Ghana President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah speaks to reporters at the White House in 1961, six years before the speech excerpted below.
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A recent development in the psychological war is the campaign to convince us that we cannot govern ourselves, that we are unworthy of genuine independence, and that foreign tutelage is the only remedy for our wild, warlike and primitive ways. Imperialism has done its utmost to brainwash Africans into thinking that they need the strait-jackets of colonialism and neocolonialism if they are to be saved from their retrogressive instincts. Such is the age-old racialist justification for the economic exploitation of our continent.
And now, the recent military coups engineered throughout Africa by foreign reactionaries are also being used to corroborate imperialism’s pet theory that the Africans have shamelessly squandered the golden opportunities of independence, and that they have plunged their political kingdoms into blood and barbarism. Therefore the imperialist mission: we must save them anew; and they hail the western-trained and western-bought army puppets as saviours. The press, films and radio are last spreading the myth of post-independence violence and chaos.
Everywhere, the more or less covert implication is: Africa needs to be recolonised. The fact that Africa has advanced politically more quickly than any other continent in the world is ignored. In 1957 when Ghana became independent and the political renaissance began in Africa, there were only eight independent states. Now, in just over ten years, there are over forty and the final liberation of the continent is in sight. Imperialists are not content with trying to convince us that we are politically immature. They are telling us, now that we are realising that armed revolution is the only way to defeat neocolonialism, that we are inherently incapable of fighting a successful revolutionary war.
Today, all of Africa is nominally independent, having in most cases gained this independence by fighting for it. But the continent’s crippling poverty means that its people are not really free of foreign economic subjugation: Banks and other corporate entities, as they do in most impecunious places, have made “investments” in the nations of Africa that bring luxury to neocolonial ruling elites, incalculable wealth to the corporations, and a nightmare of penury, malnutrition, pollution and misery to everyone else.
Meanwhile, unwittingly far more than any African the victims of indoctrination by their ruling elite, people in the West continue to parrot the eternal myth of African incapacity for wise self-rule, taking as a pretext for this dogma the very poverty that Western industry, backed by Western governments, imposes upon and perpetuates among them. And these people then go on to point out, as though the ordinary people of Africa had ever had a voice in the matter, that the nations of Africa are ruled by corrupt elites that don’t care about their citizenry.
I will end with a few words from a Bob Marley song that I remember from my youth:
Until the philosophy that holds one race superior
Everywhere is war. ...