Decolonisation Is a Myth – How Can We Be Reborn?

By Phikolomzi Adonis

THERE are some truths we ought to address without being emotional or delusional about.
The Colonisation and Decolonisation debates have been among those hot potatoes that even water has seemingly failed to quell. Africa is and will remain a colonised continent. Organisations have been formed, movements, even campaigns have emerged under the banner of “decolonisation” claiming all sorts of theories that Africa needs to be decolonised.
Debates have been conducted to argue on the feasibility and practicality of the concept but unfortunately there have been no concrete ideas on what exactly decolonisation will be on a practical level.
The sensationalisation of the concept “decolonisation” has proven to be a political rhetoric, publicity stunt that is mostly used by the people who seem to be advocating for Pan Africanism. Many activists I’ve listened to try to break down the concept but can’t answer some of the questions that arise:
  • Where are we starting and ending to decolonise?
  • How do we decolonise?
  • Do we decolonize some or the whole?

We need practical and feasible steps to these questions.

My views, I have no doubt will among some, be be mistakenly perceived as those of a defender of colonisation, but Im am not. I certainly do not subscribe to the views of Democratic Alliance’s Hellen Zille and her cronies who proudly defend colonisation and once proclaimed publicly that “Not everything was bad about colonisation”. My only counter argument to her remarks is that maybe we would be far better off than what we are had we not been colonised, and that it was a crime against humanity. Stemming from this argument is mh view therefore that as a primary beneficiary of colonisation she should keep quiet and enjoy the fruits of the hard labour of our forefathers and let us blacks, who are victims, to debate and solve what they caused to us.

I challenge all activists advocating for decolonisation to provide concrete evidence-based proposals that suggest how and what a decolonised Africa look like. Perhaps as a starting point, we could look at the foundations of education. Can they bring forth a decolonised curriculum?

African nations had their own societal standards to educate their own people. Natural discoveries, medicines, food production, leadership and many other aspects, one had to learn amongst his or her society that formed what is called a community. African education was centred more on building a Nation through societal participation. At the core are language, culture, traditions that attribute to identity. The undeniable truth is the fact that Europeans in particular, when they invaded Africa, succeeded in breaking the structures of our African values. The traction was purely to loot our natural resources and in the process instil an education system that dehumanised Africans through forceful means of slavery. The tragedy is that we (do you mean today’s generation by we) were never spared, we grew under the system. Whites were our masters and blacks were slaves. Segregation, oppression became our life and we grew admiring whiteness as superior beings. As Franz Fanon puts it his book Black Skin, White Mask.. Black man wishes to be a white man… because whiteness is portrayed as ultimate destiny or an idealist way of life (Paraphrasing). This has resulted in black man’s self hate and self destruction. Our Identities were raped, being smart is defined by how well we speak a European language, wear European clothing, and eat European food.

In the South African context, Black people prefer(ed) previously known model-c schools that were predominantly whites only schools. This is evident enough to show that we conceded to colonisation and made it part of our lives, no amount of political power or rhetoric can reverse such. The system is in us, we are in the system.

In the book of John 3:4 Nicodemus asks Jesus: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”  I have the same question:  How do we ‘unlive’ colonisation? Jesus responded to Nicodemus “Through being born of the spirit and water (Baptism). What is Africa’s Spirt and water rebirth? 

Phikolomzi Adonis is Political Analyst & Author   
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