Welcome to the dawn of the new slave trade. The Arabs started it, America has had their turn and now China is turning the screws as it is announced that a Chinese steel firm is to invest in a $700m iron ore processing plant in Sierra Leone.
It has always been my belief that no lessons have been learnt even after the slave trade ended. We cry and gnash our teeth over the injustice of it all; the sheer violence and terrorism that was meted out to us and our kind for centuries. But I also know many Nigerians who swear that Nigeria only started going downhill since we gained independence. Many people who would happily be back under colonial rule. Nigerians who believe that we cannot rule ourselves; that it is not possible for a Black man to rule his own people in a just and fair manner.
But this is the New Slave Trade. Wypipo will not need chains and restraints to rape, pillage and enslave us once more. They merely need to be a shade or two lighter, and we ourselves will tell them they are superior. I have seen Lebanese people talk to my Nigerian brothers – kings of Oodua and Chukwu – as though they were something he scraped off the bottom of his shoe. Lebanese! I mean…Lebanon! But I digress.
The reason I know that restraints will not be needed is because the New Slave Trade is upon us already. We sell our birthrights for a chance to come abroad and sweep streets. Indeed, we mortgage everything we own and hold dear for a chance to live “in the foreign” – without any future thought as to what said life might hold.
We give them stakes, shares, bonds and boons on our soil. They get special treatment while our kind wilt in the sun. Their demons tread where our angels fear to breathe. They own the best hotels, mineral resources, schools and hospitals in Mother Africa – resources that the average African has no access to.
We pray to their gods and kill our fellow man over which of our slave owners’ gods they should follow. We have never lifted a finger in Sango’s defence (not that any god worth his salt should need defending), but we routinely decimate communities over Christ or Allah. Because slave is as slave does.
And by Jove, let these pale skinned gods come down to our level – oh, the unadulterated joy! You have not seen a Nigerian more in love with his culture than when a White person tries it. What??? That oyinbo ate jollof rice?? What glory! Wait, that white bride danced shoki at her wedding reception to a Yoruba man? I guess I can die now; I’ve seen all the wonders the earth has to offer.
The orgasms that raged relentlessly following Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Nigeria is proof of our nauseating grovelling servitude. “Look at him! So rich and he only wears a t-shirt! So rich and jogging on our bridge, just mixing with us!” It is a wonder they did not fall to their knees, bowing “We’re not worthy! we’re not worthy!”
So, what do you think are the odds of Zucky-Boy putting out a memo saying he needs 50,000
slaves IT-staff to help run his plantation company and Nigerians turning him down? Or you think he read about Nigeria on TripAdisor and thought it would be a nice spot for a break? You think he hasn’t taken the agile young minds we are brewing into consideration? Us and Kenya?
What are the chances of the Chinese sticking to whatever laws Sierra Leone might have in place for foreign labour? The same way MTN sticks so steadfastly to our rules in Nigeria?
The Americans have handed over the baton to the Chinese. While doing it, they said “Yeah, we gave them freedom a few decades ago. The whole thing has been a mess. Perhaps try another method?” So the Chinese have exchanged shiny mirrors for investment in our own iron ore.
And we said “Thank you.”
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