Africa and Homosexuality: Who determines the laws to make and who executes the laws that are made??

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A message for both Africa and the West

Why can’t Africa be left alone in establishing and implementing their own policies without the interference of the Western world? Most often, when decisions are made in an African country contrary to Western policies, they end up cautioning the African country to desist from such practices and issue threats like “we will cut relations if you do not concur”. This constant interference has been the source of turmoil in most countries that do otherwise.

Presently, some African countries are facing immense pressure from the West, specifically America, to respect the rights of homosexuals in Africa. Currently, presidents of the Western world have asked African leaders to allow gay rights in their countries or else they would not provide aid. Are we Africans not tired of their threats of losing their aid if we do not comply?  I ask myself why some African leaders have burst out in doing the unknown (which is, not giving a damn about what the western world will do if they refuse gay rights in their country). Are these leaders taking a firm ground because homosexuality is a practice that is frowned upon by most cultures? Or because it has been noted as a punishable offense in most constitutions? Or is it an awakening call for the African leaders to prevent the west from influencing their countries in their decision making?

Answering these question may make us biased in one way or another but our prime focus is the issue of homophobic attacks in some African countries and the bills that have been passed on homosexuals. This thought struck me recently: the issue of curbing homosexuality was not much of a big deal in Africa until the West indicated that African leaders should allow the practice of homosexuality in their countries. Is it that the leaders don’t want their citizens to see them as so fragile in yielding to the Western world’s request? This has resulted in a lot of brutal attacks in countries where homosexuality is explicitly stated to be illegal, like in Nigeria. These people who are accused of being gay and lynched go through these based on mere assumptions and accusations. Even if found guilty, does it mean people can take the law into their hands by killing homosexuals.

The fact that I dress or walk a certain way make me a homosexual? If I share the same apartment with a friend of the same-sex, does that also make me gay? How do you decide that someone is gay if they have not been caught in the act? African laws must address these issues and make provisions so that people do not take the laws into their own hands.

Finally, the Western world especially the United States should understand that “Africa’s destiny is in its own hands”. Obama should pin his ass in Washington and stop disturbing Africa about how we should make our laws. The same way the USA like the guns and can decide to bomb Iraq that is the same way Uganda or Nigeria likes prosecuting homosexuals. Africa must be allowed to make their laws. However, to my fellow African counties if you decide to make it legal or illegal it should not be based on personal views but on what is good for your country.

Blog post By:

Ebenezer Emmanuel Ghunney & Edmund Afeyram Dugbaza

Why America has keen interest in Africa

Africa over the decade have undergone major transformation. The Economist in March 2013 referred to Africa as the “Hopeful Continent” and in 2011 as the “Rising Continent”. These positive reports is due to Africa’s fast growing economies driven by a vibrant private sector, a welcoming business environment, governance and economic management. Africa is increasingly becoming important to the rest of the world, due to the changes that have been effected. Newly economically emerged like China, Iran and Brazil are all investing in Africa either commercially or diplomatically. The sudden interest in Africa is the world’s realization that Africa has much more to offer. America has keen interest in Africa.

The security of Africa is linked to global security. From transnational organized crime, piracy and violent extremist like BokoHaram, al-Shabaab and Ansar Dine threaten human security and ignite communal violence. Ansar al-Sharia’s September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and al Qaeda bombings of US Consulate in Tanzania and Kenya pose a threat to security of the US and its citizens (Shwayder, 2012). The US national security is linked to Africa and since Africa is incapable of maintaining control over it lands the US is keen to ensuring security in Africa so they are not faced with the repelling effects of poor security in the continent (Washington, 2013)

.Image cc: stocklongs.com

China over the years have increasingly become a global player of economic development, politics and security in Africa  and its pursuit is to fuel its domestic economic growth with Africa’s rich natural resources. China’s funding approach based on string attached like human rights, transparency and environmental protection repeals US interest in promoting good governance and democracy in Africa. There is strength in numbers, and China’s presence in Africa has profound geopolitical implications for the US global strategy. With numbers the United States would have political and strategic influence on the globe (Banks, et al., 2013).Image

cc: The in sight newspaper

Today, Africa has the most arable land in the world and it’s positioned to become the World’s largest producer of food. To continuously feed its people America needs Africa to produce food for them. Six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies (according to data from the International Monetary Fund for 2001-2010) are in sub-Saharan Africa, and a middle class of nearly 350 million individuals, rivalling that of China and India, has emerged across the continent. Moreover, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, by 2020 Africa’s consumers—in areas such as financial services, tourism, telecommunications and retail— are projected to contribute more than five times as much revenue to the region’s economic growth as the natural resource sector. (IMF, 2010)

Considering the fact that most countries of Sub-Saharan Africa have energy challenges, a great opportunity is created for the U.S. For instance, the International Energy Agency estimated in 2011 that there are 590 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in the rural areas, who do not have access to electricity. Also, 700 million people were also stated to rely on traditional, non-commercial sources of energy such as biomass for cooking and other activities. In addition, sub-Saharan African countries (with the exception of a few oil producing countries) do not have large domestic energy resources. They therefore import over 65% of the total energy required for various activities.

