The phenomenon of African poverty

Here comes the answer to the question that has dogged academics and philosophers, alike. This has got nothing to do with mineral resources, whose plunder is blamed on Western countries and currently, China. Others have missed the point when advancing the theory of dearth in African leadership. African problems will remain, even if the best leadership is put in place.

It is true, though, that a good leader may come, leaving some relief. But that would be short-lived, as long as the ordinary populace remains in ignorance. An ignorant society would always envisage oppression from a progressive leadership.

It would need a sacrificial leader to lead ignorant people and become successful. Ignorant people are at home with a leader who would be like them. Hence, democracy appears unworkable in Africa. Good leaders are unacceptable to ignorant people, who identify with one like them.

There is a thing called Black PR, or propaganda. This refers to incessant smear campaigns against principled leaders. There are those whose profession is to manufacture lies, disseminated as truth. If not careful, good leaders get assassinated, not for anything else, but for pursuing good values.

The reason why evil prevails is that most good leaders are timid, as unable to confront the evil that comes with propaganda. Hence, we hear of statements like “politics is a dirty game.” However, the propagandists cannot win, where the majority of people are informed, as to devalue propaganda.

There is nothing dirty about politics, being the cornerstone in human survival. There is not an iota of truth in that other races are intellectually superior to Africans. Those advancing falsehoods about Africans being inferior are, generally, the instruments of propaganda.

The color of a person’s skin, or, alternatively, his inability to access good education, does not make him inferior. A human being was created in God’s image, and God is not identified by skin color. The propensity for wickedness is associated with all humans, regardless of their background.

It is true that the entire nation can be gripped in wickedness. Among the majority of wicked people would be a few, resolute in obeying God. This was the case during the Prophet Elijah’s time. When looking at the story of the Israelites, as a nation, one sees that the Israelites were not worse than their Jewish cousins, after all. The Jews crucified the Messiah.

The Prophet Jonah sought to avoid going to Nineveh, as instructed by God. The reason why he failed is that God does not differentiate among races. He sees humans as one, regardless of culture and background. The Prophet Jonah had sought to go to Tarshis, instead of Nineveh.

But to Jonah, this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:1-4 NIV).

Was the Prophet Jonah, not in the category of those viewing nations, according to the generality of wickedness in their territories? When appreciating having been created in God’s image, one cannot think like the Prophet Jonah. The only dividing line, among humans, is between ignorance and knowledge.

One can be as wrong as the Prophet Jonah was wrong when trying to avoid disseminating knowledge to wicked nations. The scale of wrongness weighs heavily against those refusing God’s instruction to disseminate knowledge to others.

The line of poverty, among Africans, pronounces ignorance, more than bad leadership. The capitalists took advantage of Africans when manipulating their ignorance. Those Africans viewed wealth as more important than themselves. They gave ground to those capitalists who desired mineral resources in Africa.

This is quite revealing indeed. My prayer is that Africa could wake up to realize that being African does not mean being subhuman. At the moment, Africans, in general, think that they cannot match the intellectual standards of other races. Hence assumed to be an achievement to live abroad, leaving one’s own people dying in poverty.

This is where these capitalists take advantage of Africa. Most of our African people do not even know what value is. They think that value is about an accumulation of wealth and driving expensive cars, without doing anything to other fellow humans. The value of any person is dependent upon what one does to others.

In reality, there is nothing in this world whose value can be compared with human beings. But, indeed humans can degrade themselves as to be that valueless. Hence the capitalists find mineral resources more valuable than the inhabitants of those countries. It is pointless to harp on how wicked those capitalists are.

They are spurred by the work of Black PR, or propaganda. The capitalists are not different from those assuming that the mineral resources sought by capitalists are more valuable than the inhabitants. It is a matter of how dignified one is, to be able to wade off those capitalists. Otherwise, one falls into the trap of always being the victim.

Mineral and other resources cannot be more valuable than humans, created in God’s image. The abusers, from other races, value mineral resources more than the inhabitants of Africa. And indeed, most of our African people are more of a liability, than they ought to be assets. This is sad but certainly having to do with ignorance.

The correct formula is to help blacks discover their dignity. Rather than assuming that money is more important than themselves. This is where all African problems originate. This has got nothing to do with those foreign looters. The problem starts with the degradation of one’s dignity when putting money ahead of self. Are the inhabitants more valuable than the mineral resources?

The assumption that money is more important than humans is disastrous. Such people are prepared to even kill their own children, for money. That is what opens the door for the wicked capitalists to take advantage. The capitalists come in disguise of helping those viewing themselves as victims, due to ignorance.

