THE COLONISED AFRICAN MIND
AND ITS IMPACT ON AFRICA’S IDENTITY. — Hilda Kaguma
Africa needs to understand the effects of colonization on its collective psyche and how these effects will continue through generations to come. The process of decolonization should happen through deliberate efforts and understanding. Decolonization is a change that formerly colonized countries go through when they become politically independent from their colonizers.
The effects of Colonisation do not magically disappear after independence. They have an impact that is far and deep-reaching, both culturally and systemically. In order to overcome these effects, the psychological acknowledgment of colonization and its effect need to be formally recognized; the mind has to be decolonized.
Racial inferiority in hotels and many places of services are still evident in countries like Kenya. Just the other day the famous Giraffe Manor was exposed for its racist white/foreigners-only culture. Kenyans time and again have wanted to visit the place and due to the pandemic and the lack of foreign clientele, Giraffe Manor had the audacity to write, “Giraffe Manor is opening just for Kenyans… from June 1’ It took the pandemic for this establishment based in Nairobi Kenya to open up to its locals and that is when Kenyans took to social media to share the awful way they have been dismissed and ignored by the establishment when they wanted to visit. For me the outrage on social media was very revealing, some sided with the establishment saying that a private business has the right to choose who it wants its clientele to be. It was deeply disappointing to see that type of reaction because this is very evidently an act of discrimination. This is also a glaring fact of a colonized mind.
Frank Fanon in his book Black Skin, White Masks said, “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore, and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
Colonization as written in the history books does not in fitting measure paint the enemy that colonizers were and the horrific pain that Africans went through. There is a very shallow way in which history classes are held in most African schools and this is to refuse to paint truth for what it is and therefore avoid the continuing intellectual colonization that needs to be direly addressed — that political independence has not achieved yet.
There was great hope in the 1960s when many African countries became independent that a new dawn of great empowerment had occurred. However, we were left with magnanimous levels of corrupt leadership that heavily emulate the ways of the colonizer, a corrupt legal system largely driven by fanaticism and even mode of dressing by judges in courts.
Sometimes, we hear people say that Africa should be grateful for colonialism as it helped us to advance technologically. This type of thinking continues to propagate the West as the standard of the highest form of civilization while the truth is that the atrocities of slavery and colonialism were a manifestation of some of the greatest savagery evils. In actuality we see that Europe wants(ed) global dominance motivated by economic gain and acquires(ed) it through any means necessary, the end justifying the means.
The world has been defined by Eurocentric standards and values. Values so hard pressed on Africans that we do not know who we were before Europe. Our culture, traditions, social systems, and education were violently erased. The truth is that we may never truly know who we were or even revert back because this is all we know but it is important that we realize what was done to our ancestors and through this gain closure which will empower our intellect to heal and banish the ever so prevalent inferiority complex that is within many of us in many different forms. This way we can build on what we have as we lament on the past and tailor our legal system, government, education system, and every other economic and social item to serve Africa and make it prosper. We must renounce the deceit that colonization was charitable.
The dream for a redeemed Africa is in its values, governments, social structure, culture, economies, and spirituality — even though it sometimes sounds impossible and even ridiculous to state. However, a little bit of hope is necessary and essential because Africans and especially it’s Euro-centric, elitist, corrupt leaders that cannot relate to the common citizen are in a serious identity crisis and if not addressed we may never rise to the decolonized state of mind.
Emancipate your mind oh Africa, dignity is beaconing, redemption is calling