These problems have been of great interest to the U.S in various aspects. First of all, they are able to satisfy their humanitarian interest by expanding the energy access for hundreds of millions of people in the region. This to them, would lift people out of energy poverty through expansion of economic opportunities as well as creating noble living conditions within the region Secondly, they are able to satisfy their national security interests by trying to solve this problem. Energy poverty is considered one of the major causes of political instability by weakening economic development. To explain further, a joint effort of the Fund for peace and Foreign Policy magazine – the Failed States Index indicates that 15 of the world’s most vulnerable states are in the sub-Saharan Africa, many with electrification rates below 20%.

 This could lead to inadequate job for young people, sowing growing dissatisfaction. The emergence of new oil and gas producers in the region presents potential benefits for U.S. national security interests, if this new-found wealth is managed appropriately. Oil and gas resources not only can provide energy and revenues for local use, but also can help stabilize oil and gas prices by diversifying and enhancing available supplies for regional and global markets. Several countries could also potentially become oil suppliers to the U.S., further diversifying the sources of U.S. imported oil. (Oil and Gas Markets, 2011)

 Also, the energy trends within the sub-Saharan countries offer trade and investment. Opportunities for the U.S. businesses. For instance, in the area of expanding electricity access, there is a large potential market for off-grid and mini-grid decentralized Power solutions, especially in rural sub-Saharan Africa where electrification rates are well below the global average. Energy needs to play a more prominent role in U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. (World Energy Outlook, 2012)

 This enhanced role could be achieved by utilizing and leveraging existing programs and institutions to incorporate more sub-Saharan African countries, and expanding financial resources available to target the energy sector. For instance, The U.S have the chance to operationalize a greater sub-Saharan focus within the department of State’s newly formed Bureau of Energy Resources, created to address three strategic pillars of energy strategy: energy diplomacy, energy transformation and energy poverty.

They can also Support and promote U.S. energy investment, trade and technology and knowledge transfer in the region with a focus on renewable technologies for mini-grid and off-grid solutions, and sustainable oil and gas development, utilizing institutions and programs such as: (a) Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves; (b) Department of State’s Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program; (c) U.S. Trade and Development Agency; (d) U.S. Export-Import Bank, etc. (World Energy Outlook, 2012)

As Senator Coons writes, “Now is the time to invest in economic engagement with Africa.” This implies that the U.S. can’t afford to ignore investment and trade with Africa now that countries like China and India are increasingly investing in African countries. From security, trade and the geopolitical implication of strength in numbers America can’t do without Africa. (Coons, 2013)

Bibliography

Banks, J. P., Ingram, G., Kimenyi, M., Rocker, S., Schneidman, W., Sun, Y., & Warner, L. A. (2013, March). Top Five Reasons Why Africa Should Be a Priority for the United States. Washington: Africa Growth Initiative.

Oil and Gas Markets 2011, International Energy Agency, 240

Shwayder, M. (2012, September 11). US Embassy Attacks And Bombings: A Recent History. Retrieved from International Business Times : http://www.ibtimes.com/us-embassy-attacks-and-bombings-recent-history-782665

Washington, G. (2013, December 1). The War On Terror Spreads to Africa: U.S. Sending Troops to 35 African Nations. Retrieved from Zero Hedge: http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-01-12/war-terror-spreads-africa-us-sending-troops-35-african-nations

World Energy Outlook 2012, International Energy Agency, 532

Post By

Maxwell Kwabena Asare, Ambassador of Eritrea

&

Benjamin Senam Dotse, Ambassador of Liberia

 

Has Religion (Christianity & Islam) helped or cursed Africa?

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Soldiers of Central African Republic (CAR) lynched and killed a suspected rebel in front of several international Journalists, moments after CAR’s new president praises their professionalism. Last March, when the Muslim Leader of the Seleka rebels Michael Djotodia captured Bangui and declared himself President, the Seleka then began attacked Christians across the country and forced President François Bozizé into exile.

