Decolonisation of Africa will require much more than the dismantling of statues of prominent colonial personalities and embarking on the renaming campaign of African places and sites. But foremost and importantly, it will require the decolonisation of the African mind.
Those both in and outside Africa, motivated by the ongoing dismantling of statues of notorious White slave traders and/or owners like Edward Colston and notorious colonial figures such as Cecil Rhodes across Europe and North America, and as such, are agitating and calling for the decolonisation of Africa by dismantling similar statues, re-naming roads, streets, buildings, water bodies and many more things named after colonial figures across Africa; should remember and consider that African institutions, such as governments, the military, police are colonial institutions (structures) through and through. Not to forget, of course, Christianity and the education system and their impact on the African mind.
If they must, and before they knock down and dismantle statues, they must ask themselves: Which one is more (directly) harmful to them today?
The inanimate statues of White colonial figures or the[ir] colonial institutions?
What about that colonially educated African mind; the fountain of a colonised African?
One could even stretch it further and contend that an African (today) is a symbol or, without being obnoxious, a human statue of colonialism; a living reminder of colonialism in Africa and how it’s perpetuated through an African and the African mind.
It leaves one wondering and therefore, asking:
which colonial symbol or statue wreaks more havoc and poses more threat in Africa today?
Which one must be removed?
Where should the decolonisation process begin?
This is a question of form vs substance. Of reality vs hypocrisy.
Decolonisation in Africa will require much more than removing statues of colonial figures, renaming African streets, roads, buildings, water bodies and other many things named after colonial figures. Or even abandoning colonial so-called “Christian”, sometimes called “God’s” names and replacing them with “real” (whatever that means) African names.
That Africans, unquestioningly, feel the need to carry and still carry (give their children) what they call “religious” names, is proof that the African mind is a colonised mind.
I am yet to meet a White European – French, English, German et cetera – with an African (generic) name for the same or similar reason[s], especially religious ones, Africans have European (or White people’s) names for.
Removing statues of colonial figures, renaming African streets, roads, buildings, water bodies and other many things named after colonial figures will not, except perhaps for the superficial joy and victory of it, have any significant effect on the African mind. Because the colonised, i.e, colonially educated African mind is where it all lies.
The colonised, i.e, colonially educated African mind is the temple of the evil it purports to fight by attacking and with great joy, crushing the insignificant vestiges of its physical form, while with great zeal and pride, protects its cradle and maintains (perpetuates) its purpose by going through the process of formation (education) that makes it possible to easily recreate that which has been destroyed out of impulsive anger and reaction for momentary victory.
It’s akin to winning a fierce battle at the battlefield, after displaying and exhausting your tactics, strategies and weapons, weakening yourself while giving your enemy chance to know you- all you’ve got- inside and out. And the enemy goes on, thereafter, to win the war, with much ease despite having lost a fierce battle to you, for which you celebrated as if it was the final and defining battle to win the war.
Decolonisation in Africa will require, foremost- and fundamentally, the re-evaluation of (and if, possible, formatting) and, importantly, taking back the African mind. The African mind must be unchained and reclaimed from the chains of colonialism. The African mind is walking with colonial chains on but it has been thoroughly trained (educated) to accept and cherish the chains as its freedom.
Equally important, decolonisation in Africa and of the African mind will require the decolonisation of the colonisers’ mind. White people’s minds, i.e, White people’s colonial and racist attitude towards Africans must change; without which, the coloniser and his/her colonising mind will always undermine the colonised African mind and its effort and achievements to decolonise itself. Especially, and this will be made possible by the fact that, the education of the colonised African mind, is the education of the coloniser. Therefore, friction due to perceived superiority and inferiority on the basis of colonial history and particularly its continued legacy of a colonial education, will always exist.