Another Story, Burna Boy’s music video, released before the October 1st celebration in commemoration of Nigeria’s independence starts with a narrative on the 1960 Independence.
The music video begins with a voice that has a British accent making a commentary about how the British acquired the region now known as Nigeria from the Royal Niger Company. Images on a black and white TV, of a fluttering Union Jack and a parade, tells the story of the Independence Day.
What is striking about the beginning of the video is the metaphor of young Africans in a classroom, blindfolded with colonialism, poverty and many other things Africa has suffered and still suffers, and where an old man shakes his head in pity for their ignorance of the truth – Africa died when it had barely begun living. That image is a very powerful one, as it bears many truths about Africa.
Young people in Africa, are told that the history of their countries are inauthentic, especially if it was not told by the Western media or scholars. Elaborate funding is made available for African scholars in the West, in the form of fellowships and research programs where the intellectual dependency on the West is further entrenched. They tell us our institutions are never enough, the evidence of our education is worthless because the West thinks so. The validation of our institutions and our best minds must come from them, so we never celebrate a scholar until the West does. Despite that Nigeria and Ghana have come several years from the dates of their independence, there is very little that could be shown, when it took Singapore just about the same amount of time to become a fully-fledged First World state.
The story of Nigeria is the story of the rest of Africa.
It is as perplexing as it could ever get if a British public official could have said ‘Nigeria is fantastically corrupt,’ when many times the complicity of Nigeria’s corruption is not far from the precedence set by the British colonial history in Nigeria. The war over Africa’s resources transcends the violence and the pockets of conflicts in some poverty-ridden communities in Africa that are often seen as inter-ethnic. The war is over the souls of Africans too. Unfortunately, Africa’s Age of Enlightenment is yet to come at a time when African leadership is often a set of the poorest candidates, or foisted upon oligarch charlatans by an obscene inheritance of power. Such is the story of post-colonial Africa.
Nigeria’s history from the time of the Scramble for Africa till now is the story of the entire continent. Imperialism, economic parasitism, hypocritical empathy and fraudulent generosity are the characteristic traits of the relationship between Africa and her colonizers. It gets even more interesting when Africa fights over the attention of the West, in getting credit ratings and positive reviews from Western institutions like the Bretton Woods institutions, while yet, the impressive economic figures do not reflect the struggle of Africa’s most wretched, who are in the majority.
African leaders often ignore the fact that the toils and enthusiasm of nation-building, are not expressed in fancy United Nations speeches, and getting back-pats from world leaders. The tragedy of Africa is having had its development interrupted by the mercantilistic viciousness with which the future of Africa was decided by strangers who did not care to understand its ways, people, geography and cultures.
The concept of Africa is endangered. This is true when the truths about the history of Africa are left to fester, and young people do not question what the West say about Africa.
The concept of Africa is endangered.
There is a new generation of Africans who find African things disgusting. They have no faith in the indigenous technologies and the healing systems of Africa. They insist that it is foolish to think that the white man does not have all the answers. To their minds, Africa is hell, the West is a heaven that God must have mistakenly created on earth. Gradually, it is becoming true that the West might one day teach us how to be Africans again.
Through the opening of our minds, we have forgotten that a cultural contact should necessarily lead to an integration, and not a total replacement. The violence of the truth about what has befallen Africa is not to be hidden, it is to be accepted in all its hideousness. Africa does not need talks from United Nations summits that romanticize its failures, and Africa needs not embrace its failures as its written destiny by a racist god, who must dramatize its demonstrated contempt for the brown skin through afflictions of poverty and shamelessness.
Africa must begin to think for itself and it must understand that a future not taken charge of, would take charge of its owner. There is a reflective content in Burna Boy’s Another Story that reminds all black nations where we are coming from. It is a reminder that we must not accept failure just because it has been foisted on us. Only then can we navigate our way into a prosperous future.