A CHAT FROM LONDON : Brilliant Africans and the struggle against injustice

Friday February 16 2018

Fredy Macha is a writer and musician  based in

Fredy Macha is a writer and musician  based in London.Blog,www.fredymachablogspot. 

By Freddy Macha

Online description says Anele Mdoda is “effervescent”. I had to look it up. Bubbly, jovial, lively, charming, buoyant is what the South African TV presenter for Real Talk is. In November 2016 she was interviewing another effervescent personality, a brilliant comic.

Trevor Noah.

Ladies and gentlemen.

Effervescent.

For those who have seen his lively shows on TV or YouTube, Noah makes us all proud. He is not just funny, he is intelligent and, at last, we have an African entertainer of a high calibre.

Effervescent.

Apart from media skills, Trevor Noah is multilingual (Khosa, Zulu, Tswana, Sotho, German, etc) - another skill we Africans tend to possess effortlessly. Hey! Watch out! We are the most polyglot speakers on earth. Whenever I tell people overseas that on average an African speaks three languages (tribal, national – e.g. Wolof, Swahili, Somali or Lingala, plus European) they go “Woow!” – So Kudos to the 33-year-old Noah.

To continue...

Effervescent Anele Mdoda wanted to know what the effervescent comedian misses being away from home in South Africa. According to Wikipedia, the funny man had to move to the USA after being threatened by his stepfather, Ngisaveni Shingange, who allegedly shot his mother in 2009.

“What do you miss being away?”

No.

Noah did not mention the sunshine, food, smells and certain physical things that most of us are expected to lay bare about missing Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Khanga and Matoke.

“It is the ability to grow... “

I was surprised.

This is typical positive thinking. An overseas African looking at the brighter side of developing Africa. Growth.

Now. Compare that to this.

Years ago when I was growing up we used to be very proud of Mwalimu Nyerere’s foreign policies. In 1967 Biafra pulled away from Nigeria. Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu led an uprising against the Nigerian federal government. I do not recall African Presidents supporting Ojukwu. But Nyerere did so openly. To this day I meet old Igbos (Biafrans) who on realising I am Tanzanian, clap hands, and admit adoring Mwalimu.

“Nyerere had guts to stand up for others,” one always declares loudly.

Meantime, Tanzania supported liberation movements in Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, morally and materially. Those were, nevertheless, colonial problems.

Nyerere equally supported civil groups fighting against injustice. Biafra was one. Eritrea and Western Sahara another. The best, though, was Uganda. We know what happened in 1979. Tanzania helped rid Amin’s genocide that left a quarter of a million dead. Guts, yes.

Moral courage.

Who else on the continent?

Whenever an African dictator has trounced his own people, other leaders have either remained silent or pretended it is not happening. Non-interference. Protocol. But this protocol was sidelined by Nyerere.

It has become acceptable – so much that when leaders break the silence, it is news. Like recently.

African Leaders Great Inspirational Speeches. A channel on YouTube is dedicated to memorable talks. The new “disco” is dedicated to Africa and among its special documentaries is a four minute footage of oldest, ten independent African nations.

Cameroon (1960), Guinea (1958), Ghana (1957), Tunisia (1956), Morocco (1956), Sudan (1956), Libya (1951), Egypt (1922), Liberia (1847) and Ethiopia - most ancient on the motherland.

Peaceful nations are named as Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania – (ranked 55 worldwide – with pictures of mostly Dar es Salaam’s buildings and skyscrapers), Namibia, Ghana, Sierra Leone ( surprisingly ranked 43 – despite having civil disorder not so long ago), Zambia – level 40 globally, Madagascar no 38, Botswana no 28- and finally-Mauritius – which is 23 on the planet. There is a bit of bias on Mauritius. Tourist and major, attractions beamed. Not just skyscrapers in the capital city of Port Louis.

A speech by Ghana President, Nana Akufo- Addo alleges that despite all these years, Africans continue to beg, beg, beg and depend on aid.

Next is Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.

He is addressing an African Development Bank forum.

Posted December 2017. The speech criticises fellow leaders for not sitting down and discussing troubles. They “wait until they are invited overseas.” They are made to sit down and address our problems. That the image we give is “we are not there to solve problems but for a photo opportunity...”

He exemplifies north and south Sudan.

South Sudan wanted independence. They fought to achieve that. And then another war after the feat, occurred.

These issues could have been resolved – by fellow African leaders. But it was not the case.

“...We must take responsibility and accept our failures in dealing with these matters. We should invite each other to tell each other the truth...”

This, he claims, would avoid the catastrophe that has happened in Sudan. And those who suffer in this are mainly poor innocent children, women; even men, he says.