Sender: The African Global Experience <AGE-L@uga.cc.uga.edu>
Subject: Re: WESTERN CULTURE AND AFRICAN OPPRESSION
Western culture and African oppression
A dialog on the African Global Experience (AGE-L) list, 5 January 1995
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 14:04:20 PST
>CULTURES ARE RELATIVE: There is no "weak" or "strong" culture. However, there ar weak or strong people in terms of technology, military power and economic power. Many people tend to confuse economic, technological and military strength with cultural superiority! This is a fallacious conclusion! This is partly why some misguided Africans view Western culture with awe and respect whereas they despise and reject their own African culture as inferior!
If this analysis is true, then African Western educated elites can hardly become true African patriotic leaders and socio-economic liberators from the debts and socio-economic slavery to the West (IMF/WB) until they decolonize their own minds from Western colonial and neocolonial mental conditioning, and unsconcious slavery to The West and self-destructive self-negation and hate!
For comple detailed treatment of this subject see:
Twesigye, Emmanuel K. GOD, RACE, MYTH AND POWER: AN AFRICANIST CORRECTIVE RESEARCH ANALYSIS. New York: Peter Lang, 1991.
Carter, Woodson. THE MISEDUCATION OF THE NEGRO.
Emmanuel K. Twesigye, OWU
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 10:28:09 -0500
Can this westernization be done without losing the sense of community and kinship that is the foundation of many African communities? Can we for example aspire for western materialism without internalizing individualism?
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 13:44:11 GMT
There are very definitely weak and strong cultures. All cultures are composed of sets of behaviour that are accepted as norms within each culture. These have a positive, negative or neutral effect on the ability of each culture to compete in the eternal struggle.
> Many people tend to confuse economic, technological and military strength with
Can you see the link between economic, technological and military weakness and cultural anniliation!
>This is a fallacious conclusion! This is partly why some
There is no such thing as a fixed and unchanging African culture that is worth preserving . Africans who argue that things are different in Africa because Africans live there are the most misguided. They expect little and seem to be happy with even less. Anyone who does not realise that decent ie 'Western' living standards should be the goal of any African struggle is a race traitor. Our people deserve the best that there can possible be! Four million African children die every year from preventable dieases that nobody dies from in the 'West'. In seeking to eliminate infant mortality and death in childbirth what fool would accuse anyone of 'Westernisation'. Must we refrain from using anti-biotics because this will deprive traditional healers of a living?
Any road that our African race takes toward progress becomes the African road. We should not be detered because others took it first or faster.
>Emmanuel K. Twesigye, OWU
Remember Africa was exploited and colonised because of the way the pure and unsullied minds of its then leaders dealt with their contacts with Europeans. I see a unbroken line in many cases between the race traitors who ran the slave collection raids and those who today sell their countries to the IMF or peddle crack to our school children. We have suffered and continue to suffer as a race because there are traitors among us, not because of other races.
People and Fatherland, always!
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 17:04:52 GMT
> Can this westernization be done without losing the sense of
Yes. Look at Japan. Is Japan merely a copy of the 'West' or have the Japanese created a highly successful system by simply using what is useful wherever it comes from combined with their own social system. Japan has a better social structure, much lower crime, and a higher standard of living than virtually any 'Western' nation. Providing people with a decent standard of living is not materialism, nor is it 'westernization'. It is natural to want the best for yourself and your family. The fact that Africa remains so economically backward that it cannot provide a decent standard of living for its people is seen by Africans as evidence of their inferiority. Away from all the politically correct blinkered self denial that many in the Africans abroad engage in, this fact remains.
When I was travelling in Africa, the one thing that I noticed more than anything was the inferior status that our people have come to accept from the white peasants that they meet. European tourists waving a handful of small change were treated as saviours. People may whine about a colonial mentality, etc, etc, but the while the fact remains that white = RICH and Black = POOR, nobody is going to ignore it. Economic advancement is not an option, it is the key to saving the Black race. Looking back to my journey across Africa, to the hard work and industry shown by the people in Djenne market in Mali, for instance, I cannot imagine that given the political will, our people cannot produce the same standard of living as that enjoyed elsewhere.
In the final analysis it is our survival as a race that matters. Any means to this ends is acceptable.
People and Fatherland, always!
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 13:59:02 -0400
You are confusing Western technology, medicine and prosperity with Western Culture!
Disease and poverty in Africa are not part of African culture! You don't have to become an African-White person in order to be rich, well educated, and free disease as you seem to imply! If this is what you call culture, then, you are mistaken! Culture has to do with basic values, such as language, what is good or evil; what is beautiful and what is ugly? And based on that if you are Black for the white culture, "you are ugly and evil!"
