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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Africa needs to calibrate its relationship with China

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By Edrissa Baldeh

For far too long, Africa has been the ball of the political game. For over four hundred years Africa and her people were subjected to degrading treatments by colonialists. They slaughtered our ancestors and butchered anyone resisting their sanguinary missions. In the end they took total control of the cradle of civilization from the pyramids of Giza to Cape Town. Battered and weak, they enslaved us, plundered our wealth, destroyed our heritage, diluted our culture and annihilated our languages. In the end, brave sons and daughters of the land rose up and set us free from the clutches of colonialism.

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However, independence was not the end of slavery for the black African. We transitioned to the different stage. Today I see the African nations’ independence as a way of paving a market for the industrialised world. Our leaders serve as if they were commissioners or “ambassadors” for the colonists. They still dictate our laws, economic and foreign policies.

In some countries, they choose our leaders. They still print our money and dictate their value against their own currencies. I know there are so-called market forces responsible for monetary values, however, it’s just a scam among other factors that keep Africa in poverty. For over half-a-century after independence, Africans are still waiting for the promised future, we remained the symbols of poverty, we get disrespected in airports, in the streets and in all spheres of human life we find ourselves. How sad!
Over a year ago, I was talking to a fellow African on how Africans are discriminated around the world. We agreed that the only way to earn the respect of the world is to develop our countries. This does not mean an excuse for racism against black and African people. However, we must do our best to give our people and upcoming generations good living. Talking about racism against black people, for good reasons, it was widely believed that it existed only in the Western countries. Thanks to social media, hardly a day passes without hearing about racism. Whether it is American police violence or European football fans abusing black footballers or just “normal” racism.

While racism against black people around the world is common knowledge, we were yet to witness modern-day African headhunts like we saw in China. The discrimination against black and African people in China is reminiscent of the stories of post-slavery America or Apartheid South Africa. China has always presented itself in Africa as an alternative to the mutable West. Let’s call a spade a spade. China’s main reasons of success in Africa are two: Money and money. I do not buy into the idea of non-involvement in local politics as reason for their success in the continent. If that was true, France would not be in many Francophone African countries today.

It is important to note that this large-scale state-sponsored racism against black Africans in China did not begin in April 2020. This Covid-19 inspired racism is the result of years of toxic discrimination against black people in China. For many years, I have read and watched stories of black men and women recounting how they were discriminated in China. Such stories make my blood boil. I have to acknowledge, Africa has no true friends, we only have vultures who want to devour our resources at the expense of our people. If China indeed loves Africa and her people, its government will not sit and watch while Africans are being thrown out of their apartments and hotels in wee hours of the nights.

If China is not a fake friend, Africans will not be selectively denied entry into restaurants, supermarkets and other public places. We are aware the culprits are not held liable for their actions which confirmed the state’s culpability. In a country where a single text message could land you in jail or disappeared indefinitely, the silence of the government when racist anti-African and anti-black sentiments were going around Chinese social media says a lot. If this virus was originated in Africa, it would be safe to say no African would have been safe in China today. Thank you, Wuhan.

Meanwhile I would advise the Chinese state to stop its propaganda of aggrandising itself to their people as saviours of Africans. While your efforts are appreciated, we know you gain more in our relationship than we do. Malcolm X said something like respect does not exist to him in America if it was not extended to his fellow black people. If African leaders put themselves in the shoes of their people subjected to these degrading treatments in China,President Buhari, Kagame, Ramaphosa and all other African leaders would have found themselves roaming around the streets of Guangzhou gawking around like homeless pets. The bullying of Africans must stop. We have danced to the tune of foreigners for far too long. If millions of Chinese are living and working in Africa peacefully, why can’t China do the same for Africans? Enough is enough. Africa must calibrate its relationship with China. After these events I am convinced, they are not the best option for us. African leaders must standup to the powerful nations together as a united front. One voice. One Africa.

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