Racism In Africa, Now That The Shoe Is On The Other Foot…Recently I have been giving some thought to the a human behavior that has played an important role in my life, racism.
It is well know that the peoples of Africa suffered greatly for hundreds of years at the hands of racist colonial powers. What is less well known is that those just freed from the oppression of apartheid and colonial powers took up racism with a zeal that matches and more often surpasses that of their once masters.
Join me on a little trip down the history of Africa you don’t hear about. Bear with me for just two examples.
Let’s start with Liberia. In 1822 Liberia was founded as a free state by an American organization, the American Colonization Society, who created it with the sole intent of populating it with freed slaves from the United States. One would imagine that people having just experienced the brutality of slavery would more than anyone abhor slavery – wrong! Liberated slaves did learn from their experience that slavery could be a very profitable business. Liberia was not yet drawn on maritime maps when the once slaves had already set up shop selling what else? Slaves of course. Liberia continued to sell slaves long after slavery had been abolished in the US and by most European powers.
The freed slaves and their descendants, known as the Americo-Liberians, although never more than 5% of the population, exercised complete dominance over the indigenous people. The minority Americo-Liberians’ marginalization of various ethnic groups eventually led to two civil wars with a level of brutality and savagery to match any in history. These wars killed over 200,000 people with the last war ending in 2005.
Let’s take a look at an example you are more familiar with, South Africa. In 1994 apartheid ended in South Africa. Nelson Mandela the once prisoner and freedom fighter became the president of the new S. Africa and an inspiration to the world. For the first time black S. Africans were by law as much a human being as any other – well, except those 'others' they didn’t like didn't get to be human beings too. Members of the ANC, Mandela’s party, and those who identified themselves as Zulu, enjoyed their newfound freedom to slaughter one another without police interference. The ANC eventually prevailed and the gruesome political violence ended.
This initial violence was to be mere practice for the xenophobia driven savagery that followed and that to this day continues to be inflicted on migrant workers and illegal aliens, many of which are burned alive.
Before 1994 the injustices of the white minority S. Africa government were sufficiently recognized and admonished by the world that it became necessary to deny, hide, and diminish the violence that the racism of the apartheid state justified. Today the widespread racism of black S. African’s towards whites and other ethnic groups is unencumbered by world opinion or even the moral dialogue had by a portion of white S. Africans during the apartheid years.
The new black majority government does not need to hide, deny or diminish violence towards whites. It simply does not recognize it and neither does the world. White farmers are being systematically killed though out S. Africa. So far over 3,000 white farmers have been killed, many tortured to death. The government not only denies this genocide but with a wink and a nudge it encourages it. Nelson Mandela has not only failed to denounce it but he has joined other S. black African leaders in publicly singing songs about killing whites. (Oh no, I just tarnished a saint's image)
These are only two examples and there are many many more throughout Africa. My own family lost everything and barely escaped our Angola, our country of birth. We were the lucky ones that escaped with our lives. Many white Africans were not so fortunate.
Racism, no ethnic group is immune from it, nor does any ethnic group or race have a monopoly on it. Such is nature of the beast