Why should Africans have to struggle to be fairly treated even on the African continent? Work environments of privately owned businesses do not favour the locals even when they have the right qualifications, experience, and ability to do the job!
I am speaking from experience which I have witnessed, through my own work experience and those of my friends and relatives in several private or foreign-owned schools or companies in different countries in Africa.
Where I am from should not determine what I earn
It is even worse when one is from Zimbabwe. The current economic situation of the country puts Zimbabweans in the diaspora at the mercy of employers. Some of these employers choose to exploit the poor Zimbos who have no choice but to take whatever is put on the table for them, no matter how much it does not equate to their experience and qualifications.
Workers of Zimbabwean origin are increasingly discriminated against because of where they are from, but when it comes to the amount of work, they are given to do in the schools, you can only pity them. Often, the same unfortunate discrimination also happens to other teachers of African origin from most parts of Africa. They are only treated fairly when employed in government institutions!
When in Rome Do as the Romans!
This old saying has been used all over the world and I think many should translate it to the African context. My translation would be: When in Africa appreciate Africans and treat them as first-class citizens!
I mean, it is just not right! People come to Africa to open their businesses on African soil, make money off the African land and treat Africans like non-entities of the world! Really??? How fair is it to underpay the people out of whose land you are getting your wealth?
Take mines, for example, most of them are owned and operated by non-Africans. They are excavating our land to the core to get whatever minerals they are mining. These minerals are then shipped out of Africa to enrich other countries while Africa remains a “third-world” continent. For how long shall we be referred to as “developing countries?” What is it going to take for Africa to become a rich continent?
African wealth not benefitting Africa
If one were to spend a week at the Beitbridge border post, they would be shocked at the number of haulage trucks that exit Zimbabwe on their way to the port in Durban. These trucks are ferrying different types of minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the port to be ferried abroad. More are using the other border into South Africa to transport minerals from Botswana. Whatever these mineral ores are turned into does not benefit Africa in any way! In fact, when we buy the end products, they will be so expensive that most Africans can hardly afford them! There is an error!
Mining in Africa is good Business!
It is obvious that mining is good business, in fact, it is one of the best! And for one to mine and continue doing it is evidence that the business is great. More proof is how those directly involved in the business lead their lives. In most mining towns, it is common to find the top brass of the mine living in the most luxurious houses, driving expensive cars, and sending their children to expensive private schools. There is what they call ‘Mine Clubs’ which are recreational facilities and restaurants available only to the mining elite. The ordinary man living in the same town would not be allowed to use these facilities. Is this not segregation of some sort? More so when the people who have access to these facilities are mainly white foreigners. During the colonial era there used to be places that were labeled as “Whites Only” or “No Blacks Allowed” Are these clubs not duplicating that same system we fought to remove from society? Why should there be places which can not be accessed by the locals, the owners of the land? This is another topic for another day!
When I look at all these luxuries attached to some of the mining elite, I conclude that mines are operating extremely well and those who enjoy the great pecks are those referred to as having ‘good jobs.’
When the #BlackLivesMatter started, it spread like a ripple across the world. This is clear evidence that there is a problem involving black people all around the world. I am convinced that what made people all over the world run with this hashtag was not only because of what happened to George Floyd. It was a cry for help by the black communities for all the discrimination, the unfair treatment, and in some cases, the abuse black people have to endure, just for being black! There is this sense of “I am getting a raw deal because I am black” that one gets, more often than not.
Africa is also getting a raw deal! The African plains are excavated on a daily basis for their mineral wealth: gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt, nickel, etc. When these minerals are mined, they are taken out of Africa to benefit non-Africans. What do Africans have to show for their wealth of resources? Long-term illnesses for miners and people living around the mines? Is that all?
How Africa can Thrive
Should Africa not be paid back for her minerals? Yes, mining companies pay taxes to the government. But, hey, I also pay tax and I am not mining, and I am definitely not getting rich out of what I earn from my job!
If this was up to me, I would insist on every mine building a state-of-the-art school and a hospital in the province they are located for the local children who cannot afford private school education and medical care. The mine would fund these schools by providing all the learning and teaching materials required and ensure the hospitals have everything they need to provide proper health care. The funding of these schools and hospitals would happen for as long as the mine is operational.
I would ensure that any foreign-owned business plays its part in the development of the country. This would lessen the burden on the government. These are the conditions I would put down for any foreigners applying for business permits in the country. Do not just operate your business in a foreign country but commit to its development too.
Imagine how many of these institutions would be established in African countries. The poor Africans would be able to access education and health care from anywhere in their countries.
When such happens the development of Africa would surely be certain. And Africans will begin to be respected as they should!