Tuesday, 13 March 2007


I've gladly decided to oblige to a kind invitation by Joshua Wanyama, AfricanPath's Editor, to participate in his site as Guest Blogger. So, from now on, once in a while I will be "outblogging" there. My first post went up today and is entitled "Are We All Losing The Plot?". It can be accessed and commented both at AfricanPath and Here.

N.B.: I decided to bring back this post to the front page because it just received a most welcome and thought-provoking comment by Connie Hilliard - Professor of African History at the University of North Texas, USA.

I've gladly decided to oblige to a kind invitation by Joshua Wanyama, AfricanPath's Editor, to participate in his site as Guest Blogger. So, from now on, once in a while I will be "outblogging" there. My first post went up today and is entitled "Are We All Losing The Plot?". It can be accessed and commented both at AfricanPath and Here.

N.B.: I decided to bring back this post to the front page because it just received a most welcome and thought-provoking comment by Connie Hilliard - Professor of African History at the University of North Texas, USA.


Black River Eagle said...

It was an excellent debut at African Path, Koluki! Welcome to the blogosphere. I think that I may quote your article in an upcoming post for a project on Black History in Europe that we are working on at the moment here in Germany. Finally a distinguished Angolan female voice joins the conversation...

Cleo (USA) said...

They begun to win when we started believing, we were what they defined us to be!

We failed when after being independent in part due to their justifiable inexperience our leaders eventually gave up on our needs and start prioritizing theirs.

We failed when we minimized and decided not to address the effects of the colonolization for the stigma of being considered again, by them "complexados".

Fortunately, the war is not over and some us still have hope...

We will win if the few who maintain a clear vision are able to inspire the others, even if just one mind at a time!

Koluki, you're certainly doing your part. Thank you.

Sailor Girl said...

Como dizem os camónes: «Atta Girl!!!»

Bush said...

I sympathize with the struggles the African continent is facing. But, I do not see how will you survive on your own war and disease is devastating you, and your actual behaviour is causing it. To an outsider it feels like you are in a path for self destruction. Always beging for aid when your continent is the richest. It is hard to understand?!

Perhaps, re-colonization of some sort for you would not be so bad at this time. You could allow a coalition of more advanced nations to manage your country more of your people would have a chance for survival. Don't you think?

Miriam (S.Paulo) said...

This is not a big issue you should do the following: have a vote to establish who is for and who is against having the Europeans rule at the end of the vote, those who vote against stay where they are and those who favor being ruled by the foreigners should be given a portion of the land to move to and should enjoy their new european rulers. If you are really smart convince your president and ministers to go as well!

Then those who stay should establish a true democracy and a system of accountability for anyone in public position and you should be fine!

Nick said...


m.silvera said...

Minha cara amiga,
Artigo interessante, este seu. sobretudo muitíssimo bem escrito.
Compreendo a sua perspectiva, mas pergunto-me: não poderá ele conduzir a interpretações de ordem eminentemente rácica?
Segundo: não haverá alguma precipitação em concluir a partir de apenas três casos?
claro que se trata de um texto breve e não de um 'paper' ou tese, mas tenho medo que isso aparente superficialidade ou precipitação.
Espero que não leve a mal as minhas questões que aqui coloco com o maior respeito.
Um abraço

Koluki said...

Black River Eagle,

Welcome to this space! Thank you very much for the attention paid to my article. I will be following with interest your Black History in Europe events.
Let's keep in touch.

Cleo, Sailor Girl and Nick: thanks a lot for your support!

Bush: you are free to think/propose whatever you please or see fit to your own interests...

Miriam: interesting proposal...

M. Silvera,

Muito obrigada pelo seu comentario ao artigo.
Claro que nao o levo a mal, porque nao ha nada no seu comentario que me possa levar a tal. Este e' um espaco aberto precisamente para que todos os pontos de vista, desde que dentro dos limites aceitaveis da decencia e do respeito mutuo (o que, infelizmente, como tem vindo a acontecer aqui nos ultimos dias, nem sempre se verifica...), possam ser manifestados.
Dito isso, deixe-me apenas transcrever aqui alguns extractos do artigo e traduzi-los, para que as questoes que levantei nao causem confusao entre os leitores que porventura nao entendam tao bem o Ingles:

“Well, I mentioned these three cases, with direct references to Dennis Matanda’s (Ugandan, male, black) “Call for Recolonisation”, and referred explicitly to their protagonists’ nationality, race and gender, not because they matter to me in general, but precisely to make the point that they do not matter nowadays when it comes to calls for recolonisation.”

