Neocolonialism is Alive and Well

Sorry have not written in a couple weeks. School has been going well and intergration into Cameroonian society has been easy. The internet has been spotty while in Kirbi but I am alive. No malaria or any other tropical ailments.

My homestay mom, in Yaoundé, and I watched Debat PanAfrican which is a television show that airs on Sundays. The show discusses things that are going on in Africa I guess for the week. One of the segments they were discussing was about the previous president of the Ivory Coast. The story was, about how the president is now in jail. To the United States, if the news actually made it out there, they would probably try and say that the president did something bad. My mom said that the previous president did not want to give France the control over their cocoa and other natural resources. So they jailed him in order to insert their own president that would give them what they want. The question that I posed for myself is, to what extent is the African continent actually free of their colonizers. Especially the countries that are rich in natural resources.

Last night, my sister and I watched The Voice, originally American music show that has gained global popularity (at least in the West by choice, the South by force). The show was aired on France 2, a television station that airs French shows, French commercials, French news, and pretty much every other thing French. It was very interesting so I asked her about if in the Anglophone portion of the country to they have a similar channel but from the English. She of course responded, yes. The conversation sparked an internal conversation to help figure out how to change this. With the news channels and even the country being divided by main EUROPEAN languages, I can see that colonialism never left the continent. Now it makes me wonder if China is coming in as another neocolonial power that is more benign or a neocolonial power that does not care about the human rights of these African persons they are working with.

For me, it is quite sad to hear my mom and sister talk because every time the news comes on, they point out that black people are not appreciated anywhere. Not even in their own countries, but in that case, are the borders that Africans live by actually their own, or is it that they have learned to accept them “after colonization”? I think one of the most disturbing things that I have heard in the couple days that I have been in Cameroon was actually from my sister. She was explaining to me what Africans believe that the West and white people think about them. She said, “They think that we are primitive and swing from tree to tree and cannot speak any language”. Mostly the white people that come to Africa are surprised with all the things that are found in African and even the people. For me, I did not come into Cameroon with any type of expectations except that there would be a lot of trees and be beautiful. It has exceeded my expectations.