Robert Mugabe and His Contribution to Africa

Robert Mugabe Ave in Namibia_3
Robert Mugabe Avenue, next to the Parliament, in Windhoek, Namibia

Namibia’s Founding President Sam Nujoma has described the late Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe as one of the continent’s most iconic leaders who fought for the liberation of his country and that of Africa at large. “He will be remembered as one who stood firm when others wavered. He was an iconic Pan-Africanist,” Nujoma said.

Robert Mugabe_7
Zimababwe’s President Robert Mugabe chants Zanu PF slogans with supporters gathered at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare, Wednesday May 3, 2000. Mugabe launched the Zanu PF’s election manifesto which bears the slogan “Land is the Economy and the Economy is Land”. (AP Photo/Christine Nesbitt)

Robert Mugabe’s contribution to the freedom of Namibia, and all of Southern Africa and Central Africa is so immense that there are streets named after him throughout the region; for instance, an avenue bears his name in downtown Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. He worked tirelessly for the liberation of most of Southern Africa, including his very own country of Zimbabwe. Many countries such as Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa (with the fall of the Apartheid regime), Angola, owe their freedom to his unwavering support. Even in the  Democratic Republic of the Congo, (DRC), his support, sending troops there, helped avert total chaos. Joseph Kabila, former president of the DRC said, “We will forever remember the worthy son of Africa, who came to our rescue when our country was victim of a foreign aggressor. The continent has lost one of its pan-African leaders, a hero of independence.

Don’t agree with everything you read online, in the Western newspapers. When an African leader stands for his people and is fighting for their freedom, the western press calls him a dictator, a heretic: Laurent Gbagbo, Muammar KadhafiKwame Nkrumah at the end of his life, Sekou TouréPatrice Lumumba, … When he serves western interests in pillaging his country, he is a democrat and a friend: Paul Biya, Omar BongoAlassane Ouattara,  Mobutu Sese Seko, and countless others. Pay attention and you will see… and since the media are controlled by the west, we get a different version, very far from reality.

Robert Mugabe - Fidel Castro in Namibia1
Map of Windhoek’s city center on the plate of the National Museum of Namibia, showing the Robert Mugabe Ave and the Fidel Castro St., as well as the Sam Nujoma Ave.

Everybody is stricken by some amnesia and forgets that the economic problems of Zimbabwe stemmed from economic sanctions imposed on them by Western powers such as the UK, US, and Europe. Before Mugabe fought for land restoration, he was knighted by the Queen of England, when he asked for the land of his forefathers to be returned to their rightful owners, he became a dictator. Go figure!

No wonder, Julius Malema of the EFF said “We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember [Robert Mugabe]; we know our heroes.”

 

Libya and Slavery: Sheep without a Shepherd

Slavery_capture
Slave capture

For several weeks now, we have seen many people scream loud about the enslavement of Black people in Libya. I have seen Claudy Siar, whom I love, stand up outraged about the treatment of Black people in Libya, yet, I did not see him outraged when Libya was being bombed by NATO; I did not see him this outraged when migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea; I have not seen him outraged because MartiniqueGuadeloupe (where his family is from), and French Guiana, have been deprived of independence and are still Overseas territories of France today. I saw Samuel Eto’o and other footballers come out outraged, yet… I never saw Eto’o outraged that there are no roads to go to his village in Cameroon, I never saw him outraged that international companies exploit huge plantations in Cameroon without paying taxes (was he outraged when Lapiro de Mbanga was imprisoned for asking those companies to pay some little taxes?). I never saw these big footballers outraged that African youths are unemployed largely due to their presidents working hand-in-hand with European interests. Faure Gnassingbé, president of Togo even raised his voice against the enslavement of Africans in Libya, and was outraged! Are you serious, when he inherited the throne, presidency of Togo, after 38 years of Gnassingbé Eyadéma, his father’s reign? Alpha Blondy never said a word when Côte d’Ivoire was being bombed by France in 2011, yet today he opens his mouth for Libya, and wants the migrants to take up arms! Seriously?

Libya, the Prey of the West
Libya, the Prey of the West

I do not understand why we always act like sheep without a shepherd! Back in the middle of the 2000s, we were served with the genocide in Darfur, when Hollywood stars such as George Clooney came out in numbers claiming to care about the plight of the Black man, and saying that the Black people of Darfur Sudan were enslaved by their lighter skinned Sudanese brothers. This led to the creation of South Sudan, and Darfur, well… nothing happened in Darfur… so it had all been a scheme to split Sudan into 2, and take away its rich southern oil fields from the nation itself!

Children begging
Children begging

Do you think that African youths, if they had jobs in their countries, will not stay home? Do you think that if the FCFA was not this tax imposed on African countries (The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa), they will not be developed? This outrage I hear should not be taken out on Libyans who had no say when their country was bombed by the Coalition that is NATO, but rather against our presidents who continue to stay in the FCFA zone (FCFA: France’s Colonial Tax on Africa), who continue to give at least 50% of our economies to France! France gets $500 Billions every year from 14 countries in Africa just from the currency, plus of course the free uranium of Niger, the free gold of Mali, the free plantations of Cameroon, the free cocoa of Côte d’Ivoire, etc. This has to stop! Our outrage cannot be taken out on Libyans, but rather on NATO, and now more than ever on those puppets that we call our presidents, who serve the interests of the Hexagon. Get out of the FCFA zone, and create jobs! Stop importing pencils, pens, and food, when you can grow and make your own and become sustainable economies to serve your youths! Africa is the continent with the youngest population, and with so many resources, and thus so much to develop! Africa is the future!