When Mr. Djotodia resigned last month, the Christians militias who identified themselves as Anti-Balaka retaliated by killing Muslims at random. The suspected rebel that was lynched was believed to be a supporter of Seleka (Muslim) government. Also, Chad’s largely Muslim contingent has been accused of helping Seleka to massacre Christians.

Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans in the late 19th century, the Central Africans identified themselves as a people inseparable by religion, the only thing that separated them was gender. Presently in the country, 50% are Christians with 15% Muslims and the rest upholding indigenous beliefs. The religious diversity among the people of CAR has led to civil war with 200,000 people internally displaced while another 70,000 have fled to neighboring countries.

There are many religions in Africa with Christianity being the largest religion in Sub-Saharan Africa with 57% of the population. Also, more than one in five Christians in the world live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite religions associated with colonialism, religion (especially Christianity) had immense impact on contemporary Africa. Missionaries built schools where a large majority of the first generation of African leaders were educated. Recently in Africa, conflicts that have bedevilled most African milieus is imputed to religious diversities among citizens not just in CAR. This raises the seminal question “has religion (Christianity &Islam) associated with colonialism helped or cursed Africa after independence?”

Religion has had its positives on the continent mainly in helping to create awareness among oppressed people to become conscious that they are of equal value with their oppressors before God. This idea has inspired many Africans to rise up in defense of their freedom or to liberate themselves.

In spite of religion building the ethics and values of African societies, it has had devastating setbacks on Africa’s development. The present day church and some mosques in Africa have distinctly taken on African forms. Present day religion in Africa has become a form of capitalism. Since the religious system is in the hands of the elites, religion is a major tool that is used to convince the masses that if they obey the state and succumb to its ideas, they would be rewarded in their next life. This is what Karl Marx made in a famous statement that “ religion is the opiate of the people”.Religion (especially Christianity)  is used to explain to the masses that the life that they live might be harsh but if they become persistent they would be rewarded in their next life. Religion in this way is used today as a social hegemonic structure to exploit people. Recently in Africa, Pastors and other members of the clergy use religion to exploit their members in the form of amassing wealth while their members wallow in entrenched poverty.

Today in Africa, it is very common to see Pastors and various leaders of churches living luxuriously while their members continue to live in agony and low living standards. Most churches and mosques preach to their members to see their leaders as gods. In this way, the members of the churches become vulnerable to various exploitations and undue influences. Recently in South Africa, a preacher man made his congregation to eat grass as he explained to them that that is the only way to be closer to God. Duncan Williams in his speech mentioned that he is the most expensive pastor and that he will not show the pastors he trained, the ways to climb the ladder of success as he has attained. Another pastor was arrested for stealing money belonging to the church and he claimed God instructed him to. Other have acquired private jets, built universities among other things all in the name of God. The question when will this stop?

Religion plays a key role in establishing various norms and standards in which a state should operate on. So in a state where religious diversity is not managed appropriately, it engenders confusion. In the case of CAR, religion (Christianity and Islam) was used as a major tool to control the citizens of the state. Since the various leaders were not able to significantly merge the two religious sects, it precipitated turmoil.

Moreover, different religious ideologies have their own distinct view about how or what to worship. Obviously, the political ideologies of Islam and the liberation theologies put religion at the center of their belief system but Islamism proposes a theocracy, and liberal Islam and various liberation theologies tend toward separation of church and state with religion playing the central role of establishing the principles on which the state should operate. Marxism and most anarchists reject religion altogether while still appreciating that it contains valuable ethical principles. Fascism and natural socialism also reject any political influence of religion but they both believe that religion could be co-opted to support their beliefs.

Religion is pertinent in establishing seminal standards in which the state should operate.  Religions have also through education given most people on the African continent a sense of pride and value that the colonial regimes were not interested in creating. As religion develops major standards for the state to depend on religion, should be able to unite countries that divide them. However, in the context of Africa, religion has been a curse after independence. The various states in Africa have failed to manage their regions diversities which has given rise to incessant conflicts and contributed tremendously in retrogressing their developments. Also, religion in Africa today is used as a major exploitative tool by some Pastors and leaders to represses and exploits their fellow men in an attempt to enrich themselves. In our view religion is a curse after independence since it has created a lot of divisions in most African states and moreover providing a major means used by the elites to exploit the masses.

