By Andile Mngxitama
In the midst of the numbing images and stories of slavery coming out of Libya, Africans wished for a superman-like figure to rescue us from the hell. In the absence of any decisive move by our African governments, we resorted to fantasy. A creative mind put together pictures which had nothing to do with the current Libyan slave trade and transformed the great Samuel Eto’o into the superman we crave. We experienced a collective sense of relief and pride. One of our own had taken a stand and freed our brothers and sisters from the hell of slavery in Libya.
King Eto’o was the saviour we conjured up in the delirium of disbelief as the body and soul separated, just as it did not so long ago as our Africaness was reduced into sub-humanness to give coherence to humanness. We held onto the fantasy even as the great Cameroonian soccer player clarified that he didn’t send any big aeroplane to rescue his country men from slavery. We refused to register the evidence that the pictures accompanying the story were taken a year ago.
Africa has been a void since the advent of slavery, first by the Arabs then the whites. In Arabic, a black person is equal to a slave – we are “abdi”. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi forged an African nationalism that sought to blacken the heart of Libya. He was taken out and the imagined Africaness of Libya evaborated with the landing NATO bombs. Atavistic anti-black sentiments laying dormant were unleashed as Libya retreated to the desert in the post-Gaddafi mayhem. Ironically, it was the bombs of our own black brother, Barack Obama, which made the return of the whip and auction block possible.
There is no escaping the truth that Arabs enslave Africans because we are black. There are no reports of the warring tribes enslaving each other in Libya. Would that be more profitable and justifiable?
Blacks are being enslaved not for any reason other than that our skin colour marks us out to be sold like tomatoes in an open market. No black is safe, hence we create a fantasy world to escape from the impossible state of being black in the world.
There is a disabling liturgy to confront black suffering. Think of the Raid on Entebbe by the Israelis to rescue their country men and women. You are hanging with feet suspended on rails upside down. You see the world from the vantage perspective of a chicken. You are a chicken with a price tag. The desert heat has your naked body near explosion. Dehydrated. You pray for a miracle as you drift in and our of consciousness. My Lord, my Lord why have you forsaken me? You open your eyes, the sun rushes in mercilessly, you smile in total disbelief. It’s a nightmare, you assure yourself. You hope the pirates of Somalia would soon land and slaughter your capturers. For how long have I been a chicken?
Africa is no longer home. Our countries are run for and by Europe and the USA. Without real African liberation, we are going to continue to brave the desert and the unforgiving oceans en route to the new world. In this new middle passage, we must prepare to be captured by the Arabs and the few who make it across the desert will be swallowed by Europe, if not the ocean itself.
Eto’o, Eto’o where are you?