By Artwell Nhemachena
IN a world that is full of fakeness, deception and mendacity, Africans, Zimbabweans included, must always be scrutinous to ensure that they do not buy fakeness for reality.
The disappointment cycles which generations of Africans, in different countries, have experienced do not mean that Africans are incapable of democratic practices, but they imply that Africans have not scrutinised whether the democracy that they are ordered to practice isn’t fake democracy.
When a bus that one is driving fails to reach its destination, the fault isn’t always that of the driver: the bus itself may be fake because those who manufactured it care more about its form than its quality and performance.
The fact that the so-called liberal democracy is failing to return ownership and control of material resources to Africans across the entire continent means that it is the bus itself that is fake, and not the individual African drivers.
I know that some Zimbabweans have, for long, derided Chinese commodities as fake or, as they call it, ‘zhing zhong’.
But it is very unfair to only exercise such derisive scrutiny when buying Chinese commodities. There is bountiful fakeness in other parts of the world as well, for which Africans often pay very high prices.
To learn about the fakeness of humanitarianism, it is necessary to draw lessons from Cecil John Rhodes, as we did in my previous article.
After deposing King Lobengula, Rhodes decided to provide humanitarian aid to Lobengula’s sons, taking them to Cape Town and providing them with education.
De facto, Rhodes arrogated fatherhood over Lobengula’s sons to himself. Effectively, Rhodes became a fake father and Lobengula’s sons became Rhodes’ fake sons, but fake sons, as they had become, were not allowed by Rhodes who had become their fake father, to claim their kingship.
In other words, while King Lobengula would have allowed and, indeed, expected his sons to become kings, Rhodes, the fake father, would not entertain the idea of his fake sons becoming kings.
Put in other words, the fake father gave the fake sons as much humanitarian aid as he could but he would not allow the fake sons to succeed their real father as kings.
The attitude of Rhodes to Lobengula’s sons is clearly explicated by Maylam who writes thus:
“Rhodes’ admirers often pointed to the way in which he took Lobengula’s sons into his care after the 1893 war as an illustration of his colour-blind generosity. But again revelations of how he treated the sons later came to light…when one of Lobengula’s sons asked Rhodes if he could go with him on a visit to Rhodesia. Rhodes replied, ‘Now, if you come up with me, I must have no nonsense about your being a king. You will have to wash plates and clean my boots. You understand?”
The point in the quotation is that a fake parent may give an African humanitarian aid but he/she will not allow the African to claim his/her heritage.
A fake parent will give African humanitarian aid and expect the African to only wash plates and clean the fake parent’s boots.
In fact, Rhodes took Lobengula’s sons away from Bulawayo to Cape Town because he wanted them to forget about their kingdom and to not seek to inherit that kingdom.
The humanitarianism which Rhodes extended to Lobengula’s sons was an instrument to turn them into servants, to make them believe that someone was taking care of their needs and so it was no longer necessary to fight to inherit their kingdom.
Because some Africans have, since the colonial era, become fake children of some fake parents who continue not only to patronise them but to expect them to only wash dishes and clean the fake parents’ boots, some Africans have lost their kingdoms and queendoms – and they no longer seek to inherit them.
Even when some Africans assume positions in Africa, they continue to receive instructions from the fake parents who do not tire of patronising them.
Africans may also trade fake spouses and fake partners in a world that is already mass-producing silicon-bodied humanoid sex robots that are replacing real husbands and real wives.
In other words, the world is now full of fake partners, fake spouses, fake parents, fake marriages, fake families, fake food and fake medicines, all of which provide a fake sense of security and fake sense of freedom on the continent of Africa.
In this regard, some Africans often trade fake fathers in a world where former colonial masters still want to pratronise the Africans, much as the colonial ‘fathers’, popularly known as mafata in Zimbabwe, sought to supplant real African fathers, and mothers.
The point I am making here is that when colonialists posed as fathers or mafata for Africans, their intention was to instill into Africans the psychology of fake parenthood so that the fake parents, in the order of mafata, would begin to assume ownership and control over Africans resources. Indeed, Rhodes became a fake father, like the rest of colonial mafata, to Lobengula’s sons.
In the context of fake freedom and fake democracy, African people are being persuaded and forced to focus on negligible issues in their lives while the imperialists focus on matters that are more consequential and substantial, including ownership of resources.
The African people are forced to focus primarily or entirely on matters of sexuality and sexual orientation while the imperialists focus on ownership and control of natural resources within the neo-colonised territories.
In this way, the attention of the neo-colonised Africans is conveniently diverted to matters of sexuality while the imperialists grab the natural resources belonging to the neo-colonised Africans.
Remember that Western transnational corporations are currently grabbing African land in the ongoing second scramble for Africa.
Thus, matters of sexual orientations, including queer, homosexual and LGBTQ sexuality, are currently hot in African countries, including Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya where it is criminal to be homosexual or where LGBTQ has been criminalised.
Responding to the criminalisation of LGBTQ, the US, Europe and the UN are condemning and threatening with sanctions, African legislatures for overwhelmingly voting for criminalising, and for not legalising, the sexual orientation of queers.
Besides, the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine is partly about defending Russian culture from Western forces that are forcing Russians to adopt LGBTQ or homosexuality: President Vladimir Putin is arguing that LGBTQ or homosexual rights erode original, traditional and authentic Russian culture — this is why LGBTQ is criminalised in Russia.
I want to argue here that Africans do not only have sexual orientations but they also have what I call land orientations.
Therefore, the US, Europe and the UN must not only focus on condemning Africans who criminalise sexual orientations; they must also condemn and sanction those who prevent and prohibit Africans from exercising and practising their land orientations.
It does not make sense to grant Africans freedom of sexual orientation but prohibit the same Africans from exercising their freedom to recover land that was stolen during colonialism.
So, I juxtapose sexual orientations to land orientations among Africans and ask the question why Africans are being coerced by the US, Europe and the UN to take one and not the other of the orientations.
In Europe and the US, they do not only exercise their sexual orientations but they also exercise their land orientations in the sense that Europeans, for instance, own and control their land.
Yet Africans are coerced to only exercise sexual orientation even as African legislators vote overwhelmingly against the LGBTQ, or homosexual, sexualities.
Liberal democracy gives Africans rights to sexual orientation to practise homosexuality while the fake parents are busy ploughing African land, mining and extracting resources from the continent.
Liberal democracy without African ownership and control over African resources is fake. ss vsBeware of it. And beware of fake parents who provide humanitarian aid while culturing Africans to become boot-cleaners.
Becoming recipients of humanitarian aid is itself a sanction in the sense that such African recipients are thereby prohibited from assuming ownership and control over their natural resources.
They receive humanitarian aid but they are not allowed to inherit their kingdoms and queendoms.
Elections in Africa must distinguish between real democracy and fake democracy, otherwise Africans will continue suffering disappointment cycles that deny them ownership and control over their resources.
Artwell Nhemachena is a visiting Associate Professor at Kobe University, Research Fellow at the University of South Africa and Lecturer at the University of Namibia.