Even if decades have passed since the formal end of colonialism in African countries, neocolonialism has taken a full grip on the collective consciousness of Africans. Assumptions of inferiority and superiority are prevalent in this day, with a sizeable number of Africans believing that countries in the global north are without blemish and that everything they do must be emulated.
Such lines of thinking reign supreme even without many people realizing that mentally, they are in neocolonial traps.
This history of colonial conquest should always be revisited with the goal of creating objective views and perceptions about Africa’s present and future. With neoliberal capitalism being the default global economic order, alternatives that assert Africa’s narratives in a positive light must be worked out.
It would seem the syndrome of dependency that African states have become accustomed to has done a lot of damage relating to perceptions between the north and the south. The south is still viewed in the north as a place eliciting pity, and where the people are unproductive and cannot assert their will over their affairs.
Such a phenomenon can be attributed to the interventions of the former colonizers as they attempted to sway postcolonial African governments to do their bidding. In the context of the Cold War, the former colonizers were determined to see capitalism dominating “development” in Africa.
The ambitious redistributive programs taken by African countries in the postcolonial epoch were destroyed by the neoliberal reforms of privatization, deregulation, austerity, and the glorification of all sorts of economic ideas the West was pushing. Ideas that were borderline nonsensical.
But this lack of confidence expressed by most African leaders from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s as they accepted structural adjustment programs can be traced back to the era of colonial conquest. Africans were told that their way of living was barbaric, backward and that they had to be “civilized,” and “educated.”
And so most Africans have since associated everything by Europeans and Americans as good and an irrefutable mark of excellence. And as something that must be adopted without posing any questions. The prevailing belief is that the former colonizers “know” what they are doing, and that nothing commendable can come from Africans.
With the egregious amounts of lies generated by the West, it may be difficult to understand why some in the global south still believe such lies. The West postulates the images of a continent that is seemingly on a self-destructive path. But is the West actively working to keep the continent in shackles.
Western companies pillage African resources without an iota of remorse. This wealth keeps the global capitalist order working, while inequality in Africa continues. The whole international finance system is built on African resources. The American economy and infrastructure are built on the labor of slaves.
But yet, Africa is told that it needs help from the ones destroying it. Africans are told that Europe and America are the proverbial “promised lands” and that they should all leave the continent. While the said Europe and America do not want Africans in their territories.
Mainstream media and social media peddle the lies of the neocolonial masters to the global south inhabitants. But what exacerbates this is a general lack of consciousness among many Africans – brought about the vagaries of modernity.
Individualism, narcissism, and materialism/consumerism have all worked to weaken national consciousness as life is centered around the glory of personal/individual success and the accumulation of private capital. For most, it is senseless to think in terms of public interest/public good.
Under such contexts, it is difficult to criticize what the global superpowers dictate. It becomes difficult to disregard their propaganda. And such propaganda is aimed towards viewing Africans as “markets” so that private super-profits are concentrated in the hands of a few global north elites.
Life cannot be more satisfactory just because one has more material goods. Or because one has more individual wealth while communities do not have water, power, and people do not have land and housing. Political parties in Africa still take trash economic ideas (from international capital) which are incompatible with African contexts.
Although many people may not want to admit this, there is a subtle but overwhelming admiration of the lifestyles in the advanced global north countries. The material aspects of such life – considering being in the diaspora is also viewed as a status symbol – are venerated by Africans.
Because it is increasingly becoming hard to be critical consciousness in an African continent privatized by all sorts of international and local [private] capital, people no longer have the time to question if everything that comes from the West is good. And this is killing the sense of innovation among Africans to come up with local solutions that speak directly to the varying African contexts.
A resurgence of Pan-African ideologies is important now more than ever. The continent is sinking to private capital, and this has a negative effect on the collective consciousness of Africans. The people of the continent must stop viewing themselves in an inferior position and must now take charge of their narratives.