Bom, eu mencionei estes tres casos, com referencias directas ao “Call for Recolonisation” de Dennis Matanda (Ugandes, homem, negro) e referi-me explicitamente a nacionalidade, raca e genero dos seus protagonistas, nao porque eles importem para mim em geral, mas precisamente para ressaltar o ponto de que eles nao importam, hoje em dia, no que toca a apelos para a recolonizacao.

“If nationality, race and gender are not the matter in all these cases, what seems to be a common feature between them is their protagonists’ belonging to the dominant classes…”

Se nacionalidade, raca e genero nao sao o que importa em todos estes casos, o que parece ser uma caracteristica comum entre eles e’ a pertenca dos seus protagonistas as classes dominantes…

“However, these are only three random cases, against a wider backdrop where, for instance…”

No entanto, estes sao apenas tres casos aleatorios num panorama/contexto mais vasto onde, por exemplo…

Espero que estes extractos esclarecam as questoes que levanta. Mas se porventura ainda restarem em qualquer mente "interpretacoes de ordem eminentemente racica" deste artigo, entao so' poderei, infelizmente, concluir que falar em raca, seja em que contexto for, continua a ser para algumas pessoas um tabu absolutamente intransponivel...

Como espero ter ficado claro do ultimo extracto que traduzi, nao so' nao tiro precipitadamente conclusoes a partir dos 3 casos aleatorios que menciono (e se eu soubesse de outros casos protagonizados/escritos por Angolano(a)s de raca negra que fossem relevantes para o 'subject matter' deste artigo, pode ter a certeza que os mencionaria...) como tambem nao tiro conclusoes no geral: faco apenas uma leitura dos casos que cito a luz do texto do Nkrumah (com o que nao pretendo, de modo nenhum, esgotar todas as possiveis leituras que deles se possam fazer a outras luzes e sob outros espelhos...) e deixo uma questao em aberto precisamente para que outras leituras, ou outros casos mais elucidativos e/ou concludentes, possam ser apresentados/discutidos pelos leitores.

Um grande abraco!

Koluki said...

Black River Eagle:

I've just received this message which might be of interest to you and possibly others:

x-posted from H-Net Announcement
Date: 2007-03-11
Call for authors: Encyclopedia of Blacks in European

"Encyclopedia of Blacks in European Civilization"
The two-volume "Encyclopedia of Blacks in European
Civilization," scheduled to be published by Greenwood
Press in 2008, currently seeks contributors.
Candidates must be willing to write entries totaling at
least 1,000 words. Preference will be given to college
professors, published writers, and advanced graduate
students, but others qualified to write on entries
focusing on the depiction and contribution of black
Africans in European history and literature will also be
considered. Deadline for submissions will be four
months after the date of assignment. Please do not
respond to this call unless you are confident that you
can complete your contribution(s)by that date.
Compensation for accepted entries will $20 per 1,000
words. Those whose entries total 4,000 words or more
may choose instead to receive the set of the
encyclopedia, which will be sent to contributors at
If you are interested in writing for this important
reference work, please send a CV to:
Eric Martone: Blacks_in_Europe_Project@hotmail.com
Qualified candidates will receive a listing of available entries.
Prospective contributors will receive an assignment,
contributors' guidelines, and sample entries by e-mail followed
by a release form mailed from the publisher to be signed and
returned. Completed entries are subject to the normal editing
process required for quality publications and are accepted for
publication at the discretion of the editor, advisory board, and

Koluki said...

P.S.: Amigo Silvera, apenas para ressalvar 2 pontos da minha anterior resposta ao seu comentario:

i. De facto ate' tive/tenho conhecimento de pelo menos um outro exemplo relevante de formas diferentes de se reflectir uma mesma realidade, consoante o espelho que se usa e os objectivos que se persegue: o artigo de Jose' Kaliengue (Angolano, homem, negro). Mas, se o tivesse mencionado neste meu artigo, teria forcosamente que tecer comparacoes que nao sei o que dariam em termos de "interpretacoes de ordem eminentemente racica"...

ii. Nao e' totalmente verdade que "falar em raca, seja em que contexto for, continua a ser para algumas pessoas um tabu absolutamente intransponivel...". Parece-me mais fiel 'a verdade dizer que falar em raca so' se torna um "tabu absolutamente intransponivel" para algumas pessoas quando quem fala em raca, seja em que contexto for, pertence a uma determinada raca... Basta dar-se uma vista de olhos pela blogosfera e nao so' para se ver o quanto a raca e as questoes raciais e inter-raciais, com ou sem contexto apropriado, se nao sao o "pao nosso de cada dia", implicita ou explicitamente, estao longe de ser um "tabu absolutamente intransponivel"... so' nao suscitam "intepretacoes de ordem eminentemente racica" talvez porque quem o faz o faca na presuncao de que se encontra "acima de qualquer suspeita de racismo"... porque sera'?