In my honest opinion, I think religions has just brought divisions amongst us. If the hands of time could be turned, I think the religion we should be practicing is L-O-V-E. What a coincidence I am preaching about love just a day after Valentine’s Day. If we had love for each other, I strongly believe the turmoil our neighboring countries are going through would not have begun in the first place. Instead of having huge church buildings that preach about love and don’t even practice them, lets rather practice love as a religion as a way of life.

by Victor Senyo Amegboleza & Albert Mcbell Ninepence

 

White Noses in Black Affairs

Lumumba arrested
Lumumba arrested

First came colonialism, then independence, and now, conflict. At all these stages, there has been some foreign country’s involvement. Since the time of independence, African countries have been involved in the struggle of self-government after colonialism. To make matters worse, the sovereignty which we gained through the bloodshed of ancestors seems to have little recognition by the world’s super powers whose intervention caused a number of conflicts.

Today in Kenya, there seems to have appeared some evidence that USAID  provided funding to opposition supporters to topple Uhuru Kenyatta. To make matters worse, the ICC which for some reason seems to have some beef with African leaders is charging the President with crimes against humanity. Look who is talking about crimes against humanity!

Let’s look back a few years, to an African country, maybe Congo, at the time of independence. Within just twelve weeks of being elected Prime Minister of Congo Republic, Lumumba was totally and brutally removed and wasted (links to blog, watch snippet from movie). A while after that another leader, our very own Nkrumah was overthrown by a coup backed by the CIA (Nkrumah overthrow). Much later came the story of Gaddafi of Libya who was shot by opposition forces with the help of the USA and the French , the same countries that went to Rwanda and observed massacre of Tutsis without intervening since they did not want to meddle in “internal affairs”. Our beef with them is why they keep meddling in the affairs of the sovereign nations of Africa, many times to our detriment. Look at Mobutu Sese Seko whom they backed, he became a dictator par excellence.

Is it for nothing that foreign powers decided to intervene in the countries that they did? There must have been reasons why they entered these countries and acted in their own interest against the sovereignty of these nations. We believe their end game as a capitalist nation is continued access to resources in these countries (uranium, gold, oil etc), access which may be limited by socialism.

Upon a  closer look at all our examples,  leaders who had socialist inclinations were removed from power. The same beef they had with Russia and now China they seemed to have against our leaders. Some of these leaders were also too extreme for their part and their actions created feelings of dissatisfaction in the people which could easily be stirred up and polarize countries, providing the perfect excuse or create an opening for foreign intervention.  Foreign powers used a few of the discontent people (through bribes and promises) to unseat governments.

Why can’t we just say no to them? Maybe we were left in so poor and dependent a state that we cannot fend for ourselves without their aid. Maybe we just need to learn to survive without them. So many conditions are tied in with aid including good governance structures which are presented to us as the ideal form of government. These are actually tools for maintaining control over us. How? With democracy comes legitimate opposition and this presents itself as an opening for foreign funded and backed campaigns to remove government as we see in Kenya. So even the concept of democracy seems like the best but it creates the avenue for opposition to be created. In overthrowing Nkrumah, the CIA used the US embassy as a tool for intervention. In Libya, a French spy was alleged to have shot Gaddafi after penetrating the oppositions forces.

Looking into the future, at Africa in a few decades, are we ever going to be a step ahead? We could create an illusion of an opposition party that actually exists to strengthen the interest of the country, one that cannot be influenced by external layers to incite rebellion.

We need strong leaders who will not be too extreme as to create ill feelings that others will capitalize on. Rather they should drill true patriotism into people and help them see things from a common perspective and let them know that it is what they need to  literally have a united, peaceful Africa

By Kevin Eshun & Kafui Vorgbe

The country of Africa

Africa’s Drinking Problem: Alcoholism on the Rise as Beverage Multinationals Circle
“OMG! Our continent has a drinking problem. All over 50 countries have a drinking problem?”

This is the first question that runs through my head as I read the headline for an article published by the times magazine on 29th August  http://ti.me/1o84Nvn . To further satisfy my curiosity, I go ahead to read the article only to find out that this article is centred on Kenya.

AAAH!!!! When did Kenya become Africa? How similar are Kenyans to the rest of the African continent?

What sort of sample size is this? Tweaaa.

Many westerners perceive our beloved continent (Africa) as a country. This perception for argument’s sake couImageld be rationalised as African unity. This brings to mind some acclaimed bodies like the African Union, the ECOWAS and SADC.

However, Africa as country becomes an issue when only one side of the story is being told. When one country’s downfall is blown out of proportion and this unconsciously affects the other 52 countries.

