Earlier this week a video that questions the place and dignity of dark-skinned people went viral in cyberspace, and for any thinking Black African who has watched that humiliation of a race, a short-lived revolutionary was born. Confessing to being devastated, even though that is not the worst record of such shame in recent time, is to admit the least of my reactions. It is the video of the many horrors experienced by Black Africans in Israel. The Jews too hated us? But a friend corrected that the Jews hate whoever infiltrates their territories, citing the history of their conflicts with Palestinians.
But I’m least interested in the politics of Israel’s repression. If it doesn’t need Black African migrants, legal or otherwise, it’s a concern for the United Nations and the many humanitarian organisations being dismissed as advocates of white superiority even where their efforts have redeemed those who attack their complexes. My worries have always been over the factors responsible for such flights to predictable miseries by our people. We were in the Americas as slaves, which ought to remain a lesson for our race and years after the abolition of slavery in the West, the descendants of the slaves are yet to regain their mortally destroyed pride. Sadly, we offer ourselves willingly to an equally debasing form of slavery, in pursuits of an economic freedom.
Our displacements follow a natural order; man was born to chase a friendlier clime, to migrate, to flee an impotent world in search of that which can redeem him and his. And it’s on this excuse that one seeks the moral rights to engage the society that offers nothing aside from the responsibilities it heaves on the people who developed and stole its resources. The same West that hunts us down and either sends us to prison or to deportation camp, celebrates Africa’s brains and talents. We lost our finest people to Drain Drain because we couldn’t build the trust and institutions where their resources can be tapped in building a viable civilisation.
This brings to mind the frustrations of many returnees who returned from years of studies and self-developments overseas only to be disappointed on realising that their country of origin has nothing on ground to tap from their resources. In many cases, it’s the corruption and the pull-him-down syndrome that deny returnees the desired opportunity to help their fatherland or people. My friend, Nasir Yammama is one such brilliant and creative Africans whose proposals for an enhanced digital Africa were frustrated by the unprogressive minds in charge of our national affairs. Having majored in aspects of the Information Technology at a university in the UK, and his other private engagements and exploits, he designed brilliant concepts for digitisation of Nigeria, especially in the areas of security and processing of data by our institutions. While I don’t have the legal rights to discuss his proposals, his methods if adopted may be convenient alternatives to existing systems being that he proposes to adopt a method that will cut down the cost of running certain aspects of administrations in our civil service and corporate organisations.
Nasir left Nigeria this week unable to realise this dream. Just like that. Like every other who had come down here with dreams and energies to change our ways. In my years of engagements and friendship with IT nerds, his place in my heart and memory is most cherished. This explains why his departure for yet another academic engagements hit me hard, especially the nightmares he encountered in his attempts to sell his ideas to a people and government unready to compete with the thinking world.
On our way to the Airport, I knew why it’s going to be long to adjust to his migration. In this phase of our history, I don’t think that Africa needs more unusual stars in the arts and humanities. We have had enough. Be a professor in the arts, social sciences and even engineering and medicine, if you don’t add anything new to your discipline, you’re just as ordinary as every John and Ahmed you have trained – and you’re not my model, yes! In a country where we have our labour force packed with poorly designed robots trained for a dysfunctional Civil Service, all misled by the allures of “marketable courses”, I’m most happy to find an adventurous friend going for a PG study in Creative Technology in the UK. This is what comforted me, the realisation that this trip is purposely for self-development and that Africa needs his species, thoroughbred geniuses, to explore and exploit the unusual, just to restore our lost esteem. For Nasir and his curious kinds born with a passion to create where none exists, I say: may God save us from us!
By Gimba Kakanda
Blueprint Newspapers (25/05/2013)