Which African ‘will change the course of history’?
I READ Zwelinzima Vavi’s article, “An opportunity for Africans to change the course of history” (Weekend Argus, November 26), with great interest.
Opportunities for Africans started after World War II. Libya gained independence from Italy, after which colonised countries like Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, Tanganyika, Belgian Congo, Kenya, Urundi, Sudan, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria became independent following “free and fair” elections.
They failed dismally. Decades of neglect ruined existing and working infrastructure, while whites were literally chased out.
I recently met the town engineer of Ndola, the Zambian town where I was born, to discuss problems regarding water and sewage reticulation systems. These had not been serviced since 1964. People with skills, like engineers, estimators, artisans, businessmen and bankers, were chased out of the country. Unqualified personnel took over in all sectors of the economy and government infrastructure. Without formal training, they ran the lot into the ground.
South Africa will be no different. The signs are there: new presidential jets, arms deals, million-rand salaries (when ministers are suspended), million-rand bonuses for underperforming parastatal CEOS, bankrupt municipalities, and business and gov- ernment corruption.
There is no difference in colonisation between invading a country, plundering its resources and enslaving its locals, or invading a country by donating billions of dollars, taking its resources and enslaving its locals with “poorly paid jobs”.
Vavi says: “Mass poverty and food insecurity are the result of the failed post-colonial political economy on the continent, exacerbated by a venal, corrupt and visionless leadership. Generations of African leaders have failed to transform the economies we inherited from the colonial masters.”
Mass poverty will always be a problem in Africa because you cannot uplift your family by having more children and wives than you can afford, and then demanding free health, education, housing and services while plundering the coffers that are supposed to help the poor.
Moeletsi Mbeki said unless leaders stop mouthing off to South Africa’s poor about the past and what colonial masters did, and find the guts and unselfish drive that made Western and Eastern countries powerful, we will become another Zimbabwe. Which African leader did Vavi have in mind “to change the course of history”?