If I could sum up the two years that I worked in Uganda as a rafting guide, the word that defines that dark continent is stupidity. To survive and prosper in the African’s world, one must understand the complete lack of understanding. You must see things from their point of view and act in a way that communicates to them that you are not to be trifled with.
The infamous scene that I detail in my first book of how we solved a local crime by obtaining a witchdoctor is a case in point. The very act of using the local method in the first place was the defining gesture. We suffered far less criminal activity from that point because the locals knew that we would use their own science against them. We were thought of as ‘very smart mazungus’. To be thought of as smart you have to act stupid.
The driving motivation behind African’s decisions that I saw time and time again was emotion. The primary emotion that drove their decision making was anger. The sins behind their anger were greed and envy. I witnessed mindbogglingly stupid decisions on a daily basis whose ramifications were always negative towards the perpetrator and those around him. Resolution using logic was not possible.
When this type of behavior occurred within my sphere of influence I had to make an arbitrary decision, much like a parent stepping in to resolve a playground argument that has got out of hand. I usually took my cue from the faces of the injured parties. Whoever looked the most sullen and annoyed and who was the least conducive to resolving the dispute was most likely the perpetrator of all the unrest. The locals were always satisfied with my decision, not because I had judged fairly but because a judgement had been made.
This inherent stupidity was present at every level of society that I dealt with, from villagers living in mud huts to high level bureaucrats and politicians. The locals respected only two things – force and superstition. Any other method of dealing with a problem would only make the problem worse because the method itself would display weakness. This was why do-gooder Westerners were never successful. Their primary method of resolving disputes was to “empower” people by allowing their views to be heard in a “conflict resolution consultation.” The locals took these meetings as an opportunity to make the most outrageous accusations as possible. It was an internal competition between the injured parties to which the Westerners were unaware.
I only ever made one attempt to dispel my fellow Westerners’ ignorance on this matter. I received a very hostile reaction on the part of a group of NGOs when I tried to explain that force and superstition were what was required. Having learned my lesson, from that point on I simply watched and laughed as they attempted to solve African problems with Western methodology.
The inspiration for this post was a video I saw on David Thompson’s blog. Filmed at the university of Cape Town, a group of African protestors are having a meeting with the science faculty to try and resolve the issue of the protestors wanting to “decolonize” the university. Based on what you have already read thus far I assume that the more intelligent amongst you will have picked up on the fact that having a meeting to resolve this dispute in the first place is completely counterproductive. The moment when the students were allocated this high level meeting was the moment when the students won and they knew it. The science faculty members are like the NGOs I described earlier. Watch the video, it is only four minutes in length.
Take particular note of the laughter on the part of the students when their most outlandish claims, in this case that science is invalid because it is “Western”, are put forward. They are playing a game at the faculty members’ expense but at the same time they are perfectly serious. This is what they really believe. There is no logic or direct evidence that can be brought forward to counter their claims. The most astonishing thing for me was the fact that a white student was sitting there with them while they presented their hogwash but then there is no limit to stupidity.
The university is doomed, as is South Africa. Together with Rhodesia, South Africa was the bright spot in the stain that was Africa. Western liberals interfering in African politics and not understanding the underlining dynamics helped to destabilize the white governments in these countries. Once their job was done the liberals walked away, secure in the knowledge that they had done a “good thing.”
Nobody talks about South Africa or Rhodesia now. They were lands of milk and honey that have been reduced to a level concomitant with the rest of that unfortunate continent. It is especially ironic when you consider that in South Africa the blacks are the invading people. The Dutch settlers landed in an almost unpopulated country back in the 15th century. The closest African population was the Zulu tribe which was located far to the north east of South Africa, across the Zambezi river. It was the migration of that tribe caused by slavery raids from the port of Zanzibar that resulted in conflict with the Boers who were themselves moving further north as they settled the empty and fertile lands.
In other words, the Dutch got there first. But logic and facts are anathema to interfering progressives. At least that much they have in common with Africans.
In the video the student protestors disdain science. There are only three Western imports that Africans hold dear. The gun, the bicycle, and beer. They are Western magic that have real and tangible results. And anyone can fire a gun, ride a bicycle or get drunk. Even the most stupid.