Even many of the White Americans whom Obama might think he is impressing by staying mute about race, might ask: “If he can’t be passionate and involved about his own race, how can he show passion about anything?” The Blacks would go further: “How can he pass up the opportunity to do something serious about race worldwide, when he still has all the power of an American president? He will never be in a better position to do so. The time is now!”
Ask a million Africans, and I bet most would say Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is the best African book. When the book came out, Achebe was merely 27, and we were captivated by its writing power. Nelson Mandela would later exclaim: “There was a writer named Chinua Achebe, in whose company the prison walls fell down.”
Africa, you are a great continent, sometimes drawn from great empires of the past. Love the rest of the world as your brothers and sisters, even as your Mum-and-Dad! But, lest you forget, remind yourself to be your own protector. It is worth the effort!
In the years to come, if they are to survive, African monarchs (and their subjects) will have to learn one crucial thing: You cannot be, and shouldn’t be, inside a modern state, country, nation, thus much bigger and more important than your “kingdom”, without having to learn where you properly fit in.
In race, which is where we all emanate, it is absolutely essential for human equality that all can meet at the mountain top. My search on relationships between Black Africans and Black Americans, on which I embarked all but half a century ago, was, as it happened, the start of self-knowledge.
Many might consider it too early to put the terrible end of Muammar Al Gathafi into meaningful context, including what it means for Africa. But that isn’t what I think, not by a long chalk!