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Cry of the African hero

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AGBOGIDI became the African hero not because of the many people he had killed but because he defended African authenticity in the love of neighbour, hospitality and communal co-existence. Many years after his exit to the ancestral home, he was commissioned by the African ancestors to visit the modern Africa and see how the Africans were faring. On arrival, it was difficult for him to identify Africa. Things had changed over the years with the coming of technology and religious proliferation. African traditional leadership had given way to a new system of government which he misunderstood as “demon-crazy.” The actions of some political leaders to him, was something close to the madness of the demons. The African Hero was totally confused when he visited Gambia shortly after the breaking news on CNN on December 13, 2015: “Gambian President Yahya Jammeh had declared his Muslim-majority country an Islamic republic, saying the move marks a break with colonial past.” The African Hero thought that “a break with colonial past” was not enough reason to declare Gambia an Islamic republic.

He left Gambia and moved on to South Africa where he met a real “break with colonial past.” Thabo Mbeki, as Vice President of South Africa under the Presidency of Nelson Mandela had presented a speech, “I Am an African” on behalf of the African National Congress in Cape Town on May 8, 1996, on the occasion of the passing of the new Constitution of South Africa. The speech defined the political mood of the moment in post-Apartheid South Africa. The African hero rejoiced at the expressions of Thabo Mbeki: “I am an African. I owe my being to the hills and the valleys; the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land…” The African hero moved on to Guinea. There he found religious harmony in Camara Laye’s novel: “l’enfant noir” (1954), translated by James Kirkup as “the dark child” and later “the African Child.” In The African Child, Laye describes life, growing up as an African child in Guinea, West Africa. Deeply nostalgic, the book is an autobiography portraying a vision of Islamic and ancient African community in the pre-colonial era, a time when tradition engendered mutual understanding and respect for all (http://www.africabookclub.com/p.415). The peaceful co-existence between Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion in Guinea till date reveals that you can be a true Muslim and still be an authentic African.

Why then did the hero cry? The African hero cried that the true heroes and heroines of African had given up leadership to some hungry and greedy office holders who are misleading the people and destroying the future of the youths. He cried that some African leaders travel abroad to seek solutions to the very problems they claimed to have the key to demystify. The Africa hero cried that some modern African leaders have put in place a systematic structure to destroy the youths using religion to feed on the blood of innocent people. We must wipe the tears of the African ancestors by breaking away from the mentality of “African neo-colonialism” where some African leaders are wolves to fellow Africans!

• Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua wrote v ia omonokhuac@gmail.com


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