In the famous words of Frans Fanon “the gravest threat to Africa’s future is not colonialism but the ‘great appetites’ of post-colonial elites, and their ‘absence of ideology’”.
History has shown us that over time liberation movements across the world end up being irrelevant and in the process lose the hearts and minds of those it liberated. The political shift from liberation politics to that of governing has been detrimental and has caused major harm to the people of Africa. This shift has caused, in many instances, former liberation movements to behave just like their oppressors did, especially towards their own citizens.
It pains me as a young Africanist to see how Zanu-PF for example, a party with such a rich liberation history and a party which one grew up idolising because of its history, embarks on a killing spree of its own children. It’s inconsolable to see how a party that once lived in the hearts and souls of not only Zimbabwean people, but of many Africanists, could contribute to the pain and suffering of my fellow brothers and sisters.
These former liberation movements suffer from a false sense of entitlement – that because they are liberators, people should not question or go against them. It’s an entitlement which leaves them believing incorrectly that African people owe them for their freedom while forgetting that people actually liberate themselves.
It’s no lie that this beautiful continent which gave birth to civilisation has endured much pain and suffering. It’s no lie that colonialism has greatly contributed to the underdevelopment of this beautiful land. It’s also not a lie that many of our liberation movements that get elected into government by their citizens, end up perpetuating the very same struggles that they fought against colonialists
I will truly never understand how people who grew up fighting the injustices of colonialism and oppression, who know the pain and suffering of their fellow people, could one day be the ones inflicting such suffering and pain.
The “great appetites of post-colonial elites” has contributed enormously to the continuous agony of the people of Africa. While our leaders and their families go on shopping sprees, our people seek economic activity. While they seek medical assistance across the globe, our people are subjected to a medical system that lacks basic infrastructure and resources.
Former liberation movements and their leaders need to start thinking critically about their choices and plans. And they should start by asking themselves one question: “How will our actions/plans contribute to making Africa better?”
Ultimately, we as residents of this continent have to ask: “Do we now need liberation from former liberation movements?” DM
Modibe Modiba is an Africanist, a writer, a current affairs junkie as well as a student at The University of South Africa studying towards a BA International Relations degree.