I always noticed that in Western countries immigrants are wont to gather into communities of nationality. Communities with the purpose of self (specific population) livelihood. It’s not only about a cultural affiliation, but more like an economic social structure, a small society included in a bigger one. The most notable examples are the Chinese and Arab communities, sometimes so well-extended and structured to constitute major cities districts/neighbourhoods. Where I’m from (Milan) you can visit China town, not so far from the city centre, where almost everything is Chinese, restaurants, grocery stores, indications, etc. Probably, 90% of the people living there are Chinese and you can see that every business is operated by Chinese working for other Chinese. It’s literally a small Chinese state into the Italian one, powered by its own domestic economy. I also had a little astonishing experience living in Rosengard, a little neighbourhood at the edge of Malmo, Sweden ( It could interesting to know that is where Zlatan Ibrahimovic comes from).
When from Malmo you step over the Rosengard bus station it’s like teleporting in whichever village in the Middle East. I’ve never seen a Swedish with Nordic features living there (I’m overdoing it) where everything was Arabic, all the people walking around, all the names on the intercoms, markets, and even the main shopping mall. More specifically, Rosengard is composed of specific communities of nationality (Somalis, Syrians, Iranians, etc.) all together bound by the Arabic language and religion (Islam), forming one big Arabic community powered by its domestic economy likewise the Chinese one.
But when It comes with African (sub-Saharan) communities, what are we really talking about!?
Probably Africans form the most numerous conglomeration of foreign immigration/settlement and yet I’ve never seen or heard about successful self-powered African communities. I mean, we have our connections, we make parties, crazy events, but when it comes to conservatism, cultural education, and domestic economics, we prove to be abortive.
Returning to the Chinese communities, I noticed and corroborated that Chinese are very far from the spotlight, noiseless, nearly as enclosed to their productive invisible Asian “Wakanda”. They are very conservative about their culture. They work for themselves, hire within themselves, and buy from themselves, galvanizing their own domestic economy. No wonder why China is becoming one of the most powerful nations and probably will end up controlling a big slice of the world ( if not they are already doing it).
I wouldn’t say the same thing for Africans… I noticed and corroborated that sub-Saharan Africans make a lot of noise, a lot of smoke with very little meat on the grill, and suffer a very Big Competition Complex with their fellow brothers. We don’t trust each other and we always try to get the upper hand over ourselves. We strive and struggle so hard to be accepted into a foreign society, alienating away from our roots, or better, we want to prevail as individuals into an external system while we should prevail as a collective body over the external system!
And I always asked myself: “Why is that!?!?!”
The most predictable answer is colonization and slavery, which is correct and I will get back to this later on, but let’s be honest, there’s no immaculate human population in this earth, totally pure of heart. Civilizations might have different values and breakthrough methods but always shared covetousness over wealth, food and territory (even if, exterminating entire populations, occupying their lands, importing and exterminating other populations from another continent, successively exploiting them for centuries to build your nation and wealth and then claiming that “was only about the past and everybody should forget about it” is a little bit too insane…).
Human history testifies that, given the opportunities, every population had been inclined to oppress and prevail. Probably, considering 10.000 certified years of human activity, there hasn’t been any ethnic group that never committed atrocities over the others.
Therefore, we have been the victims (and still are), but that doesn’t mean that we are the gentle lambs without the stain of original sin. Further, we are suffering from stupid race supremacy, but somehow, in reality, we are helping the oppressor.
In my opinion, the answer to the African community failure could be tracked within family relations and how we get educated since childhood.
Obviously, I can’t speak for everybody, this is just an assessment deriving from my modest personal experience (even though it has been shared by many).
We get educated to be wily (astute in a malicious way) and not benevolent. We keep hearing that showing feelings is a sign of weakness, while is totally the opposite (showing feelings is brave), and so we grow to accumulate our frustrations, thus augmenting our ineptitude in regard of transparent relations and family stability (surely we do not boast for our paternal presence records). We get harshly reprimanded with detachment and insolence, confusing it a sign of love, and consequently, we learn to approach life with contentiousness. As far as love, we are taught that love is revealed by worldly satisfaction and not simple inner appreciation. We are taught to make it on our own because “only real men make it by themselves”, not considering that this instruction would only consolidate our individualism. We are taught to be very religious but in the African reality the most important things are money, then social status (your job), and then God, making us fade away from spiritual growth and celebrate our obtuseness (probably a needy like Jesus would have been despised and denigrated in our “so spiritual elevated African societies!”).
