There is truth in that Africans, in general, consider themselves degraded. Most Africans believe that they are degraded because of being exploited and enslaved by other races. However, this belief does not capture the fact that other races have also been victims of exploitation by other humans, one way or the other.
The Bible is explicit in that the Israelites were once victims of Egyptian exploitation. But there is no record of the Israelites ever blaming the Egyptians for having caused their current misery. In other words, while having been also degraded, the Israelites do not link their degradation to Egyptian slavery.
Africans, in general, believe and swear by the consideration that Africans languish in poverty because of previous exploitation by other races. This kind of belief is not enforced on Africans, who use it as an excuse for remaining in poverty. Other races have tended to treat Africans according to how Africans treat themselves.
Racism is condemned, worldwide. There are whites who also foolishly swear to be racists. These are undeniable facts on the ground. But, such racist viewpoints are caused by Africans, themselves. Human behaviour is known to generalize viewpoints.
When encountering a racist Indian, one tends to conclude that all Indians are racists. The idea of generalizing worsens the condition of black people’s viewpoint that being black is a curse. More blacks wish they were born white, rather than whites wishing they were born black.
There are some blacks, who resign to the story of the Descendents of Ham, son of Noah (Genesis 9:25). They conclude that Africans are a subject of what was pronounced on Ham’s descendants. This presentation debunks such mythical prophecies, due to the liberation of humanity provided by Jesus Christ.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed meto proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour”(Luke 4:18-19 NIV).
Jesus brought liberty to humanity. The conditions of individual circumstances hold no bearing on the state of beingness. The true identity of an individual is spiritual, as created in God’s image. What is observed physically, does not describe the true identity of an individual.
Ordinary humans, whether white or black, are degraded, one way or another. But this presentation specifically intends to address the Africans’ consideration of degradation compared to other races.
Africans degrade themselves, more than being degraded by other races. Others believe that African problems are a result of corrupt leaders, cheating their ways into leadership. But that does not absolve common Africans from being authors of their own degradation.
Other races come to exploit African resources, as allowed to do so, by degraded African leaders. But those degraded leaders rigged themselves into positions of leadership, through degraded Africans. The starting point is not on corrupt leaders but on those trusting corrupt leaders.
The mythical consideration of being degraded did not enforce itself on the Africans concerned. It was a matter of considered choice by Africans, themselves. It is even common to hear some Africans cursing their fellow blacks for being unintelligent.
The person uttering those words would be assumed to be more enlightened than those he views as unenlightened. Strangely, that would be self-degrading, by the same considered “enlightened” critic. This is similar to South African blacks, committing xenophobic atrocities on black Africans.
Those blacks rightly or wrongly degrade their fellow blacks. But they would be duplicating the viewpoint of the considered racist whites. This, therefore, reveals that African degradation does not originate from other races, necessarily.
The corrupt leaders in political leadership degrade themselves. They align with the viewpoint of other races, suggesting being inferior to leaders of other races. They blame other races for that consideration, yet believe in it. Let us use Zimbabwe, as a typical example.
As highly educated a leader, as Robert Mugabe was considered to be, he promised the best for those who revered him. Typical of degraded Africans, his ministers became ostentatious, after being enriched. They were elevated to upper-class suburbs, driving better cars.
Their degraded supporters also agreed with that consideration. This resonated with the viewpoint that chefs must be accorded that consideration. Compare that mindset with that of Jesus, whose value cannot be matched; as He could not degrade himself:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”(Philippians 2:5-10 NIV).
Of course, this disturbs the mind of a degraded personality? How can one, humbling Himself, not match the state of degradation? That reveals the crux of confusion, that has befallen humanity. Value does not come from receiving, but from what one gives. Hence, Jesus was elevated to the highest position.
It is the state of the beingness of Jesus that elevated Him to the highest position. This does not consider the racial outlook of Jesus, whether black or white. That condition has got nothing to do with the racial aspect of an individual. It reflects the true identity of an individual.