It is also true that the continent of Africa is home to many of the poorest countries in the world. But there is the other story.  It does have some of the richest nations as well. What happens to the untold story of how rich the African culture is? Rich both in wealth and culture. Take for instance the economic wealth of Seychelles and Botswana  http://bit.ly/1bCCtc7.

It’s high time a conscious effort is made to consider Africa as a continent and not a country. If not for anything, for the differences in our rich cultures, language and religion.

Edwina Dokosi & Harriet Mate-Kole

After independence: the demise of the African.

Periods before independence, much of enthusiasm and real hope characterized the activities of the African, such that, in most cases, they were blinded by the spirit of unity and focus. There was a constant relation between the few elites and the masses. However, just after independence, these young nation states suffered untold violence through military interventions. Thus, in this paper, I would focus on some selected African States, and prove the demise of the African after independence.

For this is the truth, one cannot deny that usually before independence, there arises local political forces (of course, many are political parties).One of such parties was The PartieSolidaireAfricain- which garnered mass support from the rural areas. Particularly, in the 1950s, there was a rather sudden rise of political parties in the D.R. Congo- more than ten of such parties pursuing the quest for independence- led by evolues. These parties restored the lost ‘VOICE’ to the Congolese. Thus, they visualized the future through the creation of institutional representation. Resilience was the spirit of the people; they, however, pursued a nonviolent campaign strategy, and, of course, the followers strongly adhered to that call.

One thing characterized the movement: they were discerning. Typically, persistent and popular protest moved the Belgian government to organize elections in 1959, and the Master’s trick was simple: organize elections to take the relevance from the radicals’ lips by appeasing the people with a moderate puppet government, and erase the calls for independence. Their rule was “Only men can vote”. However, The Parti Solidaire Africain fiercely urged its members and the Congolese people to boycott the elections, by not registering and not participating in the elections. And they succeeded, despite several attempts to arrest leading members, even from other political parties, particularly ABAKO. And results from the elections proved that Congo was ungovernable, and deciding against a bloody and possibly drawn out and politically costly affair to make the Congolese comply, like the war in Algeria, the administration chose to cut the increasingly unprofitable colony, Global Nonviolent Action Database says.

Thus on January 20, 1960, the Belgian administration invited members of 13 different parties- 96 different Congolese- to the month-long Brussels Round Table Talks.  Here, the Congolese reiterated their demand for immediate independence, even though the Belgian government still preferred a process spanning three to four years. Mounting a united front and completely unwilling to back down, the Congolese got their demand granted. What a joy to the broken-hearted! What a joy to the elderly, and the women! At long last the battle had ended, and all the streets were filled with jubilant Africans, hoping that their dignity and identity would translate into prosperity. So it came to happen that June 30 was set for independence, and May was set for the general elections.

Such event was admirable and most welcome, especially considering that the Belgians never prioritized creating adequate elites who could run the country. And this was evident in the bad education policy of not developing the human capital of their colonies, including the Congo. Thus, greater was the efforts of the icons of independence! Yea.

However, after independence, a deeper rift erupted between the leadership and the masses. What changed? The PartieSolidaireAfricain broke along the true disparity of power and influence that existed all along between the elites and the masses and between the different ethnic groups. And the issues at stake stemmed from ideology, power difference, and ethnicity. But why did these differences not linger the struggle for independence? Why could the differing groups cooperate in that elegant style to win power? I assert it is an issue of ‘leadership’!  And so the inevitable doom surfaced…and hence the untold hardship and curse: the military, the Force Publique, rebelled and mutinied against the new government and threw the Congo into complete crisis on every level. Hence the demise of the African!

Today, the Congo has a population of around 65.71 million, with a GDP of, say, $17.20 billion. And 2010 data indicate that inflation is 85.1%.

 Many seek answers to why African leaders sought independence only to slap the hopes and aspirations of their citizenry. Was it an ‘unnoticed blessing’ to have the WHITE rule us? And why did we never realize their ‘usefulness’ until their departure?

In Central African Republic, the political economy and environment were no different. In 1946, Barthelemy Boganda became the first elected representative to the French National Assembly. He later relentlessly pursued a political campaign that won his movement, the Social Evolution Movement of Black Africa, a majority control in the Territorial Assembly, in 1957. And that, indeed, was a splendid achievement, having laid the political foundation to achieve independence. However, in March 1959, Boganda passed away, and David Dacko took over the baton.