Money, techology, wealth and pharmocological medicine have no culture attached to them. They are universal and acultural! However, the ways in which we employ them in our respective societies is cultural in their respectieve expressions! Therefore, learn to make the distinction between the universal and the particu- lar, since the particular is the cultural varriable factor which were are discussing here as a relative phenomena.
Therefore, if the West is rich and strong, it not because the'zX&}have a superi4 ~ culture, but a superior technology!
Emmanuel K. Twesigye, OWu
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 20:27:59 GMT
No I don't think that I am. The point that I am making is this:
Any culture which possesses 'technology, medicine and prosperity' is superior to one that does not. This is not a subject up for academic debate. With modern weapons, and the industry that produces them, you can not only defend and perpetuate your own culture you can inflict it on others as well. No amount of wishful thinking will change this fact. In order for 'African culture' to survive it must be carried by people who a capable of defending it and themselves from the bearers of other cultures. Otherwise it will be wiped from the face of the Earth.
I don't know the perspective from which you speak, but I guess you are not representative of the average African in a country like Mali. For people in that once great nation, their culture cannot guarantee them a living, white tourists can. For many that I met while I was there Europe seemed like a fabled paradise, from which young people like themselves would arrive wealthy beyond their imagining, living a life of ease and luxury. For these ordinary Africans what faith can they place in their culture and its values? In the corrupt leaders and officials that betray them? Africans abroad in well paid jobs can afford the luxury of delineating their 'culture' as they see fit. People in the Sahel wearing secondhand western clothes are not so lucky.
BTW these clothes are only supplied to eliminate the indigenous industry and thus force dependence on our people.
NO they are not universal, some have them, most Africans do not!
> them in our respective societies is cultural in their respectieve expressions!
Simply put, if a culture has wealth and strength it is superior to one that has only poverty and weakness. Therefore it should be our aim to become strong, since then we can keep our own wealth.
People and Fatherland, always!
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 16:20:31 -0500
I guess you are right this time around and that is that Africans can pursue economic well being without becoming individualist nor westernized. Your example of Japan tells it all. The problems with much of Africa today is that many wish to become like the West rather than learning those economic tenets that would spur the well being of their peoples. And yes, colonialism is partly to blame for making the myth that white is superior. That notwithstanding the political elite have shown little whether they know where to take their countries. Given the many past blunders that have resulkted in the current pathetic situation, I doubt that they will find this direction in the very near future. Only when they would have established this direction would the the stereotypical image of poor=black be dispelled.
Matunda Naycn Nayncha Nyanchama
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 21:47:18 -0400
CULTURE IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO MATERIAL WEALTH! A person like Moshood of Nigeria is a rich African who has not renounced his African heritage! Cultural superiority is to be found in the richness of values, language and the arts!
There is no monetary measure for cultures. The Chinese, Japanese and Indians are proud of their own cultural heritage and based on this rich foundation they have resisted the Western temptations of materialism, greed and indivi- dualism. Western materialism is destructive and I do not wish to see it adopted by Africans! This mistake would be the equivalent of what you have called "race traitors!"
The African greedy materialists in West Africa include those who sold their brothers and sisters into slavery for just a few bottles of rum and guns! Those were the destructive traitors of their own people! Any body who advocates a blind imitation of the West in terms of greed, materialism and capitalism is destructive or indeed naive!
What do white supremacist call a black person with a PhD? A nigger! What do white supremacists call a black millionare like Michael Jackson or Jordan or Bill Cosby? A fancy rich nigger!
If you are black and an African, you are better served by becoming truly a great African proud of your own great African heritage! Do not envy the materialist cultures of the West; they are shallow and conducive to nihilism and angst (dread)! The African celebrative culture has saved the people of Africa from oppression, poverty, degradation of colonialism and safeguarded them from crime, except in the cities, where the pseudo-Westernized Africans live and try hard unsuccessfully to "ape" their former colonial masters and the hypocritical Christian missionaries!
Brother, love yourself and love your fellow Africans and Mother Africa and her unique cultures! Our slavation lies in this Africa and pan-African unity and collective self-development as Africans, rather than looking to the West for ideas, financial aid and the so called superior culture! Charles Murray's book the BELL CURVE should not convice you to believe in inherent cultural and intellectual inferiority just because you are African, black and poor!
Let us develop our resources and transfer moder technology to improve our lives, culture and color or genes have nothing to do with African poverty. So do not belive the Hegelian and Darwinist illusions of African cultural inferiority! They are lies and myths created by white racists to keep us mentally colonized and chained to their lives and cultures of materialism, greed and exploitation!
Emmanuel K. Twesigye, OWU
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 11:46:30 EST
>Therefore, if the West is rich and strong, it not because the'zX&"have
If ones culture permits people to steal, commit genocide and destroy the little physical structure that some Africans have been able to build, then we have a weak culture. I know of no other culture[s] where people can embezzle from their country, and are glorified years little for doing the best they can. Let's face it we have no standards or a system that encourages accountability....
