Africa, a Third-World Continent?

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

The Plight of Zimbos is the same no matter which country they are found in!

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.’

#BlackLivesMatter

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!

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Fight Covid-19 Challenges from Within You

The Burning Question

The solution is inside of you!

My burning question remains the same: why do people think they can treat Africans anyhow and in Africa and continue to get away with it? When are we, Africans, going to speak out against this racial segregation that is getting more and more apparent? It has gone on for far too long and we need to speak out now and put a stop to it!

And now, with Covid-19 taking its toll on us, the same business owners have found another easy way out; a way to exploit the already exploited ordinary man in Africa. Under the pretext of failing businesses and ailing turnovers workers are being relinquished of their jobs or even getting salary cuts by anything between 5% and 50%.

The salary cuts are happening even when the workers are still performing their duties in full: working hours remain the same, duties to be performed may even increase! So, why the salary cuts?

Why the differences?

What makes it all dubious is the fact that in the same country or town you find, on the one hand, employers who ‘claim’ that they have been hit hard by the pandemic and are being forced to cut salaries and on the other hand, an employer who asks all workers who have underlying illnesses to work remotely (from home) without setting foot on the business premises and still receive full salaries and benefits. How does one explain these glaring differences?

When a country is going through the same challenges and conditions, one would expect uniformity where the effects of Covid-19 are concerned, especially in the same line of business. But, hey, what do I know?

Take Zambia, for example. The country never had any lockdowns and it has been business as usual. So, economically speaking, the country did not experience massive drawbacks. So, how do those employers who effected salary cuts while expecting workers to work the normal hours justify these severances?

Use what is inside you to survive

Despite all these unfavorable working conditions sprouting all around us, we need to find a way to rise above all the challenges. If our day jobs are not going to allow us to make ends meet, then we need to rise to the occasion. Complaining will not get us answers. However, trying to figure it out will bring us those important solutions.

I believe that every one of us was created with more than one talent: we have those hidden ones. So, in these trying times, we need to dig deep into ourselves to bring them to the surface for our survival.

This is not the time to be shy or to worry about what people will say. If it means we must do those “odd jobs” we believe to be beneath us, so be it. Become a domestic worker if you must, tend someone’s garden, do someone’s hair, or run errands for them.

It is all about doing what it takes to survive. Let us make it work, somehow!

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Part 2: The Trials and Tribulations of Covid-19 In Africa

Hiding Behind a finger!

Part 2 by Meme Writes 2020

Date 3 August 2020

Fig. 1 Water is used for boiling. What we use against all forms of flu in Zimbabwe. Why not try it against Covi-19 too? What do we have to lose by trying something where no cure is in sight?

Africa is a place where, judging from the way we treat one another when it comes to issues of authority are involved, the issue of Human rights is but just a myth.

It is sad and worrying that black Africans continue to be treated as second-class citizens and disadvantaged in their own countries on so many levels which include and translate to wealth, key positions in privately-owned companies, and the possession of commercial land.

Even though the issue of human rights is a widely discussed subject that is also claimed by many, the actual exercising of the practice seems to be a different ball game altogether. It is common to encounter nationals originating from countries where human and animal rights are well-respected but do not quite act the way they would normally do in their countries of origin: just because they are on African soil.

Does the aspect of human rights jump out the window when dealing with African people? For example, African governments open their countries to foreign investors and give them all they need to set up and operate. In most cases, one of the expected conditions would be to employ locals. Some countries even give a percentage of how many locals should be employed over foreigners. This is where the “fun” begins!

Locals do get employed alright. But which positions do they hold in the companies? The menial ones or unskilled or semi-skilled labour? Who holds the key positions in these foreign-owned companies?

And what do the locals earn in terms of salaries? And what do the foreign employees earn? What employee benefits do the locals receive? And the foreign employees? When I speak of foreign employees, I am referring to those ones from out of Africa. This is a case of white people (minority) vs black people (majority).

If you question the discrepancies in salaries and benefits, the most common excuse you hear is “scarce skills.” The foreign (white) employees have “better qualifications and skills.” Better skills and qualifications, my foot!

You can have an African chap educated and trained locally who can do a job as well as or even better than the one from out of Africa, but you will never find them earning the same. Ordinary teachers who have the same qualifications and experience will have their salaries differentiated based on the colour of their skin, or simply where they come from: Africa.

Mind you, the setting for all these goings-on is Africa! Imagine that! We are in Africa and Africans are treated like second class citizens; so where should we go to be treated fairly or be the preferred ones?

If we cannot get preferential treatment on our own Motherland, would we be able to get it anywhere else in the world? I doubt that!

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