Early 1960, Central African Republic gained independence from slavery, hard labor, misery, imperialism and economic hardship. However, in a sharp contrast, David relied heavily on the French for assistance in trade, foreign policy, security and defense, and he deepened nepotism and corruption as he created many offices to reward his supporters. He worsened the plight of the ordinary country man by increasing salaries of his officials, thus draining the national budget. In 1962, he banned all other political parties except the MESAN, the party he inherited from Boganda. The years that followed saw nothing other than unnumbered coup d’etats, lasting till the end of 2013.

How can such disrupted economy ever thrive? Investment, trade and foreign relations got tainted, translating into mass poverty. One cannot fathom how such a rugged economy could inspire confidence and hope and safety. Thus, unless there is peace and tranquility, death shall reign, even over the wealthy, hence the demise of the second African.

My conclusion on the uprisings in most African countries including Ghana, is that, after independence, the leadership lacked pragmatism and cooperation between themselves and the masses, not forgetting the opposition who altogether helped fight colonialism. Hence the unrest! If pragmatism and cooperation defined the vision of the new African leaders, Africa would have thrived in prosperity and stability.

 THE AFTERMATH OF SUCH BLISTERING DAMAGE, TO A LARGE EXTENT, AFFECTED OUR CONSCIENCISM: THUS,

 

Africa: racism & skin bleaching

It is estimated that approximately 100 million women across Africa have either bleached their skins or at least have considered the idea of “skin toning” in the course of their lifetime.

 It may come as no surprise that the West African region records the highest prevalence rates of  77%(Nigerian women) with their Togolese, Ghanaian and Ivorian counterparts following closely. According to WHO, the manufacture of skin bleaching agents is now a$10 billion industry. Why is this the case and why has the practice of skin bleaching gained popularity among Africans since the 1950’s when skin lightening products were introduced onto the African scene? It is my personal belief that the colonial mindset may have contributed to the lighter skin craze to some extent, but it cannot be blamed entirely for the disturbing degrees of self-loathing exhibited by Africans and people of African descent. The “light skin” epidemic transcends black women of all socio-economic classes, from American celebrities like Nicki Minaj, to the Nigerian billionaire tycoon down to the homeless kayayoo at the Makola market. Personally, it makes me sick to hear black people complaining bitterly about racism and how non-black people look down upon them. I believe that racist white people are justified to an extent in thinking that black people are inferior to all other races.If not, why is it considered an achievement when a black person marries a white person? Why would a Ghanaian mother bleach her day-old baby’s skin just to elicit pleasant comments of “obroniba” from visitors? Why would most African cultures charge brideprice according to the shade of the bride’s skin? Why do some black men purchase skin lightening creams for their women, and, finally, why do black girls mostly edit their pictures to assume lighter skins? The general idea that the lighter a woman’s skin the more beautiful she is, has impacted the African psyche so much so that respectable Nigerian banks formulated a marketing strategy in 2011 that included hiring only light skinned women as bank tellers  to attract more business. Guess what? The customer base of these banks did swell considerably as was predicted! For a continent that struggles to feed its citizens, importing billions of dollars’ worth of bleaching creams clearly shows what the African’s priorities are.

Gone are the days when the African had his own standard of beauty which included ringed neck(Akan),long neck and limbs(Masaai), full figure and round face, to name a few. In today’s Africa, the ideal image of a beautiful woman is a light-skinned one who is slim even among the highly educated who can list a thousand and one reasons why one should not bleach her skin. Nowadays, educated Africans say that their desire to have a partner with light skin is simply a preference and not proof of the fact that they consider dark skinned Africans as ugly. I challenge anyone who believes otherwise to conduct an experiment by just observing the trends on television, in workplaces, schools etc. I personally believe that no African girl is born feeling inferior to anyone because her skin is dark, but as she grows and observes the preferential treatment society, especially school teachers, give to white and mixed race students or their friends with lighter skin, feelings of inferiority set in and by the time they are old enough to afford bleaching agents, the time is ripe to join the “beautiful ones”.  It is a huge advantage to have light skin in Africa because it comes with lots of privileges (see Oprah’s student selection scandal in S.A).

 To conclude, it is my opinion that the abstract concept of “A unique African identity that Africans are so proud of”, only surfaces in the presence of non-Africans and during intellectual discourse. We can do way better to heal our psyches from the damaging effects of Africans discriminating against fellow Africans because of their skin colour.

THIS BLOGPOST WAS AUTHORED BY:

FELICIA AKYAA OWUSU, AMBASSADOR TO TANZANIA, AND

SHEDRACH AKESSE GYENI, AMBASSADOR TO THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC