The word “Kluvi” in my native Ewe language means “a slave” and “susu” means “mindset.” Kluvi Susu is therefore a phrase I will use to describe what I see in the behaviour of some Africans. Some of us seem to lack a philosophy.
It was at the Berlin Conference of 1884, that Africa was divided like a piece of cake, by European nations for the sole purpose of colonialisation and exploitation. The Belgians claimed ownership of mineral rich Congo and enforced its borders. The Germans claimed ownership of Transvolta Togoland which is now part of Ghana. The British claimed ownership of Gold Coast (now Ghana) and Nigeria etc., the French took Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Benin, Guinnea and a host of others. Bacause of rivalry all of them created borders and enforced their borders. More than 60 years on after so called independence, African nations still enforce these borders against fellow Africans. As a Ghanaian you will need a passport just to cross the border into Togo which is literally a walking distance from my village.
As a young political activist in South Africa, Mandela travelled all over Africa requesting assisstance from other Africans to fight the South African apartheid government. He came to Ghana aiming to see Kwame Nkrumah, who was then president. Many African leaders supported him with money, military training, logistics and other resources. Today black South Africans turn on their fellow immigrant Africans and set them ablaze. And this is not the first time. Are we a reasonable people at all? Who is the enemy? Who exploited South Africa for more than a century? Who established the Group Areas Act and Bantu Education Act to suppress black South Africans? Who imprisoned Mandela, Sobukwe and a whole lot of others, many of whom died in prison? Who was responsible for the Sharpeville massacre which saw the murder of 69 black South Africans? Was it fellow Africans? Alas! “Kluvi susu” is still working in us after many years of so called freedom. If we attack our brothers and sisters, then we are not thinking right.
South Africa has a big problem regarding the education of its black youths. As Africans, we are all one people – whether Ghanaian, Nigerians, South Africans, Zimbabweans, Congolese etc. Lynching other Africans will not solve any problem in South Africa, it only makes a mockery of us blacks. It’s a shame. National identities should not supercede racial ones especially because these identities were imposed on us by the colonialist. 90% of all ideas circulating in Africa now are not originally African.
If African Philosophy is taught to these young people in South Africa they will abandon “kluvi susu” and begin to see other Africans as brothers and sisters. We are all one people. I have held this view for a long time, though without concrete evidence, that colonialism (with its related ideologies) irreparably destroyed something not only in the African society but also in the African mind. If our own culture now seem alien to us how can we prove that we are not fools. If we are divided and fighting eachother how will we move forward? Unity is progress.
Finally, years ago, someone argued that colonialism is nothing like slavery and that I should not link the two. Well, I do not adopt such narrow views. To put it bluntly both colonialism and slavery have exploitation as their absolute motive. If the slave master exploits you in your native land it’s called colonialism. If he carries you in chains across the Atlantic Ocean into other lands and exploits you there it’s call slavery.