Turning the tables on the West: STATE OF THE AFRICAN NATION, Part 6
We are reaching the point that analyses why the African nation is in crisis. We traced the journey through 7,000 years of civilisation in pre-colonial Africa—a continent made up of 10,000 nations ranging from hunter-gatherers to empires. Europe began global invasions in the 1400s and in 500 years wiped out over 300 million people and stole trillions of dollars of wealth.
For Africans, over 20 million crossed the Middle Passage through a process called plantation slavery, meant to remove tribal destiny and remake them into slaves of the West. Africans resisted by retaining identity and humanity—and fighting back in some of the most heroic revolts and revolutions known to man.
On the African continent, Europe slaughtered until nearly the whole continent was occupied—and then they carved it up. It is the single most important piece of real estate in the world. Nearly every item in modern Western civilisation can trace some of its raw materials to Africa.
The system to hold stolen Western wealth in place was “Apartheid”—a system of white people over brown people over black people. This was officially integrated into Western legal, social, educational, religious and economic systems all over the planet since the 1500s. This system remained in place until the 1960s for most of the world until it was toppled by independence, civil rights, youth and anti-imperial movements. It persisted legally in South Africa until the 1990s.
The period 1830-1930 marked a remarkable age of African progress. Thousands of geniuses and pioneers emerged in every field to integrate the West—despite constant threats of murder and sanction. The race attempted to use education and trades to raise itself. By the 1930s, most Western institutions had been challenged by African genius.
The importance of African people is that it is they who fought and dismantled the Western machine and its ideas from inside. Jack Johnson, Dr James McCune Smith, Major Marshall Taylor, Macon Allen, Jackie Robinson, Buzz Butler, Ralph Bunche, Jesse Owens, Frederick Douglass, MZumbo Lazare, Bessie Coleman, JJ Thomas, Frank Worrell, Matthew Henson, Vivien Thomas and thousands of others were not just geniuses in their fields—they were missiles destroying cities’ worth of inhuman Western intention. They opened up the racist West to the world. The 1930s was also the period of the two World Wars and transition from British to American Empire.
The period 1930 to 1970 for Africans was the period of mass organisation and cultural revolutions which transformed and humanised the world. The 20th century was a period of African-led cultural golden ages—of jazz, pop, rock and hip-hop; of pan, mas, and calypso; of samba, mambo and Latin rhythms; of reggae and dancehall; of hi-life.
These ages completely transformed the nations they emerged from and the world. Writer Tony Hall says these were not just forms of music, but “ways of seeing”. In this way, Africa began to “reverse colonise” the West! Each movement waged social war to happen and changed social and cultural systems completely—unleashing completely new inclusive, integrative, humane modes of interaction, transforming systems that were exclusive, hierarchical and tyrannical.
They changed the possibilities of social mobility and created multi-billion-dollar human industries where none existed before. They created a new demand for humanity, peace, joy, communion, leisure, love, music and transcendence in the West that did not exist before. This is the African Revolution! Its victory is the popular cultural and social life of the planet…
Accompanying these golden ages was the creation of African mass organisations in the West not seen before—from Garvey’s global United Negro Improvement Association which had over two million members, to civil rights movements, trade unions, Pan-African movements and independence movements. They would even inspire young Gandhi in South Africa. These movements collectively inspired the fall of official global apartheid in the 1960s—from worldwide independence movements sweeping Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, to youth movements in the US liberated by the beat of African music. The democratic inclusive civil rights architecture of the world is an African-led creation.
Ironically, the 1970s marks the beginning of African decline—and this is what concerns us. How did this happen? Having taken the fight to the West for a century internally and producing legions of genius thinkers, scientists, businessmen, politicians, sportsmen, and artists that changed the course of the world, one thinks that the collapse of apartheid would result in an Age of African Advancement.
The reasons for the African decline will be explored in the next article. They include: the West’s ruthless backlash against African gains—marked by the assassination of African leadership worldwide which dismantled organisations. African people and movements also relaxed, believing the end of legal discrimination would open opportunities for them. This did not happen. Many African institutions that existed because the community was on war-footing collapsed as people abandoned them to try and enter mainstream white institutions. Also the old apartheid elites still existed—but now those elites conducted agendas undercover internationally. These and more will be explored.