Imagine If “Sub Saharan Africa” Benefited From “African Americans”

by Charles Sogbesan

The Oktoberfest is definitely for the gormandizer, whether it lasts for 17 days or 18 days, depending on if it starts on the 1st or 2nd of October. The 2 weeks festival, an important part of the Bavarian culture attracts about 6 million people both nationally and internationally, annually. As if that was not compelling enough, to appreciate it, is not to have a nutritional therapy during the course of the festival. If you are bashful, it is definitely for you, if you plan on being “on the wagon”, it is not for you.

The non stop over indulgence in Reiberdastachi (Potato Pancakes), Kaasspootzn (Cheese Noodles), Wurstl (Sausages), Obatzda (Buttered Spiced cheese), Hendl (Chicken), Rotkraut (Red Cabbage), and all other Bavarian delicacies your stomach can handle, is not for the modest. This is definitely is a festival of “the more the merrier”. But you would think because of its Bavarian origin, it is only celebrated in Germany.

Yet from Argentina to Brazil to the United States to Chile to Ireland to Canada, you will find Oktoberfest simultaneously going on right about the same time, a testament to German presence in those countries, a testament to emigration. What is quite compelling for me is the immigration, emigration dynamics. Observing the host countries that at some point or the other, at some interesting points in history have had the phenomena of other cultures cast upon their own cultures and thus allowed those emigrants shape them consequentially as better and greater countries.

It is no wonder, that some of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations (Outside of Germany) in the United States are in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, 2 states which have huge German presence.

Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) is another of these note worthy holidays that have significance for many Americans of Mexican Heritage. Originally a Regional holiday in Mexico, observed only in the Mexican state of Puebla to commemorate an unlikely Mexican army defeat over the French in the battle of Puebla on the same day of 1862,
It has become a significant day of pride and heritage for the Americans of Mexican heritage, though like Oktoberfest, enjoyed by all. As you will find Mexicans celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the United States, you will concurrently find such celebrations in Canada and various South American countries with significant Mexican presence. Like Columbus Day for the Italians, St Patrick’s day for the Irish and so forth

To see the richness in this diversity, and the greatness of countries with significant immigrant populations, managed well, is to have an appreciation of emigrants and host countries benefiting from each other in the best possible ways.

I have observed that countries that tend to have success in managing their diversity very well, seem to share one thing in common; they tend to be great countries economically, technologically, culturally and socially.

I not only observed the most obvious candidates, the USA (with its torturous journey and travails), Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, but also Canada, Portugal, the UAE, Kenya and Senegal (with its French citizens) . The circumstances that brought about the diversity not withstanding, there are these consistent themes that, the better managed a country’s diversity is and the more diverse they are, the greater they are. I am of course mindful of the uniqueness of Japan and a few homogenous Nordic countries, which however have these luxuries of having steady, evolving and uninterrupted amaranthine civilizations.

I used the Oktoberfest example earlier, because it is non speculative for me. The most empirical examples of cross cultural successes will be to look at glaring examples of how former immigrants whether 1 or 2 generations coming, have seriously impacted their host communities. I ask myself these questions, what life course would have become the Eisenhower family, had they stayed in Karlsbrunn? Their son would later help define the 2nd world war and lead the United States. What life course would have become Albert Einstein in Germany?

Would Michaelle Jean have become something as momentous as the Governor General of the great country of Canada? I doubt, not while “Papa Doc” was busy torturing her philosopher father in Haiti. We know about Obama, but I have to ask would the Luo have had a chance to be say for instance become a run-of-the-mill University Lecturer under Kenyatta?

There will a tendency to modify this colloquy as a “Brain Drain” conversation, I will resist deliberately, but this will be a conversation for another day. To encounter Cinco de Mayo however is to understand also the Greatness of America because of Cesar Estrada Chavez.
Learning about Columbus Day (Native Americans excluded) is to understand the greatness of the US of A because of Enrico Fermi, Lee Iacocca, and Martin Scorsese.

