Peace and love be in your house.
At the start of my journey to Masailand, Kenya, I thought I was going to be cut off from the world.
The answer is yes and no. I am working with my longtime friend, Bishop Manasseh Mankuleyo of the Kenya Evangelical Faith Church. I am taking part in workshops about self-governing churches and the role of faith as we witness for Christ.
I was surprised to find that herdsmen carry flip Nokia phones in their skirts. Therefore, the Masai and the church, are as much in contact with and influenced by world events as we are.
We learn new things every day.
While I was in the bishop’s communications centre, I tuned in to one of your brilliant contributions about the new global South owning its narrative. In my short journey from the US, I began to appreciate your thesis that the imperialists have gone ahead of us, sowing a narrative of discord and disrespect for people of colour.
As we passed through Dubai, we visited a public restaurant in the heart of the city. Of the eight customers, two of us were black. We were stopped and asked for identification. Our white brothers protested. When I showed him my US passport, he was filled with awe because I could file a complaint.
The African American leader, Dr. Martin Luther King observed, that the black colour has been associated with poverty and stupidity. Our historical achievements in Kemet were whitewashed.
- Who decides the Africa we want?
- Letter from America: Triplicate: Private letter to Brother Brian Kagoro
Nevertheless, we must carry some of the blame.
The new leadership, like Kenya’s President William Ruto is trying to root out some causes of self-disrespect.
In this he faces a contradiction. When Ruto realised that white visitors from Europe do not need visas to enter Kenya, while black brothers from the Diaspora and neighbouring countries do, he was flabbergasted.
While, with the stroke of a pen, he abolished visas for children of Afrika, he was on a mission last week to persuade Germany to take 5 000 Kenyan labourers per week.
The plight of Kenyan migrants in Europe confirms eternal disrespect.
The irony in all this is that Africa is the richest continent in the world. Therefore, poverty is self-induced.
“Child don’t be ridiculous. Nobody respects a poor man.” My mother, daughter of the Rainbird, drilled that wisdom into my thick brain.
The key for Kenya and Africa is self-internalization, and the development of African economies towards self-sufficiency.
The estimated total raw tea sales from Uganda bought at US$ 24 million fetched USD240 million in Europe when packaged.
Similarly, Lithium Metal Highly Purified (LMHP) from Bikita Minerals was quoted at US$ 98.8 per kilo on the US market but less than US$ .06 cents when sold in its raw form.
Social media, by acting as the schoolmaster for African pan-Africanists, become a vehicle for total liberation.
But I think there is another deeper reason why we are still universally disrespected today. On a previous journey, I landed at Johannesburg Airport. The American Airways 747 was too large to dock so we were transported from about a mile away into the harbor. I was the only person of colour. I was stopped by a South African brother and asked for identification.
I said to him in Zulu, “Wena WeZulu, how come you have picked on only one of your own for identification, leaving all these AmaBhunu free to roam and do as they like?” Then like St. Paul, I said to the brother, “Wena bakithi, though I am one of you, son of Mpofu, born of the Rainbird mother, I am a Roman citizen like these Amabhunu.” I showed him my US passport.
“Wena mtaka kaMpofu,” the brother begged me to forgive him.
Brother Brian, you are perfectly correct in that we have been brushed with a narrative that we are nothing in the universe and we have swallowed it hook and sinker.
If we take 1960 as the benchmark for independence from Europe, we can ask ourselves, surely this stupid narrative that people of color are worse than useless should have been remedied a long time ago.
Africans still do stupid things.
Two years ago, I arranged for a group of African American builders to travel to Kenya to help build a creche for Bishop Mankuleyo. We bought our tickets but could not get visas. The questions asked by the Visa authority were ridiculous. What is the name of your mother? Name of your father? When was he born? Whom are you visiting in Kenya? What is the name of your hotel? What is your home address? Give us your present-day photo? The passport photo is not acceptable.
Now you will say, Ken, you are being too critical.
Nigerian cement manufacturer Aliko Dangote visited his neighboring country, former French colony Niger. He was asked similar questions. He then took the Immigration officer aside and asked him what the fuss was about. Frenchmen are not asked these questions. The officer said they were trying to catch “bad guys” sneaking into Niger to cause jihad. Dangote asked if the jihadists pass through immigration gate for their purpose. Do jihadists need passports?
Then to his surprise, Niger was buying cement from China when his cement depot was 150 miles across the border.
I come now to my mission among the Masai. Bishop Mankuleyo decided thirty years, to adhere to this one principle. When he returned to his native village in Ngong, he swore that while he will accept help from white people, he will not allow them to head any of his mission stations. He wanted the natives to be interpreters of their own Christin message.
As if guided by the Holy Spirit, one of his white sons in the gospel, lived and worked among the Masai, went to Britain and when he came back, he became an apostle of homosexual lifestyles in the church. He had to excommunicate him.
*Ken Mufuka is a Zimbabwean patriot. He writes from the US.