“Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”
― Frantz Fanon
Colonial mentality means actions, thinking, behaviors, ideals, philosophies, and other characteristics (visible to the eyes and perceptive to mind) identified with benighted forces of belated colonialism in it various forms political, economic, and socio-cultural, and subsequently internalized by Africans after decades of colonial domination through it institutions and education. Colonial mentality is a kind of disease bedeviling most African countries; it’s a kind of ghost hunting African psyche and rubbing Africans of political, economic, and socio-cultural commonsense, contributing to Africa’s edifice of perennial problems confronting the continent since independence.
There’s no gainsaying the fact that most African problems stems from colonialism, giving the post-colonial situations Africans have to adapt to (like the change of political system from monarchical system of government to western parliamentarian system of government, coupled with redefinition of legitimacy i.e legitimacy to rule is no longer achieved through the traditional system reserved for the royalties and nobles but through ballot by any qualified members of the society) and incorporation of African economy into world’s economy as source of raw materials and market for finish goods, but the seemingly inabilities of Africa and her “well-wishers” to solve these problems lies majorly in applying the same kind of extremely exploitative colonial thinking that created this problems to solving them.
The fact that the colonist, at the threshold of Africa’s independence surreptitiously created a backdoor to further the controlling of Africa’s resources through other channels without necessary application of overt brute force, to ensure some kind of servile and blind loyalty from the African countries whose independence loomed cannot be overstated, It is colonialism by other means. This salient fact is underscored by the scenarios that unfolded in the post-colonial Africa, of which prime example was majority of the new African leaders abandoned their populist slogans and worldview adopted during the anti-colonial era to pursue dreams not palatable with the aspirations of the people they governed. In other words they became the neo-colonist.
It is only fair that a tree is judged by the fruits it bore, colonialism means reckless and ruthless exploitation without redress. As Frantz Fanon aptly point that, colonialism is body of violence not capable of reason and only gives in when confronted with greater violence. This explain the wave of coup d’tat and counter coup, and civil wars that engulfed majority of African countries shortly independence. In other words African states move from European colonialism to indigenous elite colonialism in contrivance with the former masters. Even the youngest country in Africa South Sudan is not spared of this madness, just couple of years of independence from the “tyranny” of North the country has plunged itself into war after conflagration between the leaders.
Africa’s dilemma is that her leaders were schooled in the colonist institutions of learning, taught by the colonist, in the colonist home country and inculcated the colonist values and norms. Consequently, they became mentally predispose to act as would the colonist. With the exception of some great African leaders, majority of them came back to Africa not as Africans but as “Black-Europeans”, though they paraded themselves as Pan-Africans. They ruled as Black-European, they ruled with contempt and disregard for the people and the constitution, their utmost desires are to perpetuate their stay in office like the political gangsters in Burundi and South Sudan irrespective of the outcome of their actions, to loot the treasury of the state like the political armed robbers in Nigeria, to keep their people in obscene poverty, to safeguard the interest of their European counterpart at the expense of their own country, a trend common to most African states etc.
Since the dawn of independence on the African continent achieved through relentless struggle to this moment African countries have taken and apply every bit of IMF, World Bank economic recipe perfectly formulated for Africa, to help achieve economic growth and development, yet Africa remain underdeveloped. While it has become brazen and apparent that the tailored for Africa economic fads are in true sense of the word rags that exposes the cleavages and plunged the continent into debts, African leaders continue this arrangement.
At the moment Africa is governed by leaders whose ideals and principles are rooted in colonial thought even though their rhetoric sometimes echo Pan-Africanism, their actions are anti-Africa.Will Africa in the nearest or distance future achieved true independence and governed by leaders whose dedication to the service of the people is of utmost importance? Time will tell.