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Opinions of Monday, 14 May 2012

Columnist: Badu, K.

“Africans are not intelligent”-Impolitic driver: Part two

For the benefit of those who did not have the opportunity to peruse part one; part one encapsulated retrospective analysis and commentary of a tempestuous statement by a Turkish taxi driver. The driver asserted: “Africans are not intelligent”. I became maddened upon hearing such invective statement, and consequently sought the views of Ghanaians on what I perceived as preposterous statement.

I must admit, upon critical reflection and further examination of the numerous comments posted on the article (part one), I changed my stance, and accepted the driver’s statement as a positive averment. Though, I am in acquiescence to some extent with numerous commentators on the article who agree with the taxi driver, I am also with the view that not all Africans are unintelligent, but we can probably attribute such asseveration to the elitists who claim perquisite to politics. It is manifestly indefensible to attribute such comment to someone like my mother for instance, who has little or no influence on the development of Africa, considering the fact that my mother had had no training to transfer to our development. Of course, she has a part to play in the nation building; however, her efforts would be meaningless, if our policy makers fail to put forward advantageous policies that may facilitate national development.

For example, my mother, who is an uneducated farmer travailing to meliorate her standard of living, would count on the policy makers to come up with expedient policies that may help her to make such transition. In actual fact, my mother would expect the intelligent and knowledgeable policy makers to improve the feeder roads to ease the movement of her bumper harvest. So, if for argument sake, my mother finds herself in a position whereby she won’t be able to transport her copious produce because of inaccessible roads, would she then be seen as an unintelligent African? Absolutely no; it would be seen as a mere epithet if anyone labels my mother as “unintelligent African”. You see, my mother may be uneducated, but she would have the wisdom to improve the said feeder road if she happens to hold the key to the national coffers. As a matter of fact, if my mother who had had no education can think reflectively and be willing to solve the problem around her, clearly, then, we can postulate that intelligence and knowledge do not equate wisdom; they have dichotomies!

Now back to the taxi driver’s statement; his assertion that Africans are not intelligent in the sense that we have not contributed meaningfully to human race is a bit “below the belt”. Undoubtedly, there are intelligent and knowledgeable Africans who have contributed, and still contributing meaningfully to human race in diverse ways. In actual fact, the ambivalent governance or leadership is the cause of the irrevocable demise of Africa. Thus, I would like to reframe the taxi driver’s statement as, “African leaders are intelligent and knowledgeable, but may be deficient in wisdom”.

Now, let us reflect on some of the comments posted on the previous article (part one), by the discussants. The following are unedited comments posted. Contributor by name AS3M PA wrote: “As long as we keep dividing ourselves on tribal lines, we shall continue to mark time. We shall remain divided. Let’s see ourselves as Africans first, and we can conquer the world economically, intellectually and in sports”. Kofi Dabone (I guess not his real name), on the other hand, wrote: “What is the use of acquiring "the faculty of thought and reason", aka, intelligence, if you cannot apply it for your own benefit? As long as Africans cannot use the faculty of thought and reason they acquire to better themselves practically, "as a people", the Turkey driver is 100% right”. “If you are intelligent and civilized, provide for needs and solve your basic problems "as a people". Okine opined: “What is ingrained in the African soul is selfishness so no matter how smart we are we cannot think beyond the filthy environment we live in to do anything for mankind”.

My favourite comment came from K. K. A.: “Mr. Badu, Iam afraid your Turkish driver has a point. Just look at the Ghanaian Political Landscape today and you will regrettably come to the sad conclusion that the Turkish driver is right”. “I will not say ALL AFRICANS are not intelligent, but rather our Leaders, especially the Politicians and so-called men of God are not so clever, are they”? Akua Mansa actually made my day; Akua wrote: “Africans are unintelligent - Otherwise how can we command all these resources and be the poorest in the world”. “We have leaders who are greedy and fraudulent, have no vision, only thinking of themselves and their cronies”. How can we advance as a people”. “Sadly, our contribution to the progress of the human race is ZERO. We don't make cars, spacecrafts, elevators, bicycles, planes, ships, cell phones etc etc”. “Not even zippers”. “We should bow our heads in shame and accept the fact that so long as we have Leaders that have no vision, that are myopic, that don’t think that every child can be educated and giving skills to excel in this world, so long as we have Leaders that are myopic and count their achievements with how much loan they are able to contract and the number of schools not under trees, so long as we have Leaders that have no vision that are greedy and incompetent, we shall forever remain "Modern day Slaves". “We started with the likes of South Korea, Look at where they are. Making cars, Cell phones, electronics, good roads, good housing, and pragmatic programs to developed the country and where are we. And now we go to them to borrow money- Remember STX. I weep for Africa. We need LEADERSHIP. We need Leadership with vision and ideas, selfless Leadership devoid of greed, Incompetence, cronyism and capable of transforming us into an industrialized and robust economies. Yes we have people that are "smart" but only perform when we are supervised by the "white people" By ourselves we are incapable of nothing. It’s about time we accepted our failure and step up to the plate”.

In ending, I would like to state categorically that Africans are intelligent and knowledgeable, but our biggest problem is leadership paralysis. In Ghana for instance, we would require “a King Solomon” who may apply wisdom to his acquired knowledge to turn the nation into “paradise”. May God bless our homeland Ghana!

K. Badu, UK.