As I continue to follow developments in South Sudan, South Africa, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and across the continent, I am convinced that I can no longer call myself an African. Africa was what the likes of Nkrumah, Nyerere, and Mandela fought for – self determination, national pride, autonomy, ownership of resources….Now the Chinese own Africa so I am Africanese.
Much as I vehemently protest this situation, there is virtually nothing that I can do about it. Africa has something that overpopulated China needs – natural resources. To gain a stake of this, they have bought acres of arable land around Africa to grow food crops to supply to their provinces. Whereas the World Bank and G8 countries have tightened their purse strings, China has unzipped his pocket like a sugar daddy and is doling out loans, aid and weapons to countries who are ready to get cosy. Their generous loans have been used to develop roads, hospitals, presidential palaces, private mansions and even specialty graves for the Ghana government (strange but true).
Beijing has Africa on a leash. Presidents and chiefs willfully oblige because of the billions that this super power is pumping into the system. In exchange for the handsome perks, African governments have relaxed trade and immigration rules for China. China’s citizens have responded by flowing steadily to places like Ghana. Unfortunately, they are not all there to invest in the country. Armed with assault rifles and Caterpillar excavators, they ravage farmlands and forests in search of gold deposits. Cocoa farms have been wiped out, verdant forests have been destroyed and once pristine rivers have been contaminated with mercury and thick mud.
It is noteworthy that Ghana’s mining act permits some form of surface mining, but this is restricted to Ghanaians and it can only take place in government approved areas. But with the help of greedy chiefs and poverty stricken locals, the Chinese aggressively mine in areas that have even banned by government. With their guns, they intimidate locals and threaten to kill anyone who challenges their claim to dig for gold in places like Dunkwa. When arrested, they pay local authorities and they are released with a slap on the wrist. They return to the communities bolder than ever. The main government which has the power to intervene to protect the environment and the people has not yet demonstrated the will to, so the Ghanaian has been diminished and the Chinese have become wealthy and powerful.
Seeing that ill-gained wealth from gold has resulted in minimum consequence, 3 men from Utah moved to Ghana to partake in the illegal looting of gold. Unlike the Chinese, they arrived with high definition cameras to capture their adventure as a reality show for the Discovery Channel. The show is called Jungle Gold and it has the second highest ratings on Discovery. In one episode, I watched in disbelief as the banned substance Mercury, was used to sift through the soil and a local farmer was choked for trying to protect his cocoa farm (sad but true). China has inspired the neo-colonization of Africa and thanks to the 3 Utahns, you can watch this latest form of exploitation all in the name of entertainment.
Obviously, a discerning mind will point at the fact that Africa is to blame because none of this can take place without the deliberate or taciturn approval of
Africans, sorry Africanese.