When you look around us today, you will witness a lot of inertia around the Negro Race or what we generally call the black people. The black people can be found all over the world but are primarily located on the African Continent, from where they migrated to other parts of the world, mostly due to nomadic trading, search for a better life or land and the ills of Slave trading.
Delineating the African race can be cumbersome as they can be found in Africa, the Americas, including (but not limited) to Cuba, Brazil, Jamaica, the Netherlands and several Island countries etc. to make our study easier, we shall concentrate on Nigeria, a home to about 160million black people. Which suggests that out of every 3 black men, 1 of them is a Nigerian. A burdensome statistic? Follow me…
Too many stereotypes have been ascribed to the black race, most of it unfairly. But even when you look to debunk these unfounded allegations, we have a knack for bungling every opportunity to the point where one can almost conclude that the African race is cursed. But before we agree or disagree on the fact that we are a cursed race, what is actually a curse? The concise oxford English dictionary defines a curse as: “a solemn appeal to a supernatural power to inflict harm on someone or something”. So who could have cursed the black race?
The bible also teaches in Proverbs 26:2
“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come”. So it means something must trigger a curse, otherwise even if pronounced, it may not come into effect.
Let us do a little analysis of what I garner from people’s conversations. In Genesis 9:24 and 25 we read: “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren”. People over the years have claimed that Canaan was the progenitor of the black race, hence the reason we appear to be gliding backwards at every turn, despite abundant mineral and human resources available to us as Africans. But is this true? Are we the generation of Canaan?
In Genesis chapter 9 which we just read, the 22nd verse goes thus: ‘’And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without’’. Let us first establish the name of the individual who sinned. His name was Ham. The offence was committed by Ham. Shem and Japheth were those who covered up Noah, their father. So why wasn’t he cursed? Simple, Ham had already been blessed by the Almighty God in Genesis chapter 9 verse 1, and Noah understood the spiritual implication – he could not undo what God had done, so he made Canaan the scapegoat for the offence of his father.
In Genesis 10:6 we read: ‘’And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizrain, and Phut and Canaan….’’ Please note that Cush the firstborn of Ham was NOT CURSED. Furthermore note that Cush also means Ethiopia, who was the father of the black race of the world, and he was never cursed.
From the bible, we can deduce that God had plans for the Cushites or the black race. Moses’ father in law, Jethro the Midianite was black and we see how it was his wisdom and advise that enabled Moses to set up a sensible system of government that enabled him to administer the children of Israel after they left Egypt. You can read more in Exodus.
But what gave Jethro such wisdom in governance? There must have been precedence and a system. Let us quickly go back to the children of Ham again and see if we can get some answers. In Genesis 10:7 we read: ‘’And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan’’… Here we see Sheba and Dedan are described as being from the Cushite lineage.
Abraham in Genesis 25 married a woman named Keturah after the death of his wife Sarah and in verse 2 of the same chapter we read: ‘’And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.’’ The last son ‘Shua’, means to submit. it is also refereed to as Sheba in some versions of the scriptures. In verse 3 we read: ‘’ And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.’’ Jokshan was the second child of Keturah, so Sheba and Dedan were grandchildren of Abraham and Keturah.
Therefore the black race was also a partaker of the Abrahamic blessing and patrimony. These two names clearly belong to Cushites. So we can deduce that Keturah was also a black or Ethiopian woman.
Now to establish the dominance, wisdom and organizational skills of the black race, let us read Genesis 10 7-11: ‘’ And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah.” Nimrod was described as a mighty hunter and he started the Kingdom called Babel and I can prove from the Bible that civilization did begin from Africa.
Also the study of Palaeontology teaches that the first hominids evolved from Africa. According to paleontology, the early hominids’ skull anatomy was similar to that of the gorilla and chimpanzee; great apes that also evolved from Africa. But the hominids had adopted a bipedal locomotion and freed their hands. About 3 million years ago, several australopithecine hominid species had developed throughout southern, eastern and central Africa. They were tool users, not makers of tools. They scavenged for meat and were omnivores. Recent history also teaches us about the Nok culture, the Arabic Numerals and science etc
So with our rich heritage and history, both from the bible and secular history, why are we so backwards? Although Walter Rodney in his classic: ‘’How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’’ opined that much of our backwardness can be attributed to colonial and imperialistic Europeans and America, yet more than fifty decades after collective independence, why is Africa still the only continent where most of the countries are still disparagingly referred to as the ‘third world countries’ ? Could we say the colonialists are responsible for devilish men like Mobutu Seseko, idi Amin Dada, Robert Mugabe, Ibrahim Babangida, Olusegun Obasanjo, etc – Men who at one time or the other superintended over monumental stealing and plundering of the commonwealth of their various countries?
