Ndere Troupe

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Stephen Rwangyezi Speaks on African Issues

AfricaSpeaks.com and TriniView.com
Interview Date: August 05, 2008
Posted: September 05, 2008

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RAS TYEHIMBA: Do you see reparations as being part of them being liberated?

RWANGYEZI: Someone asked me one time when I was having a similar kind of discussion, one European said, "What would Africa be today if Europeans had not come and done what they did?" I said, "Don't ask what Africa would be today! You ask what Europe would be today if this had not been done!" Europe would be poor and would probably be extinct because they would not have survived the winters without the spices to preserve their food, without the cotton, without the sugar, they wouldn't be there. So the question is not what would Africa be. The question would be what would the looters of African wealth and labour be? When the World War happened the Marshall Plan was put in place and Europe was rehabilitated. The Jews were relocated to Israel and funded and facilitated. Today, Europe, because of the Marshall Plan, is a super continent. Israel, small as it is, because of the funding that was given, is able to stay in the midst of opposing Arab nations and still dominate.

Africa first and foremost, people must apologize. When you apologize it's not good enough like Tony Blair did when he simply said, "We are sorry." You need to redress the effects of your crime. What that means is let them spend money to go to Africa and preach, "We are sorry, we made a mistake. There is nothing wrong with your religion, there is nothing wrong with your culture, there is nothing wrong. You are a great people. We have no right preaching to you the God of Isaac, Jacob and Israel." The third step should be, "We took so much. We have been benefited so much. Here is so much for you to be comfortable too." How can the world, which has survived on the gold, ivory, copper, human beings, co-exist with a continent where people are still dying of jiggers, where people are still dying of starvation? How can they possibly accept this scenario? Where are the morals? People are going for wedding and honeymoon in space. Where is the conscience that you can spend so much, that you can have a President traveling in Air Force One alone and a continent where you extracted human beings, extracted resources, dumped everything else. It's the only continent in the world today that is not only failing to grow but is actually going backwards. Where are the morals? So, to me, reparations should not even be seen as reparation; it's just an obligation, an apology, a redressing and setting the conditions to repair five hundred years of damage. If God exists, and I know He does, He will punish who ever doesn't redress this anomaly.

RAS TYEHIMBA: One final question. What are some of the views of Ugandans toward the African Diaspora? For example, I've heard that some of the views may be along the lines that the people of African Diaspora are slaves and there is a sort of negative attitude towards them?

RWANGYEZI: There is a saying in my language that the rope which ties a poor person is a fellow poor person. If I want to tie a poor person I don't need to go making a rope. I use a fellow poor person. In Uganda we eat grasshoppers. But when you get grasshoppers and put them in a calabash they turn on each other and eat each other. The grasshoppers never fight the person who put them in the calabash. They fight themselves inside the calabash. If you go to prisons in the developing countries, they are very congested. You find the room that is supposed to be for one person accommodating forty/fifty people. But the biggest problem in this room is that the prisoners are torturing each other. That feeling of looking down upon a fellow person comes as a result of tortured people who are dumped together and then they turn on each other.

I think what is growing, however, is a kind of admiration of the young Ugandans for the other Africans in the Diaspora. If you look at the Rap music, for example, or the Hip Hop culture, it's basically the Black American being admired by the Black African in Uganda and that's growing very, very fast. If you look at Rastafarians, if you look at the way they are walking and talking there is an admiration for what those young people are doing. Actually, the American dream as it were, is now being seen from the Black Americans. People are continually realizing that they cannot be White so they are looking at the Blacks in the developed countries and trying to emulate them and be like them. It's not that they were looking down upon the Blacks in the Diaspora but they first look down upon themselves. As I said earlier, they try to turn themselves into White and then they get to a level when they say, "Okay, the other Black person who is a slave, who is cast and left out, since we are now following the scarce resource theory, let those of us who remain here concentrate and consume what is available. Don't bring the others who are already out because the resources are scarce. That's growing. But all this cannot be redressed by other people. We have to do it our selves and through education.

RAS TYEHIMBA: On behalf of Triniview.com and Africaspeaks.com, thank you for sharing with us.

RWANGYEZI: Thank you very much. I am glad to share with you and I hope it gets out there and becomes a seed that germinates and grows.

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Also Read: Opening of the Emancipation Village 2008 July 29, 2008

Ndere Troupe's Website: www.ndere.com

Trinidad & Tobago's 2008 Emancipation Commemoration