Such capitalists could come from Western Europe or Eastern Europe, using terms like imperialism, colonialism, or communism. These are terms, designed to hoodwink poor blacks into thinking that there is value in aligning with any or either of those propaganda terms.

The capitalists use their respective stooges to hoodwink the entire population. This pits the population against each other, fighting and maiming, in the name of protecting their preferred ideology. Those killers are promised money, which they accept willingly, as viewing themselves to be less valuable, anyway.

The person’s dignity should always come first; before money can flow towards the individual. Simple. The dignity of a person is derived from what one does for others, not what others do for him. This is a simple axiom, lacked by most blacks. As derived from “Ubuntu.”

Money, itself, does not respect a person without dignity. The term value is wrongly always associated with the accumulation of wealth. Yet, humans are more valuable than any wealth that can be imagined. Does this, therefore, mean that the Capitalists should be allowed to come and loot freely, leaving Africans to wallow in poverty? The answer cannot be in the affirmative.

The capitalists should be helped to find value in the inhabitants, rather than the minerals that they would be after. Currently, it makes sense for them to bribe, their way into accessing those mineral resources. The inhabitants assume themselves to be less valuable than those mineral resources.

A prostitute can be dressed attractively, with the most expensive perfume. But that does not replace her dignity. She sells her body to anyone with money because she does not value herself, anyway. The client can be anyone, as long as able to provide money.

Dignity does not exist in the vocabulary of prostitutes. However, those prostitutes, while being used here, for illustration, are not, necessarily, different from most of our black people. Being uneducated does not, necessarily, make one valueless or inferior to others. The curse of humanity has always been centered on classifying people, either as inferior or superior to others.

The classification of humans is the most scandalous misrepresentation, deserving to be clinically discarded. It emanates from mud-creation theory. Most people believe that a human being is a simple mud whose destiny is the grave. When lost along the way, one has to go back to the beginning.

The mud-creation theory is based on parody and is not workable, scientifically. However, truth is workable, as long as coming directly from the source. The degraded humanity needs redemption, in order to come out of falsehoods. What I write here is not coming from theory, but from the source:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and overall the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV).

Man, created in God’s image, is not of this world, characterized in mud, according to the above Scripture. Of course, the same man finds himself in this world, but not related to it. That man is related to God, according to the above Scripture.

This has got nothing to do with whether the same man is found in Nineveh or Tarshish. His current geographical location is immaterial, be it Africa or China. The factual point lies in the line of whose creation he ought to resemble. What sustains the person created in God’s image is not mud or clay.

No human can claim to be better than others, also created in God’s image. Therefore, it is wrong to declare that Africans are poorer than other races because there is no difference between Africans and other races. An educated person bears the burden to educate the uneducated. A dignified person does not enjoy eating a good meal when surrounded by other hungry fellow humans.

That person considers himself valuable, hence willing to sacrifice for the uneducated. This is what value entails. The poor people gather around that person because of his value. The multitudes thronged Jesus because He offered something to them. In other words, Jesus was most valuable to those people.

While providing for the needs of the uneducated can be good, what is even better is providing them with knowledge. This agrees with the saying; “Teach a person how to fish, rather than providing him with fish.”  The good thing about teaching is granting that person the opportunity to recover his dignity.

Laziness is itself, a symptom of ignorance. Hence education should be viewed as more important than anything else. There is no point in deriding God’s people for laziness, treating them as if inferior. They need an education that enables them to discover their dignity. Deep inside each person is the dignity of his beingness.

Some of those people can be viewed as irretrievably degraded, yet with some value in them, having been created in God’s image. There is a need to approach them in their level of understanding. Bit by bit, on a gradient scale, they may pick up their dignity. It is incumbent upon the light-bearers to show the way.

Principally, this is what entails Christian responsibility. The starting point is appreciating that knowledge demands sacrifice, by knowledge holders. There is no need to blame the uneducated, but the educated, when darkness prevails.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV).

The Western countries can no longer be held responsible for not providing Christianity to Africa. What stands out in the above Scripture is that those with the light should enable those without, to remove the darkness in their surroundings. The message is that all humans need to discover their dignity.

Having been created in God’s image requires having to think like God. As long as not thinking like God, one remains in sin, even without realizing it. The majority of our Christian brothers are cozy, as long as living sinless lives, themselves. But they are not different from those wallowing in sinfulness.

“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” 1 John 3:15-16 NIV).

Carrying other people’s burdens is very expensive. But the rewards are aplenty, as promised for those following the way. Sacrificing for other humans is very exciting. Especially with the knowledge that this was the way followed by Jesus, Himself.

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 for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at  for $6.99