This morning I watched a powerful TED talk by Mallence Bart-Williams from Sierra Leone. She talks about the riches of her country, which she aptly describes as the richest country in the world. She named some of the vast and valuable resources of Sierra Leone: coffee, cocoa, fruit and vegetables, diamonds, gold, more than 20 precious minerals, petroleum in abundant quantities, platinum, rutile, iron ore, coltan, bauxite, zinc, copper, coal, phosphates, granite, mahogany, teak and the list goes on and on. Not to mention incredible, unique and beautiful wildlife, vast marine resources, flora and fauna.
It’s not just Sierra Leone. Ghana has the same resources and more. Did you know that 70 percent of the world’s chocolate is produced from cocoa grown and harvested in Ghana? Yet most cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate. It’s also not just Ghana, it’s all of Africa. Mama Africa is the food basket and resource pool of the entire world. When we were living in Ghana, they had just started producing commercial qualities of oil and I was full of hope that maybe, just maybe the people will benefit somehow from this new resource. Sadly, my hopes were dashed as the money pours out of the country as quickly as the oil flows, to the west and the only people to benefit from this new resource are the corrupt politicians. To this day most people have a daily struggle to find enough to feed their family even the most meagre of meals.
Shanton tells me stories of people finding massive diamonds and gold on their own land when digging foundations for housing and having to dig in secret as it’s illegal to be digging up your land for gold and diamonds in defined residential areas, so they did from inside of their homes in the dark of night, as they don’t have the appropriate licenses to mine – their own gold. When we lived there some kids found a massive nugget on the beach. Gold is so plentiful there that experts believe not even 5 percent of Ghana’s reserves have been tapped and Ghana used to be named the Gold Coast, the name given by the original “Colonial Masters”.
To me Africa is the heartbeat of the earth, it is the rhythm of the planet. When you think of music and dance, where do your thoughts go – for me it is always Mama Africa.
In fact we ALL came from Africa, she is truly our Mama. Scientists have traced original man back to Africa, so she is ours to take care of and protect. Why oh why can’t we open our eyes and see it, before it’s too late, if it’s not already.
Yet as Mallence so eloquently asked in her powerful talk – why is 5000 of their units of currency worth only 1 of the US?
Africa has everything that we in the West value; food sources, power sources and signs of success and wealth, and yet the people who live there are among the poorest in the world.
And yet we continue to rape Mama Africa and her people, again and again and again.
Before long there will be nothing left to rape and this once powerful nation of people will be left bereft of resources and nothing to show for it, but more destruction, corruption and poverty. Africa will most likely end up reliant on international aid, which to date has only added to the cycle of poverty and corruption.
What is the solution? I don’t know. I am not a scientist, economist, politician, historian or expert. I am just a girl who has seen first hand what happens on a daily basis in a country so rich, yet so so poor.
It breaks my heart and makes me cry.
I have much more to say and write about and I haven’t even touched on our abhorrent history as slave masters, or our destruction of her stunning and unique wildlife, or the exploitation of people, or destruction of cultures…..those will be stories for another day.
Please, let us just stop raping our Mama and our brothers and sisters. There has to be another way.
I live in hope.