Most whites may have viewed themselves as superior, but those they subjected to slavery could, actually, have been more superior than them. There are other slave masters who may have treated their slaves in dignified manner.
But those who treated their slaves cruelly were, unbelievably, inferior to the people they enslaved. This viewpoint will be proven beyond doubt in this article.
It cannot be denied that history is laden with medieval slavery that treated African people more unfairly than from any other continent. This is why most black African/Americans use the dark history as reason to view whites as racists and therefore evil. However, it seems the former Negroes choose to ignore the fact that it was a white man, William Wilberforce, who initiated and vigorously campaigned for the abolition of slavery, on their behalf, not through their own initiative.
Nevertheless, the genealogical generations of the former slaves may consider prejudices experienced by their ancestors as cause for bitterness. Yet, as surviving in their former slave masters’ countries, how do they compare with those living in Africa, today? Would they honestly view their prevailing conditions as worse than what goes on in most African countries?
This, in no way, is a dissertation to down-play the evilness of slavery that took place in those dark ages. But this is intended to invite those who seek understanding to appreciate that problems get resolved only when in present times. There are circumstances, in life, that make a person either better or worse than would be his/her real potential.
The legendary, Nelson Mandela’s story, can be used as the best illustration. In my view, Nelson Mandela died a free man. I suppose many people, not only in Africa, are envious of Nelson Mandela’s personality more than his achievements in attempting to dismantle apartheid in South Africa. Just as is well-known, His freedom did not come to him through smooth experiences.
Here, I am not talking about what Mr. Mandela achieved for the South Africans, necessarily. But what he achieved for himself. Those idolizing Nelson Mandela may not fully appreciate what I am talking about. But the man, himself, would be above concern for being idolized by people still languishing in slavery.
A free man does not lose sleep because other people are not according him with the respect that he deserves. It is actually a waste of time to imprison or kill a free man. Other people may suffer pangs on his behalf, but the person remains in the condition of being comfortably happier than those pitying him for what they consider to be unfair treatment.
The ill-treatment of Nelson Mandela crafted him with the freedom that I am talking about. He could have chosen to be overwhelmed, thereby choosing to entrench himself in prison-hood of bitterness. But Mandela chose to use that experience as a means to attain freedom. One may need to read the story of Joseph in Genesis 37 of the Christian Bible, to enforce the understanding of this concept.
Just, to stretch my illustration, let me also come closer home. We have those languishing in bitterness, considering what happened to Joshua Nkomo’s life in Zimbabwe. They curse President Mugabe, and his government, supposing that Mugabe unfairly benefited from Nkomo’s contributions. Others, actually, grant President Mugabe with wisdom, for having outsmarted the old man.
Let me vouch that Joshua Nkomo, actually, died a free man, more than most people would like to believe otherwise. The world may not bring Joshua Nkomo anywhere nearer to Nelson Mandela, in terms of comparing the conditions that characterize the two countries, South Africa and Zimbabwe. But the status of personal freedoms attained by the two men may have been similar.
The experiences that we go through in life can either imprison or grant us the deserved freedoms. This is just as we know that the man we say is our Savior today is also a free man, due to having properly used His unpleasant experiences to attain that freedom. I am talking about Jesus’ attainment of personal freedom, more than what He actually achieved for our own salvation.
Bitterness is what entrenches people in captivity. They fail to realize that those that give them discomfort, actually, need deliverance more than the abused do. This could be the reason why Jesus instructed us to pray for those who persecute us.
In as much as the abusers think they are at an advantage, when ill-treating other people, they are, actually, in bondage. They serve only to facilitate the enhancement of the persecuted to, actually, use such persecutions for their best advantage. This is possible when the persecuted choose to apply the principles that were used by Nelson Mandela and Joshua Nkomo.
But, more-so, let us focus on what Jesus taught. At the same time, bearing in mind that a free person can never be hurt by anything, even though prejudiced of most admirable things in life. By carefully analyzing everything that Jesus taught in Matthew 5, 6 and 7; one can discover the workable principles, providing the desired solutions in this life.
By succumbing to bitterness, where abused by whites, solely for their skin color, the blacks were granted opportunities for supremacy. Our necked eyes could conclude that it would be the abusers who get ensconced in supremacy. However, it is the abused people who, through such abuse, get accorded opportunities to attain higher status in life.
The only condition is on whether the abused people succumb or prevail under such circumstances. They prevail when applying the principles that Nelson Mandela used. They succumb when allowing bitterness to motivate their actions. Even the most racist white South Africans know that none of them can match the freedom that was achieved by Nelson Mandela.
Some of them may still consider Nelson Mandela as having been foolish, by allowing them to get away with the evil practices of segregation, but the truth still remains. They cannot come closer to the freedom exuded by Nelson Mandela. Their failure to understand is what entrenches them in bondage, where they die without ever attaining freedom [See here].
Christ stated that the greatest people ought to be servants (Matthew 20:26). It amazes me that even the clergy grapple with this statement, yet it is as truthful as the rising sun. The term ‘greatest’; implies the significance of what is meant by supremacy. If Jesus is the only authority in our lives, this statement ought to be appreciated as the most truthful datum of all time.
The people who abuse other people cannot attain the condition of supremacy. But the abused have the opportunity of attaining supremacy, when making the right choices in abuse. Such abuses could come from one’s own spouse. Housemaids could also be abused. Employers or any other person can take advantage, supposing they benefit from taking advantage of other people.
However, let me also stress that the condition of being abused can also leave a person vulnerable to succumbing, when allowing bitterness to reign. May I invite readers to answer the following quiz, with regard to our current Zimbabwean situation?
Over Zimbabwe, who can be adjudged as supreme; between the former colonizer and the former colonized? We are not looking for prejudice, but just facts, evaluated on the basis of honesty as appearing on the ground.
If the former colonized (Zimbabweans) are supreme, then the next question ought to be: how does their supremacy agree with the principle highlighted in this article? If not, what is it that caused their downfall? And who should take the blame? The one found to be at fault, is supreme over Zimbabwe and should be accorded with the responsibility to correct the prevailing wrongs.
If the former colonizer is adjudged as to blame, then the former colonizer is supreme, instead. The attendant question that follows ought to be: How could that have been possible without a single gunshot from the erstwhile enemy? The answer lies in appreciating the principle that has been highlighted in this presentation.
Without doing anything, Britain, the former colonizer, is awkwardly needed more by the Zimbabwean government, to take over in correcting the existent mess. Pride may prevail, to save face, but the truth that cannot be freely communicated is that Zimbabwe needs the former colonizer, more than ever before.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from 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 reliefs to those having witnessed 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
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99