Africa Is Not For Sale
Artwork by Donovan Nelson
What is left of Africa that has not yet been sold by our governments to the highest bidder?
Africa is often referred to by foreign investors as “the land of opportunity” but how many poverty stricken Africans feel the same way? What opportunities are there to make a living, receive an education or fund a business idea? There are less than 5% of Black South Africans who make up the ‘Black middle class’ in a country where Black people are an 80% majority of the population.
In South Africa land ownership and income inequality remain highly emotive subjects more than 20 years after the end of apartheid in a country with more than 27% of the population are unemployed. According to a 2017 South African government land audit: 72% of agricultural land is owned by White people in South Africa who make up approximately 10% of the population.
What exactly are the opportunities that lie here?
In recent weeks there has been a steady influx of news regarding threats to sacred ancestral lands at risk of ruin to corporate and commercial interests outside of Africa. The Maasai of Tanzania have been at threat of eviction from their ancestral lands according to a petition by Avaaz that has already garnered over 7 million signatures. The Osun river in Nigeria has been contaminated by lead due to a foreign mining company drilling for gold in the surrounding sacred lands and most recently a big retail corporation has set its sights on building their headquarters in sacred Khoisan ancestral lands in South Africa.
The residents of Xolobeni, a farming community in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, have been engaged in a five year long legal battle to stop the commencement of a 22km mining project of an Australian-based company to mine the mineral rich sands of their ancestral lands. The rights to commence with mining in the area were granted by the government without consulting and obtaining the consent of the community.
The God of the modern world is money so governments themselves have to obey this false deity including ordinary people like me and you. There is little regard for preserving ancestral lands; the earth and indigenous practices because the primary focus is creating more profits. But to what end? What will be left of our continent for future generations if everything is completely sucked dry and ruined?
Let’s peer into the near future.
With all the promises of development, wealth and jobs from global and foreign investment, it's important for Africans to first understand how we are being positioned and perceived. Are we on the menu or are we eating at the table?
Foreign investors look for opportunities to solve their own problems. Where are the Africans looking to solve African problems? We can point fingers as much as we want at governments who comfortably get wealthy off appeasing foreign investors, who have no regard for the preservation of Africa and its people. However, what can we do as the people and as the majority?
If we look at the aforementioned threats of contamination of the Osun river and evictions from ancestral land, do you not believe that we run the risk of experiencing even deeper levels of poverty in Africa while others gain major profits at the expense of our exploitation? What does Africa look like 100 years from now when there is nothing left to mine, when rivers are drained or contaminated and when corporations have moved on and left our countries desolate?
What percentage of the African middle class and upper echelon actually reinvest into the poorer communities through the education received and skills acquired through Western academic and work institutions? As long as they live in their fancy homes and high walls - there is little to no interest because academic institutions teach minds to solve Western problems and to assimilate to Western standards of work and living. So we are sitting with governments who could care less about preserving Africa, and we have a Black middle class whose primary goal is to succumb to Westernization. Can you see how Africa has no future?
Africans for Africa
Why should you as an intelligent and capable African take on the responsibility of solving Africa’s problems? I have no profound answer to this question except to say that is your culture. We have depended on historically racist systems of education to teach and give us skills to ‘survive’ in the modern world, but how effective are they really if the majority of our countries are still living destitute?
When you look at the Black or African people who could be considered as being rich or wealthy, they are a small percentage of the general composition of the population or community. The majority of African and Black people are struggling; half of our children grow up in poverty; most of our single-parent African mothers can barely make ends meet even with a growing rate of Black and African women who are obtaining their tertiary education qualifications. So simply put, Black people are suffering despite the media or television projection of success.
Yes, as Africans we are more educated than ever before in terms of Western ideals of education. We have the Diplomas, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorates but that education has not taken place or translated alongside an increase in wealth acquisition for Black and African people. We’re smarter but we still don’t own anything sustainable or of substantial importance.
We must reframe our minds to understand that there is no African emancipation or African economic expansion without African ancestral knowledge and healing. It is through reclaiming and then preserving our ancestral teachings on values, family, wealth creation and spiritual practice that will inform how we rebuild our broken continent using structures and systems that benefit us and provide African solutions to African problems.
The scramble for Africa is happening right before our eyes and we are too busy trying to adapt to a system founded on our very destruction to act against it. We have tried the ways of the West under promise of success and self-improvement and it has resulted in further destruction. We have nothing left to lose. I dream of a day where Africans awaken and say that our lands, our resources and our bodies are not for sale, what about you?
How To Support:
For the Maasai of Tanzania if interested the petition is here:
For the Osun River if you’re interested here is the petition:
Khoisan South Africa
Development on sacred lands has halted at the moment.
Read full story here:
Xolobeni case back story and most recent court judgment here: