We have glued ourselves to a culture of shock, a mystical understanding of a failed government that parades itself as power. However, I will not condemn them. I can’t crucify them for failing to understand anything.
In Africa, we say a prophet has no honour in his land. Our understanding of ourselves is palpably funny and strange. We laugh at the things we produce and do not cherish anything that is rooted to our culture. We are a people who do not see anything good in ourselves, hence, the inferiority mindset of an average African. The Europeans found this about us and used it against us. They told us that our things are very inferior. We believed them. We were distrust to believe in ourselves. We only wait for that moment when the West will validate everything we do. Until they do, we are nothing yet.
In the meantime, I have started OutofAfrica Festival, which will celebrate Africa in the waters, the seas, the rivers and beneath us, as long as this is done outside the continent. People are tired of Africa in Africa. They have moved out. That is why we have Africans in Diaspora. We have decided to leave our Dark Continent and move to the West, because we can’t fix it. Fixing it will be a Herculean task and we are not ready to do it. We are not patient enough. We can’t wait. Already, we have abject penury; unemployment rate is high. People are graduating everyday in Africa and not having anything to hold onto. These graduates were taught to hold onto the government for their food and water. When the government fails them, they begin to yell. Truth is that the government will keep failing, because the government is a human being. It is the denial of democracy that marvels me. How can we ever clamour for democracy in Africa when we have no mental freedom?
Across all parts of Africa, I have interacted with people. I have besieged diplomats and sought for their support to promote Africa outside Africa. Many of them don’t understand why I am doing this. This is what they think: there is a young man who thinks we are stupid. I don’t think they are stupid. I only think that they don’t understand my dreams and aspirations for the Dark Continent. I haven’t called myself an activist, but tears well up in my eyes each time I realize that there are too many dreams lingering far too long in Africa. There are so many musicians who want to cast a spell over a European audience. They can’t do it! They can not do it now. Our Africa has refused to help them. There is no structure, yet, they can’t let these talented kids go show themselves to the Outsider and herald the new world we want.
I travelled to Portugal alone to speak about Nigerian music in June at the SWITCH Conference, because the embassy of Portugal refused to issue visa to my artiste, Edge. They didn’t give us any reason. I got to Lisbon and addressed young people and told them what their government has done. I approached the Frontiers Service to know why; no one talked to me. Rather, they blew kisses at me and said they would respond to me. I don’t think they are ridiculous. I just think they are not helping their colonial slaves again and this is sheer hypocrisy. I am not going to accuse them of taking anything from Africa, but the Europeans have fetched maggot infested firewood and should carry it to where they go. The Africans will remain like a plague to them; they colonized us, so they should keep us. Being scared of us means they did something horrible to us. You must take us with you.
Interestingly, there are many young people who have been invited to Europe to sing to a slightly small crowd and they are paying their way to Europe; just to have something they can add to their profile, but the European Commission thinks they are talking nonsense. Behind these horrible acts they pelt at us, we still try so hard to survive with the small audience we have here. Now this is where the West is denying us the Survival Instincts, yet, they want us to believe that they are Our Saviour. When the Western world begins to accommodate their slaves, then the Master will be at peace. We have discovered rage among young people in Africa. They are desperate to get visas to Europe, but they are not desperate to stay back in Europe. No one does that now. If this young man has a genuine reason for travelling to Europe on cultural ground, why refuse him visa? Isn’t that completely ridiculous?
Over many years, I have encountered many people who were refused visa, because the embassies think they won’t come back. We know about the French revolution, Slave resistance, Industrial revolution, the Prague Spring, the Velvet Revolution, Carnation Revolution, Flower Power, Sexual revolution, but we are yet to feel this Cultural Revolution. Our performing and visual artists want to showcase in Europe to grow an empirical feeling that will last forever.
I have climbed this ladder of success and I am yet to get to the top, but it is my duty and joy to help others while I am still climbing. If I happen to fall, I will have people to catch me. This year, I have made important trips to Europe, just to have discussions and meetings with cultural organizations that can collaborate with me and organize the OutofAfrica Festival. Many of them withdraw the moment the issues of visa arises. We have glued ourselves to a culture of shock, a mystical understanding of a failed government that parades itself as power. However, I will not condemn them. I can’t crucify them for failing to understand anything. I can only blame ourselves for not finding a way to fix our tents before the rain started drenching us. We have come too far. We are here to take charge of our world. Viva Africa!
Onyeka Nwelue is the CEO/Founder of Blues & Hills
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.