Why do I happen to come across such daft descriptions of the African, as above, lately? And all made by Englishmen! Listen to this one, uttered by one Mr Barham, a British MP who owned African slaves on several plantations in the Caribbean. He was speaking in the House of Commons on 10 June 1806 in a debate on a Resolution to abolish the African Slave Trade. (See our Black History Month coverage, starting from page 28 onwards):
"I, as an individual," Mr Barham told the Commons, "have tried to bring about an improvement of that kind [ie, slaves obtaining the condition of free labour] among some of my own Negroes, but in their present state, I do not think they can be prevailed upon to work for money. A Negro does not understand any condition but that of master and slave. He has so few wants that nothing you can offer him in the way of money will be regarded as an equivalent for his labour, when he has his choice between labour and rest. With him, there is no privilege equal to that of being free from labour; for that reason a Negro is hardly ever induced to work as a free labourer: he has so few wants that money is no temptation to him. That he will be a soldier is true, because that is not inconsistent with his aversion from labour. He has no wants which the extra labour of a week will not furnish funds to supply for almost a year; and therefore he has no inducement to labour for hire ..."
Well, it takes the breath away, doesn't it? It drains you, as an African, of all energy in your system when you come across such a pure insult to your being, and to your people and race - coming from persons whose ancestors were living in cavesf rudimentary caves, when our ancestors, the African ancestors, had already built fine cities and great pyramids and monuments and cultures and civilisations in Ancient Egypt and elsewhere on the continent and beyond! "The virtues of this race are those of attractive children." May the Lord have mercy on Lord Lugard, wherever he is! I hope not in Hell.
Before I become an emotional wreck (and don't I deserve to be emotional when Lugard and Barham are spewing pure drivel?), let me take you to the Oliver Reginald Tambo Airport (O.R. for short) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Thanks to the redevelopment that came with the Fifa World Cup 2010, the Johannesburg airport has become, to me, the best in Africa south of the Sahara-It is an indisputable beauty, viewed from the...