I have seen black people move from Africa and become established, live better lives, get amazing jobs, and generally do well in life. Obviously, the west has more opportunities. So, it is not unreasonable to see an influx of people from resource-malnourished areas, into these ‘greener pastures’ (The UK, America, Europe, Canada, etc).
A man moves for instance, from Ghana to Canada, not knowing a single person in that area. Gradually, He starts to work his way up. This man looks for any menial job available to keep afloat and probably pay for school, take courses, and get a diploma or degree (as the case may be), all in a bid to integrate and become a part of the system. This individual probably has the equivalent or an even better certification from their home country, but still decides to painstakingly get another one because of the benefits ahead.
Days, weeks, months, and perhaps, years, of toil, tears, backaches, hunger, uncertainty and anxiety roll by, and the said individual finally obtains their degree. Keep in mind that this person has gone through all of this pain, without any assurance that they will get a good job – a gamble of the sort. Alas, they rely on sheer hope and TRUST in the ‘system’ to afford them equal rights and opportunities as the ‘domestics’. Time passes, series of applications get sent, a couple of rejections here and there (maybe a lot actually) and then boom, the big break! Gradually, things start to look up. They become a part of the system and the system becomes a part of them. Now, this is not to say it is a walk in the park, and racism doesn’t exist, because boy oh boy, it does exist.
Back to the point, I was making before I digressed, this individual starts to earn. Steps up the life ladder a few rungs, get better clothes, probably gets a better job, lives in a better environment, gets a car, starts a family and secures a mortgage, Life is good! Remember, the individual could only achieve all of these in the first place because they were allowed to thrive, their ethnicity aside.
Again, I know racism is a thing and you would find that certain unscrupulous elements become jealous of these hardworking immigrants and try to be assholes. But then, when you lead a legitimate life, you have absolutely nothing to fear. You can own all the properties you want to own and nobody can say pim! well, they can only try.
Relating this to Africa, and applying the same standards, how possible is it for an African, to migrate to another African country, and still be able to earn a living, own property and lead a successful life, without the constant ‘foreigner’ reminder? You could go to sleep and wake up one morning to a razed or looted shop. What’s worse? The hate is coming from a fellow dark-skinned brother who thinks your growth equals his decline.
As Africans, we migrate and hope to settle in places where we are the actual textbook definition of ‘foreigners’, but we cannot tolerate fellow African ‘foreigners’ in our own communities. We expect to be welcomed by other ethnicities outside our shores when we barely extend the same welcome to our own. Why can’t a Ghanaian move to Nigeria and life/establish a business without issues? Just a few months ago, we had our South-African brothers razing Nigerian businesses and fighting their Nigerian brothers for the sins of a few bad eggs (if any), instead of coming together as one people to proffer solutions to whatever the problem was.
As a Somali, why must I share the opportunities I come across with only Somalis, neglecting the Kenyan brother right beside me? Let me not even get into the historic ‘Ghana-must-go’ fiasco, Or the recent saga, where a Ugandan artiste made a video calling a Nigerian artiste an “idiot”, for the reason that the Nigerian artiste was “allowed to make money” in a situation where the ‘’home’’ artiste wasn’t, forgetting that there are better ways to actually handle issues like that while maintaining mutual respect between both countries. This would have proven a chance to use your (her) platform to draw attention to a failed system, raising important questions like; how did they get into Uganda? who organised the concert? Who okayed the concert? Again, the term ‘’foreigner’’ popped up.
Brings to mind a series of questions; Is Africa really one? Why is an African a foreigner on African soil? How can an African be a foreigner in Africa and a foreigner outside Africa? This nuh mek sense!
When are you truly ‘home’ as an African? We may be divided along national lines, but the rest of the world sees us as the same. Why then can we not see ourselves as one? I mean, I am African first, before I am Nigerian, or Ghanian, or Senegalese, or Tanzanian, or Ethiopian, or what have you. I have come to realise that the only reason the rest of the world take us ‘fi eeediat’ is the basic fact that we don’t look good as a unit; We are divided! That me-me, mentality must become an us-us mentality.
The next black man is my brother, regardless of nationality. Only this way can we establish the unified front we so desperately need. I’ll end this with a logical ‘broom’ example. Take the broom as the African continent in general. A broom is made up of individual sticks that can sweep whatever mass of space it is faced with. Individual sticks cannot do jack, however hard they try. Instead, they end up breaking prematurely.
These individual sticks is you and I as Africans. If we stick together, we can sweep our continent clean of the bad leaders, the corruption, and every other rot that has percolated deep into our roots. Then we can go on to sweep the world off its feet. Love your fellow African as your brother and watch the rest of the world take us seriously. Only this way can we grow as a people.
Last modified: April 28, 2021