University of Harare Net,
...Returning Blackamericans brought many things with them, but two of their gifts alone were responsible for most of Africa’s salvation and rebirth.
The first gift that Blackamericans brought was their effete attachment to Western notions of sanitation and public health. Mother Africa horrified them with her casual acceptance of disease and death, her parasites and endemic viruses, her lack of clean-water standards, and above all…her unspeakable toilets.
Imagine a continent whose people are daily robbed of their energy by dysentery, malaria, schistosomiasis, sleeping sickness, AIDS, and a host of other diseases. Imagine a people whose bodies are alive with larvae, worms, fleas, and worse. Imagine malnutrition as a daily companion.
These are the people who managed, in spite of physical degradation that would destroy a lesser folk, to build great Timbuktu and Zimbabwe, Songhai and Goa, Meroë and Jenné. These are the people who conquered a continent, ridden with disadvantages that would make any other people lay down and die.
Now imagine this continent with Western sanitation and medicine. Gengineered viruses to kill off the parasites, water filtration, waste reclamation. Vaccines, antibiotics, bionics, regeneration. Imagine cool, clean water and safe, dependable electricity. Imagine the boundless energy of this people set free, young healthy muscles and minds working together for the betterment of all. Imagine this people possessed of the accumulated knowledge of Humankind, able to avoid the mistakes of earlier cultures. Imagine this knowledge, combined with the virtually-untapped natural resources of Mother Africa and the best technology of the age.
The wonder, my friends, is not how much Africa has accomplished in a few short decades…the wonder is that it took so long.
The second gift Blackamericans brought was more subtle, but just as vital to Africa’s renaissance. This was their matriarchal tradition, sprung from the terrible years of slavery, when Woman was the only link to Family. From the first moment of the Kurudi, the Great Return, Blackwoman came to Africa as the equal partner— some might even say, the superior— of Blackman.
Nowhere was the cultural clash between African and Blackamerican more bitter, than over the place of women in our society. African tradition made her equal to a cow or pig; Blackamerican tradition exalted her as the soul and leader of the family, strong and independent. Blackwoman arrived on African shores confident and capable, and she was not about to take on the subservient role that tribal elders decreed.
In the end, the old ways withered…and well they did! For the job of building Umoja was too great for us to leave out half our strength. The task would take every iota of Man’s determination, every milligram of Woman’s endurance. Every shoulder, every hand, and every brain was needed. United, equal, Man and Woman built together what none could have built alone.
Today, women and men are equal in culture and law across every Umoja client state. Women serve at every level of our society. One of the most revered persons on the continent is a Blackamerican woman who took the name Princess Mahlowi, and who now sits on the throne of the vast Songhay kingdom from which her ancestors were torn half a millennium ago….
copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers
Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna
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