No Strings Attached

No Strings Attached….

The chains of imprisonment fell and in their place cleverly placed strings. Slaves are now puppets. A current state no different from the former. As long as it is a mutually accepted and voluntary relationship, we can turn a blind eye to its savagery. Freedom, self-dependency, autonomy, independence all dubious machinations of an elaborate illusion.  Patronage to neopatrimonialism. Neopatrimonialism the neo-colonisation. The hope of Africa has worn thin, leaving zealous warriors to do the wisest thing left – grab what they can from who they know in their privileged position. For a period it seems ingenious, festive even. Leaders have used the ‘unfortunate’ status of third world nations to further personal ambition, taking its populace from frying pan to fire (I will explain in a few minutes). The wind blows, and into thin air goes billions of state money yearly. With ailing structures of governance, transparency has no place in these nations. In fact we are far led away from the core ethos of pan-Africanism in securing for our selfish gains, resources that are meant to better serve and forward the collective dreams of the hopeful citizens of Africa. Perhaps Scientific can better express my pain.

It hurts to sit and watch the sacrifice of visionaries traded for fleeting ‘riches’ that are in fact liabilities. Liabilities because aid received often dig deeper wedges between us and our goals. Often momentarily injecting the economy with money but the debt afterwards puts us in a worse situation. Loyalties are forged with the exchange of bilateral pleasantries but our resources are. We accepted the new and kicked out the old. We neglected our very culture and blindly built systems developed with no consideration for our environment. Pitcher mentions in Rethinking Patrimonialism and Neopatrimonialism in Africa that our actions a recipe for disaster because ancient practices used the accumulation of wealth by leaders (Kingdoms) as a means of maintaining control of the people being governed. By neglecting the significant role our past plays on our move for contemporary change, sets us in perpetual backwardness. A different mind set has been carried into a different setting that propounds the active participation of the populace (democracy).

It comes as no surprise that many are crossing oceans from Africa to find ‘work’. We are back at square one working for others when we should be managing our affairs freely and independently. Why are people leaving their free countries back into the previously detested slavery? Neopatrimonialism is simply for a few select, leaving the rest suffer bitterly. Libya is among the most recent to lose to the system in question.


In years gone by, men, women and children have risked their lives and left their homes to seek greener pastures in the golden lands of Europe and America. Many are the times that these journeys to a ‘better place’ are unsafe and could possibly lead to serious injuries and even death. Yet, these people take that seemingly unreasonable risk to escape the barren lands of Africa. In a recent news story, roughly 4,700 people were rescued of the coast of Libya as they were trying to get to Europe. It was found out that during this dangerous journey, one woman lost her life in her quest to reach the promised land.


The coast guards that under took the rescue mission reported that twenty rescue missions were coordinated to save over 4,300 migrants that were travelling on non-seaworthy rubber boats and barges. A further 335 migrants were picked up by Greece rescue missions and were directed to Italy to disembark. These rescue missions were the collective efforts of the Italian coastguard and navy, humanitarian agency Doctors without Borders, the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station, a merchant boat, a Croatian vessel under the European Union’s Triton rescue mission and naval ships from Germany and Britain under the EU’s EUNAVFOR Med mission. Now Europe is having a hard time coping with the unwanted migrants as they leave Africa to seek a better life.


Perhaps the new Africa that our independence icons dreamed of was not meant to be. After all we did waltz back into the control of our so called oppressors. From independence, to begging , to selling our loyalties, to losing the pan-African spirit and back into chains and the vessel has been neopatrimonialism by our very selves. No strings attached? They lied.

  • Makafui Amezah and Christian Biassey- Bogart

Link to the news story:

Pitcher, A. & Moran, M. H. & Johnston, M.(2009). Rethinking Patrimonialism and Neopatrimonialism in Africa. African Studies Review 52(1), 125-156. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved September 20, 2015, from Project MUSE database.


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