Very few people would agree that the state of beingness of any personality is Godly. But those disagreeing with that sentiment would agree that there is a Scripture, attesting to humans having been created in God’s image. The term “God” is a state of beingness that ordinary humans are not willing to identify with. We have to debunk this mysterious phenomenon.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness”(Philippians 2:5-7 NIV).
The above Scripture exhorts us to have the same mindset as Jesus. He, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. If having been created in God’s image; are we also not in very nature God? If feeling emotionally charged, desiring to stone the author for a blasphemous utterance, wait awhile.
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son?’ Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp(John 10:31-39 NIV).
May the emotional stone-throwers kindly do so, only after reading the above Scripture? That behaviour agrees with those Jews who similarly desired to stone Jesus. I understand them. I would not feel victimized when treated similarly to how Jesus was treated. The apostle Paul deserved similar treatment, as he also exhorted his audience to apply the mind of Jesus.
The state of beingness, therefore, is what constitutes the value of an individual. There is no disputation in that assertion. A giver is valued more than the receiver, or the one taking away from another. The degraded humanity would rather value those taking from others, rather than value those giving to others.
Most Africans have displayed fantastic admiration for President Putin of Russia, for his bullying behaviour, towards Ukraine. They can never admire those behaving like Jesus. Their mindset is that of submitting to bullies. In Zimbabwe, the white men were considered bullies, against the blacks, according to the common belief, which I personally disagree with.
After independence, the new Prime Minister embarked on ensuring that He acquired everything good for himself. To most people, this was considered acceptable, as justifiably upgrading himself, and his ministers. But he was degrading himself. Ordinary Africans also degraded themselves by stampeding towards settling in white suburban areas.
Independence was considered as a means of self-enrichment, to become like the white settlers. But the question that remains unanswered is: “Was the liberation struggle waged out of envying the white men’s lifestyles or out of the self-respect principle?”
The assumption of upgrading themselves accelerated the degradation of Africans. I remember feeling embarrassed, wondering how the whites viewed blacks, who were stampeding toward white suburban areas. Very few whites, if any, sought to be identified with blacks, claiming to have attained independence.
Those identified as winners of independence sought to be identified with losers of colonial power. I suppose the blacks were more dignified under white rule than after independence? This is said when considering the existing facts, on the ground. The whites are no longer occupying the formerly exclusive white suburban areas.
No one can dispute that those areas were immaculately preserved, during white settlements. Rather than maintain those areas, the new settlers reduced them to degraded conditions, reflecting their previous African disorderliness. Can anyone rig his way toward dignity?
African leaders are unashamedly blaming the former colonizers. In brief, that describes the meaning of degradation. It is found in assuming that value is enhanced by receiving, rather than by giving.
Criminals, driving the Lamborghinis, are respected more than the dignified people, leading modest lives, in poverty-stricken areas. The law of cause and effect suggests Africans’ behaviour as stemming from ignorance. Ignorant people are susceptible to believing anything, even without facts. Rumour is given credence, rather than giving credence to truthful information.
Imagine the recent phenomenon, having recently flooded social media, concerning a possible joke about selling toes to acquire instant wealth? Such ignorance is not exclusively affecting Africans, who believe that physical nature describes one’s beingness.
The whites, who ridicule Africans are also as ignorant as the blacks who believe whites are superior. Such ignorance portrays the unknowingness of the human origin, which caused Jesus’ crucifixion. Africans should not be regarded as the only ones who are degraded.
Ignorance, described as the unknowingness of the origin of humanity, can be everywhere. Racial identities are a false description of the actual identities of humanity. One can be mistaken for being a criminal, because of the colour of his skin. Yet others can be mistaken for being ethical, only because of their skin colour. Even Jesus was commonly mistaken for what he was not.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you lose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah (Matthew 16:13-20 NIV).
Peter managed to state Jesus’ truthful identity, which projected the identity of humanity, as well. However, the ignorant humanity remains unaware of that reality, except for a few, comprising God’s Church. Those who could not identify Jesus could also not identify those accorded the privilege to revert to being God’s children.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99