Eewa! – Colour of My Skin


Emma Kakololo

Sometimes it’s better to just sHut uPP!!!! And listen to yourself, that little voice in our head that we all take for granted. If you don’t know what I am talking about, I’m referring to our sub-conscience. We all have it, but it’s something that some of our African leaders have austerely ignored to date. I doubt even if some of them are aware of this little voice.

They say the softest pillow is a clear conscience – the one thing we all need and desire is to have peace of mind. This is what you get when you obey your little voice: self-content and a good night’s sleep without qualms.

Not long ago, I spent night upon night tossing and turning in my bed for not being able to sleep. I swear this has nothing to do with my conscience as I have promised myself to befriend my sub-conscience. I realised that when I’m in trouble it’s not only me who gets burnt – but both of us, me and myself, so I always strive to listen to me, this way I’m being myself.

However, the trouble I was in a couple of months ago was not caused by me, but rather someone else. I really blame some of our African leaders for what some of us black students must endure during our studies abroad: becoming subjects of race-based bigotry. This is what caused me to have sleepless nights during my 14 months abroad – the mere fact that my intellect was being judged based on the amount of melanin in my skin. Why should people think that because they are white they are clever and if the other person is black then they are dumb?

Like I said, the only postulation I could make out of this is that some of our African leaders are also to be blamed for why people from the West have such preconceived ideas about us. This is because most of them have been used by the West even to such an extent as to kill their own blood. This is something that someone with a brain would not dare do, not to mention someone with a conscience. History is there to prove it.

For example, in 1960 when Africa’s first elected president, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana decided to market his country’s diamonds independently and bring development to his country, he was deposed in a coup. Similarly, when Prime Minister Lumumba – the first elected leader in the Congo – said in 1960 that he wanted to use his country’s diamonds for his country’s development, he was executed by his fellow Africans with the assistance of the CIA and Belgian Intelligence: his replacement, the corrupt dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, was funded by a secret diamond deal.

The same Mobutu also was used to bring suffering in Angola. The 27-year Angolan civil war was generally considered the largest Cold War conflict on the African continent and resulted in the deaths of over half a million people, some 86 000 maimed by land mines and tens of thousands displaced.

It is obvious that the United States of America’s links with the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) were amongst others because of Mobutu’s good relations with the US. Related by marriage, Mobutu and Holden Roberto, former FNLA leader, had a close political relationship and Zaire was the principal channel for US covert involvement in Angola in 1975. Although it is believed that diamonds have been the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA)’s lifeblood since the late 1970s, it also received international funding, especially from the US. In 1988, Savimbi received US$30 million support from the US. Therefore it is no doubt that our intellect is judged according to the colour of our skin, because of our leaders… Eewa!


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