and some saying that African governments should take considerable time and effort to educate its citizens.
“We must free ourselves from the stereotypes that are placed over us and refuse to be addressed by abhorrent terms such as ‘nigga’.
“We must live within our means and not by others` standards, we must also be more self-sufficient and less dependent,” says Ignatius Wakatama, a social commentator.
Happison Zvenyika thinks the only way we can successfully free ourselves from mental slavery as Africans is through educating ourselves in universities about the struggles of our ancestors.
“By this, we can stop history from repeating itself because knowledge is the key to unlock the manacles from around our train of thinking,” he says
Until political independence is backed by economic and mental independence, Africa`s freedom and sovereignty will remain an illusion.