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 11:53:31 EST
If Moshood Abiola is our only model for an African who has not given up his culture, then we're all doomed!!!!
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 13:27:38 -0400
African corruption is not an intrinsic part of the African culture nor due an inferiority of an African culture and the Africans. That is exactly what Charles Murray and the BELL CURVE claim in correlation to Africa and the blacks where in Africa, USA or other places abroad.
My argument is that techology makes wealth and better living conditions accessible regardless of whether the people are in Japan, China, Korea Arabia or Africa. Mere wealth without an appropriate technology will not improve the well being of the people or reduce the harships of life for all the people. Slavery was invented as a system to keep the wealthy classes in a luxurious life style, but for the slaves, it was hell!
The West and now Asia have aquired modern technology which has revolution- ized the conditions of life for most people (the rich). It has made mass wealth and modern medicine possible. This is a good cultural use of techno- logy. One does not have to become a European in culture, color (White) or values (Christian, capitalist,materialistic and individualistic) in order to aquire modern technology and better one's economic, social, medical and even military status in the world!
African universities education and research should be directed to the aquisition of modern technology, and research how to use it most effectively for Africa, rather than the aquisition of destructive and nihilistic Western cultures. For instance, an appropriate African technology should focus on the harvest of solar and wind energy so as to provide affordable sources of light and cooking for African villagers, and even provision of access to computers and the free flow of information on the internet and bitnet systems. Western technological and medical research is available on line and African professors could tap into it and update themselves and utilize the information free of charge! This has nothing to do with culture, but rather access to information.
Poverty makes access to education, information , technology and good medical care difficult. Therefore, ignorance and poverty are the enemies of Africa which must be eliminated, before wealth can become a reality in Africa for most people.
African corruption is a direct result of mass poverty in Africa and greed on the part of western educated and materialized people who desire to become like their former colonial masters and resert to stelaing and embezzling public funds in order to look "civilized" and acceptable to the Western "masters." These are KA's true race traitors who deserve to be shoot in the public squares of Africa as corrupt traitors and thieves! Unfortunately, many of these have become the leaders of Africa and the rest is a matter of history! Corruption, debts, lack of accountability and more borrowing from IMF/WB for more money to misuse! No, this is not African culture! On the contrary, it is an African form of Western culture! At that a corrupt one!
Let Africans learn to become highly technological and to better their lot without losing their cultures and greatness as a unique people. The Japanese are the best example to follow! Follow the Chinese and Indian or Korean models if for some reason you have some objections to the Japanese model. They still revere their ancestors, and look at Mt. Fuji as their sacred Mountain. Even the defeated emperor (World War II) is still a representation of God on earth! Yet, despite this anti-Western cultural tradition, they have become a great technol- ogical power, a wealthy nation and may even become a great political and mili- tary power in the world, if their constitution is ammended in order to permit this development.
Long live Mother Africa and may your diverse cultures flourish into the future, and protect your offspring from the destructive forces of materialism, indivi- dualism, despair and self-destructive hate and low self-esteem in a Western dominated world.
Emmanuel K. Twesigye, PhD
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 13:44:37 EST
On Sat, 7 Jan 1995 13:27:38 -0400 "Emmanuel K. Twesigye or send instructions on how to" said:
> . . .
>My argument is that techology makes wealth and better living conditions
Japanese officials who have been accused, NOT proven, but ACCUSED of corruption are not considered victims of Western influence. Its only Africans who constantly blame every ill-decision on White folx.... Our culture does not allow for honest constructive criticism. If you attack your so-called elders you are being disrespectful.
>The West and now Asia have aquired modern technology which has revolution-
You are conveniently arguing that technology enhances accountability. But your forgetting one important fact, in the 1980's many African countries (economically) were parallell/to many Asian countries. Like Africa there was also rampant corruption in Asia but unlike Africa, Asians made sure that those officials who abused their office were held accountable for their actions. In Africa you can steal as much as want and be elevated to saint-hood; and if the crook is lucky he might get African apologists to argue that Africans steal because of colonialism or lack of technology....
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 1995 00:11:21 -0400
AFRICAN CORRUPTION AND ITS CUREby Professor Emmanuel K Twesigye
Ohio Wesleyan University
Corruption in Africa has become serious moral, economic and political problem. As such a menace to the African society and its socio-economic development and well-being, it can no longer be ignored. This problem is not limited t o a single or just a few countries in Africa.
Corruption is very wide-spread, although, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda are in the African headlines more than the other nations. However, this does not mean that the leaders and officials of the governments of those countries are more corrupt than the others! For instance, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire is believed to have bulked the country of many billions of dollars, most of which is hidden away in foreign banks.
