Growing up in Africa comes with inculcation of a number of delusions. Chiefs of such delusions are not the creations of our hands. No! They are artificial – alien induced machinations created to leverage, resultantly sink the continent into a perpetual state of mental inferiority for easy predation. The targets no doubt, are always the thought, the mind, a collective perception of our self; our race, our nationhood, the continent; and those of the aliens in question. The hardest hits from these aren’t yet felt from the derisive schemes such as machinations foster, but the harmful pleasure many Africans take in flouting all cautions, readjusting further credulously, to take such pledges and actions which gratify them, and thus make themselves co-authors of these campaigns of delusions.
I, once deluded, grew up sharing the ‘American dreams’. Those nascent years, I had taken a keen interest in foreign movies, especially those of Euro-America. And before middle teen, I had ‘successfully’ become more American in spirit than African. I desired, so fancifully then, to live in a ‘utopian’ white life, where everything is in apple order: Some sort of paradise of perfection, an Eldorado of comfort.
I had also wanted to be divine and immortal like a never-dying hero, because the Americans never die, and if they do – it must be in a hard way. Likewise, I had wished to be saintly in my ways too, not like the models of my immediate Afro-extractions, but of the American ideal – a cursed do-good that champions the cause of all, and never settles for the meanest evil.
The black characters are usually undesirable especially by the reason of their roles. At most times in heroic films, they die brazenly. When they feature prominently, they are the routine villains whose eventualities are always at the direction of a pitiable end. These ends are usually pointed at by the hero: usually die-hard white handsome character. As I fell more for the love of these, deluged with the similar storylines they script; anything black becomes more obnoxious—reminds me of weakness, failure and possibly the devil.
The film is just one of these schemes. Mind control schemes work really well when it’s traded by the whites. They are in the profitable business of covering their sore and wounds and selling themselves undue. And many Africans are ravenous consumers: we buy at sight, leaving ours more open for their vulturous instinct to feast on. But since what we buy off the mare usually barely half of the truth, we bask pitiably in the air of delusions.
At the extremes of the swings of these delusions, many Africans have sunk their fates in the Mediterranean’s. More are undeterred by such news of ignominious ends in the seas, they are further inclined, willing, to exudes much of their youthful energies, needed at home, to trek through those scorching fields of the arids, traverse itching paths, to be, yet in the end, embraced by the cold hands of death. No sooner for those who would have thanked heaven because they had managed to evade the funerals of the fish on the sea to get to their dream ‘paradise’, then they are handed over too to the rueful hands of reality checks.
How often do those films reveal the true state of emergency in America? How many has themed the subject of the growing suicide rates in the country? Do they tell us much of the reoccurring ills and the wanton state of delinquencies: shootings and killings on everyday scale among its younger generation? Or how enough do they to be convinced, that America suffers from such phenomena they often report of Africa? Aren’t they just more about heroism, Love, sci-exploits, tech-supremacy? Do we see much on unemployment; corruption, drug-addictions, modern-day slavery, and injustice?
Depending on the level of delusions, most African answers to the above questions would likely fall in favor of America or cast many doubts on my dystopian seeming painting of America to them.
However, this is not to throw jabs at anyone or in particular America which is used, in generic term, to portray the nature of first world countries of the world. They are just in the astute business of national interest sake of a thing. But, like Africa, they do have their challenges too. But what makes them different? They refine before telling their stories. Through their media outlets and film industries which have been at the focal point because it reaches out farther in demand, they make the world fall in love with them. The ugly stories likewise, if they will be told at all, are nursed with careful hands and presented to the world harmless to their image. And that is why they are every day loved destinations.
Not only these major world powers, even the Philippines, Korea, and Indians too never default in this respect. Those who are lovers of Bollywood often think fanciful of India. The happy “dancing people”, land of love, peace, beautiful girls, fun, and yes, just for fun! Those are the single stories they tell, likewise their media. No film lovers know of the wild state of racism, especially ones against the black, the gravity of poverty, and with due respect, their “no toilet syndrome” among others. We are the only ones caught in this delusive frenzy. Aren’t we?
Stories are a powerful conveyor of reality. But they are usually biased. It’s no evil to be. The teller of own reality, through available means that connects him to the world, must tell them to his own advantage. They need to be adorable, sweet sounding, to be embraced by others. That is when they will be pricked to come, invest and share of the beauty. And when you refuse to tell yours, others come in likewise and help, with just one mindset – to tell them to their own advantage.
’Since the lions do not have their stories told, it is the braveries of the hunters that will be remembered and not the exploits of the lions.’
Africa has beautiful stories that she never tells. But everyone knows the ugly ones. Those ones move faster across the globe than the speed of light. And we also join in and enjoy telling them. Or, aren’t they our popular jokes? We crack jokes out of our misfortunes online, among international communities, don’t we? This paints us dark and darker every day. Western media outlets and opinions will never help in this regard. They often blab when it comes to reporting something laudable of Africa, use impeccable articulations in the reportage of malevolent ones. Should we continue to fold arms and look, and let these wounds get more vulnerable, and get more bruised? No! We must treat! No! we must cover!
The true call for action entails a paradigm shift from the ill-fated positions we often take in our conversations on the continent issues and the dialogues we have of it with the world. Our round tables of discussions are so littered with much despair because we focus too much more on the injuries than our relieves. Then thereafter, we add salt to the injuries by inviting the “flies” to the tables, or they invite us to theirs and show them the wounds. They just end up doing the business known of the flies: feasting on the wounds we uncovered.
Therefore, the narratives must change. The tables must be turned around with a new scope and a better perspective. Our film industries, well recognized and demanded globally, are the major exporter of our culture and reality. They cannot afford to fill the world with our injuries any longer, whereas they don’t exhibit theirs. Storyline staging along the concepts of poverty, money-rituals, killings, illiteracy, family crisis and others must for continental reasons be dropped. But if they are to be told at all, they should be in the light of hope: that they are dying out, and they are indeed dying out of the continent.
Musicians should sing the songs of hope and new development, the world needs a constant reminder that the continent is tomorrow’s dream: the fastest growing region in the world, let it beat louder. Artworks for exports should portray beautiful landscapes and growing urban centers. Yes! The continent houses the world’s 10 fastest growing cities, between 2018 and 2035. Writers must change much from their tone of depressions and oppression, let the world read also about the progression and freedom on the rise. Africa now has women presidents, even Uncle Sam is yet to have one, it a sign of growing civil liberty. Let the world read to their marvel. Let everyone, in all endeavors that export Africa’s image, key into this—telling our beautiful stories. Then with time, we will get the world to fall in love and view the continent from the lens of, no longer derision but, opportunities. They will come this time to explore, and not exploit. Our brilliant legs in shoes and geniuses in planes zooming off will in no time, see reasons to stay back. Our kitchens will be neat, for kitchen hands will no longer be in scarcity. The sores, the cuts, the wounds, and all these injuries will be covered because the new narratives will bring with them – an unexpected touch of healing!
Article by: Pelumi Jr. Adeniyi