In Nigeria today, there is a government headed by a man who sheepishly watches on (oh,how I hate that sheepish grin of his!) as the wealth of the country is being frittered away. The entire euro zone seem ready to go burst any moment from now, yet we have had years of plenty before the current financial crises. In the bible, Egypt, an African nation sustained the world for seven years during a devastating crisis of famine and economic turmoil. Today Angola is bailing our former colonial master, Portugal, while Nigeria with her enormous oil wealth can hardly pay civil servants’ salary.
Not so long ago, we had stupendous foreign reserves and we were debt free, but since the advent of the current regime, our economy has been in a steady decline and the debt profile is at an alarming rate. While price of crude steadily ascended, Nigeria, the former 6th largest producer of crude, continues to wallow in abject poverty in a land where over 70% of the population,(that is about 112million people) are living well below the poverty line.
I submit therefore that the black race is not cursed, but that rather, we have been accursed by selfish and greedy men and women in leadership positions from our ranks; without conscience or fear of God. Last year, the Nigerian budget for the aviation ministry was N18bn while N20bn was spent in servicing aircrafts in the presidential fleet. As we speak, over N3trillion is yet to be accounted for in the petroleum ministry. Not one soul has been fired or arrested.
In a country full of intellectuals, the Federal Executive council wasted tax payers’ time, money and energy, deliberating on a nauseating ‘cassava bread policy’ as the main agenda of governance in an entire week. And you expect prosperity? The black race will only be emancipated the day true leaders, not accidental and unprepared political misfits, finally assume positions of leadership– men who will be accountable and prepared for the positions of leadership. I have shown that God has no problem with us as Africans or Nigerians; we are our own problems. Whoever must lead Nigeria must have a track record of performance in his personal life. At the moment, Nigeria is one super highway of corruption, with the president himself conducting the orchestra. If corruption persists in Government, and still holds as an acceptable way of life, not only shall we remain downtrodden, but I assure you, the agents of imperialism will re-colonize us again, albeit this time, economically.
An interesting account is recorded in 2 Samuel 18: 19-32. David was in the middle of a mutiny, led by his own beloved son Absalom. Despite the mutinous action of Absalom, David left very clear instructions that the young man must not be harmed. But Joab the army chief in defiance to his boss killed Absalom. With a messenger with tact, guile and wisdom needed to break the news to David, and knowing that people who had borne similar negative messages to David in the past had been the worse for it, (the man who claimed to have killed Saul, had paid with his life), Cushi(the black/ethiopian) was chosen by Joab to deliver the delicate message.
In verse 19, Ahimaaz, also forced Joab to send him too and he in fact outran Cushi. And in verse 28, he got to David first but he had no message. Look at verse 31& 32: “And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said: “Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee”.
“And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, “The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is”.
Cushi the Blackman gave David the message, and although it was good, yet because of the death of Absalom, it turned out a negative message, but he lived.
It is time for our generation to arise. Others may have outrun us in the past, but the source always remains the hope. The black man holds the key to the physical, spiritual and economic emancipation of the world. It is no coincidence then, that Angola which used to be a war-torn country, has now become a major source of economic emancipation to Portugal, its former colonial master. Nigeria, nay Africa, has a major role to play in the emancipation and bailing out of the entire human race. Egypt did the same during the time of Joseph. History has uniquely placed us on the cusp of a major cataclysmic event in history. Are we willing to rise to the occasion? Ahimaaz outrun Cushi but had no message, but when Cushi arrived, even though the circumstances were not palatable, he handled it with maturity and tact. Are we ready to take up the gauntlet?
NOTE: The writer Ayobami Oyalowo is on Twitter @Ayourb
Twitter: @ Femiolas