COVID-19 has redefined the world and the way humans variably address and problematize issues. The world has started to wonder what will befall Africa. That’s precisely because almost everything evil – name it – Ebola, HIV Aids (whose first victims were gays in Los Angeles and New York), has been associated with Africa. For those who bother to remember, Africa survived the 2007 credit crunch. Will Africa miraculously survive again?
Some conspiracy theories allege that COVID-19 was created to control human population while others claim it came after some virus aimed at creating biological weapons got out of control. There is also an assumption that COVID-19 kills senior citizens more.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has taught us the way human beings react to threats and vulnerability. Whereas the West is informed by science in its efforts to mitigate the spread of the contagion, some African countries and Africans have pinned their hope on unconventional methods. Two of such methods are invocations and deception.
Many people still think that prayers can protect them from contracting the virus. One may wonder how sane people can defy logic by depending on prayers whose efficacy isn’t guaranteed. Whereas Israelites no longer pray for manna from heaven, poor Africans still do this at their Peril. That’s because Africans took everything colonial agents dubiously and maliciously inculcated in them. Burundians, for example, refused to embark on any social distancing or lockdown as many countries did simply because the authorities believe Burundians are protected by God against COVID-19. If you ask for proof on how they are protected, you won’t get any reasonable answer.
Apart from quacks in the name of God, other quacks are now duping ignorant masses that God enabled them to discover the cure for COVID-19 by simply dreaming or praying for water and herbs. Such criminals are making a killing without underscoring the fact that their greed and myopia can result into spreading the pandemic even more. Ironically, some countries aren’t even taking actions against such criminals!
In 2010, scholars Lugo and Cooperman conducted research to interrogate the centrality of religion among nations of the world. They found that Africans put more faith in religion. In this research, Senegal led with 98% compared with Italy––where the Roman Catholicism originated with just 24%–– or Saudi Arabia where Islam originated without even providing its data. If it were an exam, when it comes to the importance of religion, Africa would generally score a B average while Europe would generally score an F grade by average. If you want to see how religion has nothing to do with human development flip the data and compared the units of analysis in economic or human development. It is obvious that Africa will score lower than anybody. While Africa is fully entrenched in believing in religion as its means of addressing its problems, others believe in science. Non converts such as the Chinese, Japanese and part of Koreans and Indians have a big stake in economic development than converted Africa and Central and South America.
To deal with COVID-19, we need to face the truth that if we don’t change, we’ll perish not just because God wants us to perish but because we’ve refused to use our heads. Authorities shouldn’t encourage or tolerate backward and mummified thinking simply because they want political mileage. Such a lie will lead to disastrous ends not only for hoodwinked illiterates but also those who cheat them. There are no miracles when it comes to dealing with COVID-19 but only facing the reality that science still has a lot to offer up until now. God gave us brains to think. This applies to all including those who propose the injection of disinfectants in our bodies to cleanse them.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.