Nigeria, tops the list when it comes to corruption. It is commonly believed that the Nigerian Government leaders and officials routinely steal millions of dollars from public funds and oil revenues. For the ordinary Nigerians, fraud, bribery or requests of "dash" (gift) before any free service can be rendered is an extreme form of institutionalized societal corruption. As a result, in Nigeria, one can almost buy anything, including false birth certificates, passports, letters of recommendation or bogus certificates of business incorporation for non-existent businesses!
Recently, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda organized a conference on african corruption, and one of the key speakers was Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria. Obasanjo claimed that more than 200 billion dollars had been stolen by the officials and hidden in foreign banks. Kenyan government and bank officials were themselves being accused of fraud.
Indeed, the western donor nations had a couple of years threatened to suspend economic aid to Kenya if corruption and lack of accountability continued. In Uganda, corruption became a way of life following Idi Amin's coup in January 1971. Idi Amin though a good soldiers lacked the necessary educational background and civic education to govern the country or provide an ideal role model as a good citizen. The properties of the non-Ugandans, especially, the Asians became coveted and soon the Asians were expelled, their property distributed among Idi Amin's friends and supporters. Very little accountability was expected in the rest of the private and public sectors of life.
Poverty, made the Ugandan and Kenyan cases of corruption very rampant. For instance, the salary of a Ugandan soldier of police officer in the past was so little that it could not sustain the person and his family for more than a week! Obviously, the officer had to survive and feed his family as the first priority as mandated by the "law of nature."
This survival (corruption) took two forms: 1. The soldier of police officer used his gun to rob people at night (kicking in doors or shooting of the locks and robbing the people at gun point and even killing the resisters or those who recognized him). 2. The soldiers of police officer used his office and person to extort money in the form of bribes at roadblocks. Bogus road blocks were set up in many places in Kampala and the highways leading to Jinja, Masaka, Bombo and the like.
The government officers on the other hand helped themselves to the public funds if they were budget officers or asked for payment (bribes) for free services or in addition to the official fees for a service. For instance, those in the passport section would require up to 150 dollars before giving a person a new passport or renewing an expired or old one.
Corruption is not unique to Africa. However, because, Africa of the Sahara has more cases of poverty than any other part of the world. According to the World Bank twenty six of the world's poorest nations are found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, there is a direct correlation between corruption and poverty. This does not mean that only the poor are corrupt! However, the rich are sometimes rich because they have acquired their wealth through corruption and other crooked deals or means!
Nevertheless, corruption can be cured. Even the Italian Mafia have a remedy in the form of government leaders of integrity who cannot be bought and corrupted by the thugs. Drug dealers in Latin America are also finding out that despite their money and power to buy and corrupt poor leaders, there are those who won't be tempted by quick wealth through corruption. Similarly, in Africa, we have some men and women of integrity, except that they are not the one's in power. We can change this through free elections. It is true that in Nigeria Moshood won the elections and the military would not cede power to him, but we have to keep up the pressure!
It is both a moral and an economic disease. In the case of Africa, it has nearly reached a terminal level for some nations, such as Nigeria and Kenya! The Ugandan example under Museveni shows that even the worst forms of corruption can be fought, minimized and with time, hopefully eliminated.
These are some of the ways to fight corruption in Africa:
1. Eliminate abject mass poverty through education, technology and rural development.
2. Provide civic moral education with emphasis on fiscal and political responsibility and accountability to the community and the nation.
3. Screen political appointees to eliminate crooks and self-serving unpatriotic individuals.
4. Elect patriotic people to office and positions of leadership.
5. Pass laws which define some gross acts of corruption as treason whose punishment is death. This form of public retribution and deterrence to corruption should be used sparingly, since it may produce resentment and military coups! Nevertheless, dead criminals do not commit any more criminals! Or as Jesus said:"What doe it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"
6. Pass laws which punish corruption with long prison sentences.
7. Seize and auction the property of individuals convicted of corruption, theft in office and embezzlement.
8. Pay well the government employees in order to remove the temptation to steal in order to make ends meet.
9. Pay good pensions to the retired government employees which are keep going up with the rate of inflation.
10. Reward and honor honest and hardworking government employees as a public recognition and conversely, publicly disgrace the crooks as a public moral punishment.
11. Ask religious leaders to preach a morality and ethic of patriotism and accountability to one another and to the community/nation.
12. To require religious leaders in church, "uma" and government to lead by personal example to the people, and not by word alone!
Emmanuel K. Twesigye, OWU
Let me here from you and your suggestions for dealing with this problem!
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995 03:29:03 EST
On Sun, 8 Jan 1995 00:11:21 -0400 "Emmanuel K. Twesigye or send instructions on
> AFRICAN CORRUPTION AND ITS CURE
> . . .
>Let me here from you and your suggestions for dealing with this problem!
What about adopting some form of Wilsonian government, and a merit system. Have a system that encourages documentation.