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks Koluki, I've got your message re: the encyclopedia project. Compensation is only $20 bucks for every 1,000 words submitted? Are they crazy? Heck, I'd pay 10 times that much right out of my own pocket if the work submitted is really good.... and if I get reasonable control over publication and distribution rights.

Whatever the publishers decide to do about distribution of the printed version, they should make free online access to its contents available to as wide an audience as (economically) possible. Thanks for the tip.

Koluki said...

Interesting… that’s exactly how I reacted when I saw $20 per 1,000 words!! But, don’t feel so outraged: last time I was involved in something like that I was asked to “please contribute as a volunteer”…
Anyways, let’s see what comes out of it.

Koluki said...

The following are the comments on "Are we all losing the plot?" made at AfricanPath:

Koluki said...

I don´t know

if we are losing the plot but it seems to me that Africa is still suffering from a "bad image" in general built from the last decades made of conflict, hunger and bad governments...whatever is there that is positive rarely receives a front page....so I am wondering to what extend does the "media industry" helps enduring that "bad image" and in doing so contributing us to loose the plot...good stuff Koluki!

Added: March 13, 2007 07:06 PM

Koluki said...

Historical perspective

I guess the people who offer/write history determine a lot of how we get to view our past. I grew up respecting a lot of African leaders. Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Mandela, Biko, Machel and others. Now that I am older and can read more than what my grade school teachers taught me, I have learnt that policies they employed or positions they took are major reasons African economies failed to perform. It wasn't from lack of trying, just plain bad leadership. A freedom fighter is not an economist, CEO or captain of industry. Political and economical leadership was lacking in most of these people. I then ask, who gets to determine how we perceive these leaders? I have received instruction in both the good and bad sides of them so I am less impressed by what they did. On the account of what Africans can do for themselves to create a better life, we need to start becoming the change we want to see. If the lady notices a dying citizen acts, then there is no reason to complain. For she would have made a positive change in this person's life. This in turn will be extended to the next person and soon we will have a better society. None of this is based on ideology. Just humans respecting each other and extending a hand to the next person. If you dream of a better society or imagine colonization was great, then you create the change you want to see. No one will do it for you. Great article Koluki.

Added: March 13, 2007 09:43 PM

Koluki said...

The good, the bad and the ugly

It is interesting that you would use the analogy of mirrors. For each circumstance, people will always find either good (positive), bad (negative) or ugliness. You have a room full of people and they all witness a situation. Based on their personal experiences, history, economic status and prejudices, they draw different conclusions. Makes me wonder, for those that have lost hope in Africa, those that think we need to be recolonized or those that think there is hope, who gets to drive the car? For it is the driver that determines the terrain the car will go over. Be it progress, division or plain bad decisions. Progress or lack thereof in Africa is affected by what a leader sees in the mirror. Is it good, bad or ugly?

Added: March 14, 2007 03:07 PM

Koluki said...

In Response ...

I think that this was a good article - and at many parts of the article, I could not decide where you lay in terms of either agreeing or disagreeing with me. Because of your leaving me on the fence, I penned off an article in response to yours. I hope it does all of us justice. Of course, this was a well thought our piece and I applaud you for provoking without necessarily biting at my reader point of view.

Dennis Matanda
Added: March 15, 2007 08:52 AM

Koluki said...

Tall fence

I agree, it is hard to decide if Koluki is for or against Matanda's perspective. So what is it, are you for or against recolonization?

Added: March 15, 2007 10:24 AM

Koluki said...

Just Curious...

Dennis, before I go back to your last article, I really need your help here: what exactly made you think that I could possibly be in agreement with you?
Same question for Herbert.


Added: March 16, 2007 09:43 PM

Koluki said...