To understand the new greatness of South Africa is to understand Yossel Mashel Slovo, a Lithuanian transplant. To accept the greatness of Singapore is to appreciate the strength and greatness of Lee Kuan Yew, the noteworthy leader of Singapore, a 4th generation Chinese. The same goes for our brothers (and sisters) ancestors we sold into slavery, Miles, Martin, Ali, Oprah, Tubman, Ben Carson, I could go on. They, with their altered archival dynamic will be a topic way beyond my learned expanse, but I have one question to ask, how come Africa refuses to recognize or utilize its African Americans? Not, Africans in America, but African Americans. I mean to benefit, like Russia benefits from its Russian Americans, Portugal from Brazilians, British from Australians, British from New Zealand, and China from Macao.

As I decided to proceed further, it now becomes quite glaring, one of the reasons African cant plan for this, is Africans are immigrants themselves, still leaving for Germany,Russia,Ukraine, Canada, US of A, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Dubai. Damn it! The problems are still there, yes those problems that you already know about (not the famine, drought or genocide), the chaos of Africa, its mismanagement, blah blah blah, oh no, not today!

Slowly, but surely, I start to day dream ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

The reasons Idi Amin mismanaged its Asians are still prevalent, yes Museveni has tried (By African standards), yet Uganda by and large refuses to learn from history. Kenya became the whore of Africa, with the relegation of its own citizenry to the expense of its Asians. The reasons Nigeria mismanaged its Ghanaians are still commonplace. The reasons Ivory Coast mismanaged itself and thus its French citizens are very much discernible

The conclusion seems all elementary. If we can’t manage ourselves, how can we manage others with us?

But would it not be nice if we as Sub-Saharan got over how the colonizers whooped our behinds with their Gatlin guns, superior ammunition and knowledge of the seas. If we got over the fact that we were lumped together like my father used to say “Sardines” without regard to culture, tribal, ethnic or historical consequences. Would it not be nice if we actually had a sense of shame for selling our brothers and sisters to the strange looking people on horses from the north and big ships from the South? Oh, I’m sorry that is just too abstruse, we are just plain confused, incompetent, astigmatic and of course lacking in self identity that is simple.

Because if we were not, we will be benefiting from the vast capacity of our kin in America, (African Americans) who have made more strides in 40 years than any of us have made in 50 years since most African countries became independent. A stride that has produced a son of (For sentimental reasons) Africa, we would take pride in that. Don’t be fooled though, Obama is African American (A product of America) If he was African (A product of Africa) we would have de

stroyed his dreams a long time ago.

An Irish American has Ireland, A Black Canadian has Jamaica or USA or Barbados etc An Italian American has Italy, A Turkish German has Turkey, The Hong Kong Chinese has China or the United Kingdom. The Mexican American has Mexico. The French Belgian has France, the Austrian has Germany and vice Versa. Should I go on?

What does the African American have? Africa? What does that mean?
Have any African in America (from 30 years ago) ever met an African American (from 400 years ago) American who doesn’t want to go to “Africa”? Not Kenya, not Uganda, not Zambia, not Gambia, not Sierra Leone, not Ghana, not Mozambique, not Cameroon, AFRICA!

They say Africa! Why?

Just imagine the potentials, what it would mean for us and them, for all Sub-Saharan Africans and their host countries.

If we used something (I’ll make it uncomplicated) as simple as say DNA verification of tribal affiliation. Wow!

I could not help but day dream about the potentials, I remember when my brother Forest Whittaker and Danny Glover through DNA verification found out they were Igbo and were ceremonially made Chiefs, basal but compelling.

Like the Australians and Canadians and British and French and Germans, who assign quota systems to us for an opportunity to come to their lands? Taking the best that we had, still taking them.

Us, assigning quota systems and bringing back the best of our bests (their bests) from 400 years ago to now, to come not to AFRICA!, but to Kenya to Mali to Conakry to Timbuktu to Angola. HOME!

Think of the rightness, the righteous clamor, of course you can but we can’t, we are still eternally screwed, some son the soils are still leaving in droves vying the Sahara route just to enter Morocco then Italy, an occasional amnesty. Imagine the chaos trying to cater to our long lost brethrens, when we can’t take care our own!

It sure will be nice

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