It is a fact that slavery started from time immemorial. Very often, prisoners of war were converted to work as free labour by their conquerors. The quest for cheap labour then moved beyond the war victims boundaries into a commercialised trade where humans were sold for profit. From the 14th Century onwards, “discoveries” of “new territories” by mostly European explorers gave rise to an explosion of empire expansions, igniting a rush to colonise the newly discovered lands by the stronger nations. This also gave an impetus to the urgent need for extra labour to work on these colonised lands. Consequently, there was a boom in the slave trade in order to satisfy the new market.
Humans began to hunt down other humans to capture them and sell them as free labour. Unfortunately, Africa bore the brunt of this practice as it became the slave hunting ground.
Sundayword BY PROSPER TINGINI
For over 400 years, the black-skinned people of African origin were hunted down like animals, chained and yoked together like cattle and marched to the coastlines to be shipped across into the foreign lands. Their suffering was ignored since they were considered as less human. Human atrocities far beyond any imagination were perpetrated in pursuit of this trade. Tears often build up in my eyes whenever I see actual pictures of these tormented humans locked and bound together in chains, toiling on land or in ships transporting them abroad during that period. The brutality was beyond any measure of human conscience, and devoid of any compassion completely by the perpetrators.
Hundreds of years of sustained enslavement could have psychologically created some kind of acceptance across generations, of those in slavery. Some kind of generic pattern would emerge to give an implanted notion that one colour of people was superior to the other. Slave labour was predominately black, both in the new colonies and the African continent after the “Scramble for Africa”. The subdued Africans in colonised Africa were also treated as sub-humans. An aura of black-servant and white-master situation arose in the minds of both. The human genes across the two human divides could likely have evolved to create the impression in people’s minds that white was superior to black. Good things were painted as white and bad things reflected as black.
Why is it that even today Africa and its people continue to look to the West or to the East for its salvation? Africa is indeed the richest continent in terms of mineral wealth. Africa is also endowed with a rich heritage of many other natural resources, like climate, wildlife, etc. Countries like our own, Zimbabwe, have a highly educated population, but cannot seemingly harness all these abundant resources at their disposal without rushing to beg for “white” aid. It is as if without the “white” assistance, Africa cannot stand on its own. Is Africa suffering from the “black” subservient syndrome in which it can only prosper through the “white masters”? If Africa could only start to pull together as one and start to look for prosperity from within itself, without focusing entirely on “white” salvation for self-sustenance, then Africa will rise. The slave mentality has itself enslaved us to such an extent that we think we cannot function without the foreign aid from the “white masters”.
Africa is now saddled with huge external debts crippling the economies. In Zimbabwe, for example, there are lots of varied minerals which would make it one of the richest small countries in the world. It also has a highly productive agricultural sector, not to mention the tourist attractions and other numerous natural resources. To top it up, the country has probably the highest literacy rate in the whole of Africa, yet its people continue to languish in poverty. Its leaders continue to mortgage our minerals with foreign “white” aid with lots of conditions attached to it, without much effort on utilising the numerous resources at their disposal, ie, from within. The Biblical small David slew the giant Goliath with just the basics at his disposal and succeeded. He even discarded any assistance thrown in his way. The only power he needed was that from God.
Likewise, let us be our own masters and erase this servant/master dependency syndrome. Rather let us wake up from our slumber and use the God-given resources to rise up from the ashes. Let us learn from our own artisanal miners who are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy with very little foreign help. Let us spread that self-sustaining mentality to all sectors of the economy by setting up “command structures” in each of them, supported by local inputs and support. Let us pray to the Lord our God for a change of fortunes and a change of mindsets. Let us pray to have good financial planners to manage our economies well.
As a child I was also witness to the mentality where white people considered themselves as superior to the black race. Blacks likewise considered themselves as an inferior race and would always want to rely on whites for survival. They would at all times strive to work in white people’s houses, farms, shops, mines etc, as common labourers or servants.
Their treatment was akin to that of slaves. Even the school education curriculum was just geared to produce workers (ie, servants) at the end of it all. Parents sent children to school so that they could end up working in white-owned companies or the white-owned governments of the day. The focus was on going to school so as to get a good job, and not to own companies. We were schooled to be white people’s workers or servants and not to be our own masters. The white supremacy syndrome was thereby implanted in our education system to perpetuate the servant/master mentality. It is gratifying to note that there is now a shift in our education system to correct this worker mentality, so that we can produce our own “black masters” who can in turn set up their own businesses, zooming up our own industries and exports, thus also creating employment.
The second book of Moses, Exodus, has a classic example of how people’s minds remain entrapped in a mental state of perpetual slavery. When God rescued the Israelites from slavery, He directed them on a journey to Canaan, a land “flowing with milk and honey”. On numerous occasions during the walk to the land of prosperity, and whenever they encountered any problems, they would castigate Moses and God for taking them out of Egypt. They would wail out loudly that they preferred to have remained in slavery where their masters would have provided them with all their daily food and drink than the temporary few shortages they encountered on the outward journey. To them, slavery had become a normal part of their lives and they had become comfortable with it. Let’s also move out of this slave mentality.
God bless Africa
Prosper Tingini is the assembly president of the newly established and registered Children of God Missionary Assembly. As an interdenominational body I invite all who wish to undertake bible studies with a view to be certified as Ministers of Religion to contact on 0771 260 195 either by voice, SMS or WhatsApp. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org