No-Thats Not a Fence

Great post. I can appreciate the many twists and turns that you take the reader through with your writing-here. To me it did not appear that you were riding the fence, but just that you wanted to be a bit more poetic in your approach.

I think that like many other ironies in life, the rotten apples often have the ability to spoil the bunch. This is the case with the perceptions of Africa, south of the Sahara. The bad apples could be sensationalist media or selfish despots-you can take your pick, because the two groups appear to go hand in hand. Often you don't find one with out the other. My point is not to demonize either. Maybe it will take more time and more African media.

I think something that I saw your post hinting at is Africa writing her own story, in a way that does not seek to gain the approval of the West nor to mimic every aspect of the West.

It looks like we are beginning to see this happen-albeit very slowly. But it will take time to counter all the negative publicity that you have mentioned. One postive thing that appears before us is that some of the last vestiges of reactionary and often lop-sided policy in SSA are slowly beginning to fade away. Now what is needed is not reactionary but proactive, well-planned, and well balanced methods of charting the future.

In the place of the old and fading SSA paradigm, we are starting to see more integrated systems (economic reforms, more press freedoms, more balanced media-i.e. Africa bloggers, more policy aimed at self-help, more cross border cooperation, and etc.) for expanding the positive and under reported phenomena that you described.

As this begins to be the norm, not only will Africa continue tell her own story, but she will do so more loudly and the world will listen...

Added: March 16, 2007 09:43 PM

Koluki said...

Thank you

Thanks, Beninmwangi, for your insightful comment.

Added: March 20, 2007 08:30 PM

Connie Hilliard said...


What an insightful piece. In far too many instances what we call a nation in Africa is little more than those portions of the capital city inhabited by its western-educated elites. That community may constitute 5% or less of the population. And yet their political and economic strength in relationship to the disenfranchised inhabitants of the urban shanty towns and the 95% rural majority is wildly out of balance. What we really have are two distinct countries inhabiting one national boundary. If the rural "country" gets any attention at all, it will not be from the central government, but rather from western do-gooders, international donor agencies and missionaries. The irony here is that the principal source of revenue for the African "urban states" are precisely those rural farmers left out of the political equation. None of this will change until African societies evolve more democratic forms of government, in which viable oppositions compete for power, expose corruption and are forced to seek votes among the rural majorities.

As for talk of recolonization, I agree with you that this is nonsense. It merely reflects the angst and ennui of a leisure class, which has alienated itself from the source of its own sustenance. Before bringing back the Europeans they might first try luring back their on souls.

Koluki said...

Dear Connie,

It is a privilege to have your expert opinion on this article: thank you very much indeed for having taking some of your time to comment on it!
I couldn't agree more with your analysis.
I'd just like to make an observation about something I'm sure you are all too aware: the vast majority of African countries count on their natural resources (mainly oil, gold and diamonds) for their government's budgets more than on their peasantry. As a result, the 95% rural majority keeps getting more and more politically desinfranchised, as you rightly note.
Increasingly, there are civil society movements and NGOs trying to fill the institutional gap in the fight for a more balanced resource allocation and income distribution and redistribution in our countries, but these, as much as most African governments, also depend on international development aid, official or not...
So, we are really facing a critical situation for which the best rational solutions seem to be increasingly difficult to find...

But, let's keep our hopes up!

As for the "talk of recolonisation" I couldn't put it any better...

Warm wishes!

Connie Hilliard said...


You are indeed right about the devastating effects -- on an already disenfranchised peasant majority -- of African governments' over-dependence on oil, diamond, and gold resources. Thanks for that informative contribution. It is true that Africa has a long way to go. But what I enjoy most about your blog is the fact that you refuse to subscribe to the "Broken Africa" stereotype. This unidimensional view, which sees a continent in decay, where nothing works, has become all too common among westerners and a frustrated segment of the African elite. There is a nub of truth in most stereotypes and the "Broken Africa" one is no exception. And yet, when I read your blog entries and look into the faces of so many young Africans, what I see is energy, vibrancy and a joyful embrace of life. You and they are the engines of Africa's future. I will tell you a well- kept secret. The real reason so many westerners come to Africa to work with international donor agencies and non-governmental organizations on projects that seldom work, is the following. They love the experience. They admire the capacity of most Africans to find meaning and satisfaction in their lives, despite the continent's economic woes. Americans and Europeans come to Africa in order to feel more alive, to escape at least for a few years, the "inner brokenness" of their own wealthy societies.