Visiting South Africa left me confused. I expected a lovely place, enjoying the fruits of freedom from apartheid. Instead, I saw in the eyes of the poor, despair, and I wondered if they knew the difference between the past and the present - or if there indeed was any difference.
At our conference, poor blacks served the participants with a certain deference and trepidation that stayed with me all through. The Black and White conference participants seemed fine with it.
What seemed obvious was that the black ruling class had merely mounted the saddle of the former oppressors and were now using the same state-sanctioned instruments of oppression to oppress the poor - and amass power and wealth.
I looked around me and it just seemed that white on black oppression had been replaced with black on black oppression. No compassion.
This horrific dysfunction is repeated in virtually all black African nations. The poor in my village are blissfully unaware that they were freed from colonialism; huge swathes of the village look like a place time forgot.
Take those nations freed from colonialism; not much in terms of the culture and structure has changed. The intellectual and ruling elite swagger like drunks, armed with PowerPoint slides, mouthing bullshit as the poor ferry them from broken hovel to broken hovel on their backs.
No one holds them accountable because they own the bully pulpit. It is as if the warriors merely took over from the white man, shoved the poor into "boys' quarters" and ghettoes and continued the looting and brigandage.
In the case of apartheid South Africa, the oppressors came to stay with their families and so they built robust structures and institutions for their enjoyment and use.
The colonialists came, ruled as if from afar, built temporary structures - which was fine since their families were back home attending real schools and being taken care of by real hospitals. Each time they got sick, they would fly back home to have their rashes treated.
Today's post colonial African ruler is the same as his white ancestor. His families are abroad and each time he has a cough, he flies home to the West to be taken care of in real hospitals. There is no investment in his society - because he does not believe in his society.
The dysfunction is now being aggravated by the uncritical adoption of crippling governance, democracy without accountability, an aping of what happens in the West. Outside of slavery and AIDS, nothing has hurt African nations more than decades of looting in the name of democracy.
Why are things the way they are? Why are we like this? Until we confront our challenges with real honesty and rigor, African nations will continue to be the butt of jokes in the international community of nations.
We are headed in the wrong direction. That much is obvious, let's not lie about things. Our intellectual elite must stop bleating inanities and admit that there has been a rank failure to lead from their end.
Our intellectuals have become the problem; lazy and loud parrots of lies and obfuscation all so they can feed their mouths. All I see is mimicry, and loud parroting of stolen ideas.
And no, I do not agree with Jean-Pierre Bekolo Obama. A return to colonialism would be silly. But read his interview; he has thought hard about these things.
You can follow @ikhide.
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