The African Complex: Who Do You Want to Be?


You see the house negro identifies with his master, he is, his master’s keeper, his master is an extension of himself, his “higher” being, when his master is sick, he always asks, “What’s wrong masser, is WE sick!?”. God forbid that “masser’s” house should catch on fire, that negro will do twice as much as his owner and all but catch the fire himself to see to it that the flames are banished from “masser’s” house. Malcolm X was the first person to make this distinction between the second class citizen house negro and the “wild animal” that was called the field negro.

The house cat was fed well, that is to say, masser’s left overs sufficed, while the field negro had to do with what was thought to be inedible, pig feet and intestines. So you can imagine how good it was for the dude in the house, “escape!?, Nigger to where? As good as we have it over here!? Masser LOVES us..”

You can also imagine how much the black folk over in them fields hated the boss man, snap..! they are probably to blame for that nasty house fire that happened earlier…

How does this resonate with today’s world, slavery happened over 300 years ago right…? Well…!!?? Ngugi Wa Thiongo seems to differ, the acclaimed African writer insists that colonization happens in three stages…Geography, Psychology and Self-Esteem.

First colonizers take hold of native land and subsequently change the names of these places with their own unoriginal ones, e.g NEW England, NEW York, NEW Britain etc.

Once this happens, the stage is set for a paradigm shift, in terms of how, the native perceives himself, and other natives as well…, In Africa for instance, it has been said that She could possibly not have a history prior to the arrival of Europeans, because Europeans brought writing to Africa, NO WRITING, NO HISTORY… That would almost hold true, if Timbuktu, one of the world’s oldest universities, were not in Mali, Africa.

The native, in our case, the African, is made to feel inferior, we could never have the intellectual capacity to understand maths, physics, the stars etc because, to tell the truth, the pre-colonial African was only good for wondering about over vast landscapes, searching for arable land or running after cattle…I wonder if Mansa Musa would agree to such a narrative, or what the rulers of Great Zimbabwe, one of the world’s first civilized and advanced nations would have to say to this..? Hmmm?

Well, anyhow, in my humble opinion what we are faced with currently, is the last phase of complete colonization, the Self-esteem factor. This implies that what is black is seen as bad, while conversely white is RIGHT, black medicine-men are called “Witch” doctors and are said to practice BLACK/evil magic…when they speak to those who have passed, it is said that they are practicing black/evil magic, while when Europeans do the same thing, they are called “mediums/mediators.”

The final and most devastating blow to the native, comes in the form of self-esteem, the native is said to be ugly, dumb, barbaric…, their noses are too flat, their skin is too dark, their hair too kinky and curly…to this day I see an afro when I Google “unprofessional” hair…

So what’s the best alternative, be like “masser”, relax your hair with sodium hydroxide (a chemical that can dissolve a soda can in five hours), buy lightening cream that diminishes your natural pigmentation (lord knows what effects that has), and go under the knife to get a nose like Kim Kardashian…Fellas, lose that baritone in your voice, smile more, cut that hair, Dreads for who!!?, wear a suit and tie and not tye and dye.

Weirdly enough, black people are not even profiting from this mould. The “creamy crack” industry, am sorry, the black hair relaxer industry will be worth more than 920 million in the year 2023, yet black people currently have a share of less than 10% in the same products that rely so much on them buying.

But I ask myself, how far shall we go to become like “masser”? I believe we’ve gone too far already, never mind aesthetics. Whenever something is seen to minutely resonate with African/Basotho culture, it is looked upon as being “Backward/BOKOATA”, however anything, that is western influenced is applauded as being modern.

I’ve hardly ever been corrected on my Sesotho, but good lord! have people come down on me on my English! consequently, I’ve never met a white person who has said to me, “No, Leoma, its not kwishkwish, its consequence.”

Therefore, have we become the unofficial custodians of a culture that is not our own, I for one will admit to hypocrisy, because well, you see…, this whole rant is in English, broken English, but still.

Sjava, he of the ragged beard, and smooth Zulu vocals, said this in an interview… “I would have never been on the black panther soundtrack had I sounded American, they have enough of that in the States Already.” Oh, he was also referring to winning the BET award for best International Act.

So before I type off, I crack myself up.., I would like to beg and plead with you…ladies, to respond to us “Ha re fereha ka Sesotho, hase BOKOATA, re ntsha manothi..” Haha.


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