A comparative review of the wealth among Black Americans and their former slave masters is striking: Primary residence - 73% (Whites); 45% (Blacks); Vehicles - 90% (Whites); 73% (Blacks); Retirement accounts - 60% (Whites); (34%); Family-owned business equity - 15% (Whites); 7% (Black); and Publicly-traded stocks - 61% (Whites); 31% (Blacks).
Colonialism had the same deleterious economic impact on Africans; no single country in Africa (a minor variation for South Africa) can be said to be truly developed to the stature of former colonial masters. The same impact slavery had on America; colonialism has had on Africa.
After the abolition of slave trade and slavery, Black-Americans were deemed to have been “emancipated.” Similarly, after Independence, Africans were deemed to have been “liberated.” But what do we now know? Black-Americans are per capita under-developed in comparison to their White counterparts; and African countries are under-developed in comparison to their former colonial formations.
The argument that Independence liberated Africa (Zambia) is not founded. Rather, a form of colonialism still exists in Africa just like a form of economic slavery still persists in North America and Europe.
Covid-19 has been the latest revealer of this dichotomic historical symptomatic disparity. Hard work, diligence, good faith, education and, indeed, mental reformation, are necessary in the true liberation of Africans, but they are not enough.
Until historical – colonial and slavery – indiscretions are revisited, historical inequalities (in trade, business, investments, land ownership, resource availability, and etc.) and some form of colonial/slavery reparations are compensated, Africa (Zambia) will continue to be “developing”, poor, and under-developed, even if it may celebrate 1000 Independences. This Independence (October 24th, 2020), it’s time to begin the real conversation!
By Charles Mwewa
The author is a graduate of the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Guelph-Humber (Canada) in Humanities and Law program, respectively.