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IN a letter to SRC presidents, titled ‘Write What I Like’ in 1978, Steve Biko wrote; “Black consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time. Its essence is the realisation by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression – the blackness of their skin – and to operate as a group to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude.”

As the nation of emaSwati ponders and debates on what we want our future to look like, I just wonder if we know who we are as a people or that our identity has been defined for us by our former colonial masters. Unfortunately we are about to be recolonised yet again by Red China. As Biko put it, ‘we are on our own’ and, yes, we have no one in our corner – Africa. All the colonial powers only see our minerals and how we can be exploited for their benefit.

Africa’s new colonial master

It is amazing how a former slave to the British is now poised to become a superpower and the new African colonial master inside a few decades. We have watched the map of Africa turn red as one African state after another joins an alliance with Mainland China. In fact the whole Asian continent has industrialised much faster than Africa. China was poorer in GDP terms than most African countries in 1960, 58 years ago. At the September 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, China pledged a US$60 billion aid package to Africa. The figure included project financing, investment, grants, concessional loans and credit lines. This aid package tells two stories – China’s extraordinary social and economic development and Africa’s stagnation.

Deng Xiaoping, his four modernisations

My favourite quote from Deng Xiaoping is; “Keep a cool head and maintain a low profile. Never take the lead, but aim to do something big.” Do something big he did with his ‘four modernisations’. Xiaoping launched his four modernisations in 1978. These were industry, agriculture, technology and defence. Xiaoping’s strategy soon inspired far-reaching market-economy reforms that subsequently turned China into the world’s second largest economy with a GDP of US$12 trillion. That is how China lifted 800 million people out of poverty. How he did this is for another day but I just wanted to draw my readers attention to the cool head and low profile strategy. Nothing describes China’s success better.  

Making of slave

“The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed,” said Biko. The making of a slave by Willie Lynch gives a perfect description of how the mind of Africans was used and is presently being used by the oppressor many years after Africa gained political independence. The William Lynch speech, also known as the Willie Lynch letter, is an address purportedly delivered by a William Lynch or Willie Lynch to an audience on the banks of the James River in Virginia in 1712, regarding the control of slaves within the colony. The letter purports to be a verbatim account of a short speech given by a slave owner, in which he tells other slave masters that he has discovered the ‘secret’ to controlling slaves by setting them against one another. There are many who have since described this literature as fiction but it is amazing how close it is to our African reality.

Destruction of male slave

Lynch said the male slave must be destroyed mentally and physically in the eyes of the female slaves and her children by public humiliation. He said one of the strongest and most rebellious males slave must be whipped and then killed (pulled apart by houses) to put fear and submission into the women slaves. He further said the other male slaves must also be whipped to submission until the women slaves saw them as not real men to depend on. African fathers are no longer able to function effectively due to chronic unemployment and loss of self-esteem. The woman slave will always train her offspring to respect the master (western teachings /beliefs) and never question them. The African women have long lost faith in African men. They are training their male children to get a western education to find a good white-collar job, work hard until they retire and get a pension. They do not ask questions or get into real businesses, which are reserved for the master. If he decides to be smart and tries to get out of this trap, then hardship awaits, possibly ending in jail or in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. African governments wait on foreign investments from the master and feed only from the hands of the master as Africans don’t know how to hunt anymore.

Divide to rule the African

Lynch insisted that the African slave must never unite; ask Gadhafi and the Libyan story because it tells it all. They must be kept apart, physically, through useless national borders, which China never had to deal with. Africans must be kept apart mentally through useless imaginary statuses or physical differences. The feeling of importance because of a bigger country, lighter skin tone, taller, royal birth or level of education are all tools used effectively. Political affiliation in the name of democracy and rights are also used. Then religious beliefs just fragment Africa into weak pockets benefiting and self-enrichening a few but creating unnecessary hate and division.


Africa is about to be recolonised by Red China again. Eswatini is bravely staying out for now. The first colonisers brought ‘civilisation’ and made us slaves physically, mentally and took our minerals. The Chinese are bringing industrialisation and infrastructure development and will also take our freedom and our natural resources. We need unity and Ubuntu. Comment septembereswatini@gmail.com

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