Africa has always been a troubled continent, intensely exploited and savagely colonized, leaving behind an ignominious trace in the racist appellation of ‘apartheid’,
Africa has always been a troubled continent, intensely exploited and savagely colonized, leaving behind an ignominious trace in the racist appellation of ‘apartheid’, a slur on the face of humankind. But then, those like me who have served in the ‘Dark Continent’ (I did three of my postings there, one in inner Black Africa and the others in two small islands of the Indian Ocean) would attest to the fact that the Africans are a fiercely nationalistic people, draw great pride in their continent as the ‘cradle of civilization’, and rightly so.
I also recall my meeting with the late President of Senegal, Leopold Sedar Senghor where he elaborated on his grandiose theory of the Negroid Africans having been linked with the Dravidian Indians geographically as well as anthropologically. He recounted his research on ancient Gondwanaland which he said was a huge mass of land joining the African continent with Asia in pre-historic times. We are one people, he said.
That vision has stayed in me as I look around the world with astonishment to see it divided in caste constellations, the Blacks and the non-Blacks. And I, for one, having mingled with Africans in remote parts of the continent, thanks to my many subsequent visits, could never dream of people having to indulge in acts of racism in today’s world. Gandhi, in some of the latest commentaries, has been perceived to have taken up the Asian cause solely, for which he suffered retribution from the natives, during his long innings in Africa, though at the end of it, he had moulded himself into a leader of peace and non-violence and given the world the famous mantra of ‘Satyagraha’. And Nelson Mandela, the most prominent African of the 20th century, in battling all his life against apartheid would invoke Gandhi’s method of peaceful non-cooperation again and again.