“…bold to defend forever the cause of freedom and of right…and help us to resist oppressors rule, with all our will and might forever more.” – Ghana National Anthem
There was a time when Africans stood up for what was right, even at the peril of their lives. That was the period before independence when so many Africans felt colonialism was wrong – debasing.
Then there was everything to fight for. Kicking out the colonial master was tough but it was also heroic fun. Nkrumah enjoyed it and he was happy to see the flat backside of the Queen. The likes of Patrice Lumumba were more than delighted to start eating croissant baked by Africans.
But then oppression took another form. The white man was gone and the black man who took charge decided to do worse than the white colonialists. Africans slaughtered Africans. Africans stole from Africans. Africans jailed Africans without any just cause.
Voices of dissent were silenced – sometimes, forever. Africans became afraid. The continent appeared to have suddenly been turned into a poultry farm full of spineless chicken.
For decades, most Africans – perhaps, with the exception of those in South Africa – endured oppression. As they were denied life’s basic necessities, they looked on without so much as a murmur as their national coffers were looted by a greedy, privileged few. “Give it to God,” became a continental mantra.
Then out of the blue, the people of Tunisia decide that they have had enough. Defying blazing guns and brutal kicks, they take to the streets demanding that the oppressor must go. They never gave up until the oppressor took to his heels.
Now, one can’t help but feel that the African might just have rediscovered his spine and will not tolerate oppression any longer. Some of the oppressive leaders are scratching their heads, wondering if their people would turn on them next.
What happened in Tunisia should happen in Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Niger and in practically every African country where politicians and the powerful elite have ridden roughshod over the people for far too long. The people power that chased the colonial oppressor must be reignited. The Tunisians have shown how. Surely, the fire must not be doused.