18 April 2019

Africa: Want to Be Kama Ulaya? Me, I'm Enjoying Brexit

opinion

Speaking of the news, has anyone else been following the Brexit? What a glorious slow-moving train wreck.

I am not one for gore, but this is beautiful. I had forgotten about it until it became relevant again because time is running out for Britain. Only to find, tuning back in, that I had no idea what was going on.

Clearly, Britain leaving the EU is not particularly good for anyone involved. And, sweetest of all, it has implications for our own little EAC project and the Dream of the African Union.

Western obsession. The EU is perpetually brought up as an example that the EAC should embrace, look up to, and make trade deals with.

Naturally this raises my eyebrows because we can't accuse the West of perpetually forcing their norms and values on us when we are so slavishly obsessed with emulating them.

My own president said the other day that Tanzania would be "kama Ulaya." which I find amusingly at odds with the Tanzania First ethos.

Pick one, already. How is it so hard to just Wakanda ourselves and be modern but African and proud of it?

Economic data shows that Africa has been a net exporter of goods and raw materials no matter what the development industry would have you believe. Why do you think the Chinese are courting us?

In secondary school, everything history was fantastic as long as we were studying non-European histories or pre-World War I.

Did you know, for example, that the Swazi have a complex communications system based on beads and colour choices and that this is to me evidence of a gorgeous writing culture?

Anyway, as soon as Tzar Nicky got himself killed, I moved swiftly along to geography as an elective because it had excellent field trips that included sociological work and practical experience. The tribal wars - sorry, "ethnic violence" - of the European continent ceased to interest me soon enougth.

Yeah, yeah, Europe: Tribal warfare and invasions and liberations, shifting borders, Normans and Angles, the Moorish Empire, and how about that Spanish Inquisition.

If I want any of that voodoo-shoodoo theocracy junk, regicides, world wars, genocide and brutal colonialism, I can just read any history I want and especially my own. If I were to pick another though, let me admit to some Japanophilia. Yo, the Heian period was lit.

But, back to our comedy of errors that is 2019. So while I am totally Schadenfreuding all over the EU mess, it is but wise to learn from others' mistakes.

The strong economies led by the foxiest square politician in the boxiest suits tried to hold it together--big up Merkel, you beer-drinking dragon. But you know how it is with extended families, neh

Me, I look at mine and say: mh-hm, EAC: What are you learning from this? You want to give bipolar Uncle South Sudan equal status to Ben Ten Kenya who likes to show up in the latest model of Benz while refusing to admit he beats his wife and kids? Nobody talks about Rwanda or Burundi for a reason. Oh, hey Uganda! Big love. You will democracy too, one day.

I feel vindicated by the EU (hehe) when I say: these supra-states are premature for so many reasons.

Benito Mussolini's grand-something just got a political career in Italy. Mxiii. I am just going to keep watching Marvel movies and Star Trek and trying to find an academic argument for the similarities between the metaphors of octopods in both Japanese art and Swahili lore while my popcorn gets ready for the Brexit poopstorm. Humans, eh.

Elsie Eyakuze is a consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report.

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