500 Fcfa_BEAO
500 Fcfa_BEAO

Yesterday, I heard a talk by Robert Bourgi who was the adviser to so many African presidents, good servants of Imperialist forces: MobutuOmar Bongo, etc; and he said that, what Africans were asking for was governmental alternance, i.e. election of new presidents. NO, we do not need new presidents who are just puppets of the West like Macky Sall or Alassane Ouattara who will sign off our future to the IMF and World Bank. We need a definite change, we want to be in charge of our economic destiny; we want to have our own currency, we do not want to pay a colonial tax when our forefathers died in WWI and WWII to liberate the French and the whole of Europe, when our ancestors were taken into slavery by Europeans to the Americas where their sweat was used to build Western economies. We want economic freedom to decide on our own terms whether we live or die. We will rather be poor with our own currency, than be a happy slave with a fake currency pegged to the Bank of Paris, which used to take 85% of our revenues and now takes 50%. All the same, We have had enough! So our outrage should not be at our Libyan brothers, because we do know that our true Libyan brothers will never do that, Khadafi fought for us Africans to be free from imperialist forces, but to our presidents, to our elites, who refuse to free us, who refuse to stand up and seize the moment! We, the people, want freedom, economic freedom! No More FCFA!

Why the name: Kinshasa?

Boulevard of 30 June, in Kinshasa
Boulevard of 30 June, in Kinshasa

Today I would like to talk about Kinshasa, the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  It is located on the Congo River, which happens to be Africa’s largest river, the deepest river in the world, and the third largest in the world by the volume it discharges.  Kinshasa is a city of over 9 million inhabitants and directly faces Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo: these two sister cities are separated only by the river Congo (the only place in the world where two capitals of two countries face each other). Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois.

When did it all start? Well, Kinshasa was founded in 1881 as a trading post by the explorer Henry Morton Stanley who named it Leopoldville in honor of the Belgian king Leopold II, who controled the immense territory of DRC as his private property and not just as a colony.  Prior to 1920, all goods arriving by sea in Congo were carried by porters from Matadi (the main port city of Congo), and Leopoldville over 150 km from the coast.  From 1886 to 1926, Boma (located on the Congo estuary) was the capital of the Belgian Congo; but after 1926, Leopoldville became the capital.

Kinshasa, seen from the Congo river
Kinshasa, seen from the Congo river

In 1965, Joseph-Desire Mobutu who had risen to power after coups d’etat against Patrice Lumumba in 1960, and a second one in 1965,  renamed the city Kinshasa in an effort to africanize the names of the people and places in the country.  Kinshassa was the name of a village which used to be near the site of the present city.  In Kikongo, Kinshasa means “the salt market“:nshasa = salt” and locator ‘ki‘.

The region of Pool Malebo, where Kinshasa is located, has been inhabited since at least the first millenium before our era.  However, before colonization, different Bantu groups have occupied the area.  During the 16th and 17th centuries, the region of Pool Malebo became a major commercial hub between the river basin and the coastal regions.  The Bobangis (also called Bangala, or people of the river) managed the major part of the commerce with the equatorial forest by navigating the river up to the Téké villages of Pool.  During the 18th and 19th centuries, more villages develop themselves in the area, which became known as the Batéké plateau.  The principal Téké villages were Nsasa with almost 5,000 inhabitants, and Ntambo with at least 3,000.  By the time Henry Morton Stanley reached the area on 12 March 1878, the region was already home to 66 villages, and a total population of over 30,000 inhabitants.  Stanley chose this location as it was the area where the Congo river became navigable.

Map of the DRC
Map of the DRC

By the time the city changed its name from Leopoldville to Kinshasa in 1966, the city rapidly grew due to rural exodus of people coming from all parts of the country in search of a better life.  In 1974, Kinshasa hosted ‘The Rumble in the Jungleboxing match, a historic match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, in which Ali defeated Foreman to regain the World Heavyweight title.  This has been one of Ali’s most famous matches: if you watch the movie Ali, you can see scenes of Kinshasa there.

Situated in an area belonging to the Batéké and Bahumbu people, the lingua franca of the city is the Lingala, while the administrative language is French.  Kinshasa is also a province of DRC (a bit like the district of Columbia in the US), and is the second largest francophone city in the world, after Paris.  Its current population is 9 million inhabitants, making it Africa’s second largest cities after Lagos in Nigeria.  Please check out the website for the city of Kinshasa, and Kinshasa-Congo travel to learn about the great city of music and art; I also liked the blog kosubaawate which goes through the evolution of Kinshasa then and now (i.e. before independence and now).  Enjoy the video below which I enjoyed for its quality, music, and of course its great content.