I once lived in England for about a year and a half. During that time, I realised that their system was geared in such a way that favoured the locals first, other Europeans second and Africans were in the last and bottom group.
If you are African, despite your level of education or experience, the system generally does not ‘trust’ African professionals experience and we tend to be placed at the bottom.
For example, the menial low paying jobs are where Africans can find easier employment. The higher up you try to go, you are told you don’t have enough British experience, even with international or British qualifications and you have worked for a multinational.
Even if you do get into a job that is commensurate with your qualifications, you will be placed below British and Europeans citizens with less experience and sometime less or the same level of qualifications as you.
It might seem I have an issue with the British but the opposite is true.
I am actually quite grateful for the experience. My eyes were opened.
I got to understand the true fundamentals of self-preservation. If I was in their shoes, I would do the same. It’s human nature, first I take care of myself and my own, then those closest to me and so forth. As Africans, we must understand and accept the fact that non-Africans generally do things for Africans as long as there is something to benefit from them. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
In Shona there is a saying that goes, “Anemari ndiye mukuru”. The translation is, “He who has the money is the boss”.
As Africans, we must wake up to the fact that if we want to be treated with respect by other peoples, we need to make our own impressive achievements, generate comparable if not more wealth which is inclusive of all our peoples and raise the standard of life that others from other parts of the world can admire.
For example, the West has issues with China as regards their human rights record. Despite all this nothing significant has ever been done by the Western countries. With lesser countries, punitive measures would have been put in place by the West, but in this instance, they just made noise but basically did nothing.
Why? The simple reason was that doing so would have backfired on their own (West) pockets as illustrated below;
1. China is the biggest lender to the USA. China could have called in their loans and a crisis would have ended up in America’s back yard.
2. China is a very important market for Western companies and making such a move would hurt them financially as doing so would jeopardise their interests in that country.
3. Most manufacturing is now being done in China and antagonising the Chinese could halt lines of supply and again hurt their own business.
Yes we can cry double standards and all that. But we need to keep perspective. The West made these decisions looking out for number one, themselves. The reality is that Africa needs to do the same as China did. Economically empower itself to improve the standard of life for all it’s people, and not just a handful.
1. Africans won’t push to go to other people’s countries in the west to find a good standard of living.
2. All other peoples will approach Africans with respect (or call it fear like with China), as we can bargain and negotiate on an equal footing. If you have nothing to offer, then others will.