We are taught that women are options, not complements, and men are financial securities, not accomplices. We are taught to learn something just as a function of economic gain, we don’t get educated to pursue and embrace subjects of culture like arts, philosophy, ethos, spirituality, psyche, history, or any other type of soul food. These subjects are not interesting because we believe not to have that imperative economic return. Sad to realize that our “godly” existence is merely driven by materialistic schemes. The reality is that the greatest civilizations (also the African ones) built their foundation over these subjects but we keep ignoring them, and probably that is why we are incapable to assemble and illustrate our own historical narration, depriving ourselves to identify in a culture for which We should take pride of.
Through this ideology, We keep feeding our subtle self-hate! How can you build your own self-powered domestic economy with fellow individuals that deep down you can’t stand with (because you hate)!?!? Or, how can you valorize and glorify a land that you don’t really care about because apparently seems not to have given something in exchange? Well, you reap what you sow! Are these educational features going to help our case!? I guess not!
Now, It’s not only us to blame! The colonization and slavery thing is real! For centuries we have been victims of a repugnant trade launched by the Arabs and then inherited and consolidated by the Europeans. We have been looted of our own wisdom cultures and land ownership (and still are) and consecutively, we embraced values and ideologies that occurred to be alien and poisonous to our system, thus heralding our cultural decadence. All of this made us covet the oppressor lifestyle and its prosperity, forgetting about our own.
Cultural decadence is real but not everlasting. I just think about nations and populations throughout the time, being lustrous for centuries just as being shadowy for millenniums. We can find the most noticeable up-to-date case in our present, where English appears to be the international connecting language between almost every nation, and Western values (of a Celtic, Gaul and other German/Nordic ethnicities imprint) became the mainstream ordinariness, just as it was for Latin and the Romans way before. Funny to realize that those Nordic, German/Gauls populations were considered barbaric and retrograde by the advanced and sophisticated Mediterranean people. But “somehow”, those inferior tribes got educated, had power, and flipped the picture. In fact, the former flourishing Mediterranean lands have turned to be the major organized crime headquarters, being unproductive and damaged by a vigorous and relentless corruption (just give a look at the situation of present-day Southern Italy, Greece, North African and Middle-East countries).
What I am trying to say is that it might not have been our fault for this decadence (even if it is to a small percentage), but surely it’s our responsibility to CHANGE! And change happens from ourselves and within ourselves. “You cannot change your fate if you are not willing to change your thoughts and lifestyle.”
Probably one day, we will stop competing as individuals among ourselves but rather we will start to compete with other nations as a collective! And, I don’t mean to exalt bellicose intervention, but rather to exalt the formation of intellectual ranks of young Africans carrying and promulgating local tech, food and geography (fostering tourist attractions), traditional medicine, spirituality and philosophy and eventually, new alternative social structures (this should require another article).
Still, in terms of competition with your own kind, I’d like to remember one historical fact about the formation of Brazil (just because I know more about the dynamics). It probably has nothing to do with all of this but it makes sense to me!
Before the Portuguese managed to conquer and survive in today’s Brazilian lands, the Natives were far superior in number and bellicose performance (even though the Portuguese were better armed and organized). Many times the Portuguese were defeated, sometimes at the brink of repatriation, but when necessary, they always played the trump card, an old Roman trick. The natives were blinkered by their longtime tribal wars as if it was an essential tradition. Of course, their lifestyle was more genuine and nature-related, they couldn’t understand the European lust for land and materialistic accumulation, and when the Portuguese showed up as God-fearing friends, overflowing with good intentions, gifts and promises, their naivety made them band together to fight their neighboring brothers. Natives and Portuguese fought together against other natives, and when the common enemy was destroyed, promptly the Portuguese were betraying their allies with another tribe. Sometimes they didn’t even have to join the clashes, their mission was merely to sic tribe against tribe. In other words, the natives themselves (driven by the Portuguese) have been the very first cause of their own extinction. If only they could have seen further and realized that the common enemy wasn’t the neighboring tribe, probably they wouldn’t have fought each other, but rather, they would have come together to vanquish the REAL common enemy: the Portuguese. The Romans were calling it as: “Divide et Impere” (Divide and Rule).