Dear fellow Africans,
Jesus did not die for us. Jesus died for the Jews. You can watch more about the history of Jesus in this PBS documentary – featuring scholars – not pastors! Now, are you a Jew? No, you are not. Now that that is out of the way, now might be also a good time to start questioning this image of Jesus. There is no way Jesus could have looked like this – a white guy with blonde hair and blue eyes. This is the European version of Jesus, which has been used to cause havoc in the minds of Africans – through the colonial and neocolonial enterprises. At the time the colonial brigade was telling you that Jesus died for you, some serious ‘sins’ were being committed by the same brigade and its allies against you (e.g., massive land grabs, enslavement on your own land, and worse, the total destruction of your being/personhood).
Did I hear you say that images do not matter? Actually, they do matter a great deal. If it were not for the imagery that has been beamed across the world about Africans, we would not have the pervasive negative perceptions of Africans, amongst people who have never interacted with a single African. There is a reason why they say a picture speaks a thousand words. Oh wait, there is even a better example. Some white man caused embarrassing excitement in Nairobi towards the end of 2016. He was believed to be Jesus making comeback to “judge the living and the dead”. Gasp! and Sigh! Is that not as a result of the above image?
Jesus did not die for us – the following people did.
- Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba was the first Prime Minister of the country now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was involved in the struggle for independence in his country and that of Africa at large. In his speech at Independence Lumbumba had this to say:
For this independence of the Congo … no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that it was by fighting that it has been won, a day-to-day fight, an ardent and idealistic fight, a fight in which we were spared neither privation nor suffering, and for which we gave our strength and our blood … We are proud of this struggle, of tears, of fire, and of blood, to the depths of our being, for it was a noble and just struggle, and indispensable to put an end to the humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force.
Unfortunately, Lumumba did not live see a free Congo. He was killed for his desire to unite the country and to ensure that there was true emancipation of his people through control of all their resources. He was killed by way of a firing squad(by treacherous Africans) with the support of Belgium and the USA. More here and here.
2. Ernestina Silla
Ernestina was a formidable guerrilla in the war for independence in Guinea Bissau. In the fight against Portuguese colonialism, she rose to the position of commander of the liberation army, and was responsible for many combat operations. She was killed by the Portuguese while she was on her way to attend the funeral of Amilcar Cabral. She was in her early 20’s.
3. Amilcar Cabral
Cabral led the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), in an armed struggle for independence. Cabral’s revolt was based on his personal observation of the misery of the African population under colonialism. He worked as an agricultural officer for the colonial government, and in this position gained an in-depth understanding of their every-day struggles. Cabral was an avid intellectual and believed in the application of theory in emancipation from all forms of colonial domination. At the core of his philosophy was the belief that:
A people who free themselves from foreign domination will be free culturally only if, without complexes and without underestimating the importance of positive accretions from oppressor and other cultures, they return to the upward paths of their own culture, which is nourished by the living reality of its environment, and which negates both harmful influences and any kind of subjection to foreign culture. Thus, it may be seen that if imperialist domination has the vital need to practice cultural oppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture.
Cabral was anti-exploitation in all of its manifestations. Of all the liberation fighters of his time, he is probably the only person who did not see oppression only through race. Thus he argued:
We of the CONCP are fighting so that insults may no longer rule our countries, martyred and scorned for centuries, so that our peoples may never more be exploited by imperialists-not only by Europeans, not only by people with white skin, because we do not confuse exploitation or exploiters with the colour of men’s skins; we do not want any exploitation in our countries, not even by black people.
There is a very good documentary about his life and ideas here. Read more about him here. Cabral was killed by a fellow PAIGC member, with the support of the Portuguese about 8 months before the attainment of independence. This is what some authors have called the cancer of betrayal.
Muhumusa hailed from present day Rwanda. She was a revered Nyabingi priestess who had enormous spiritual and political influence in the region. She organized armed resistance against British and German colonizers. She was detained by the British and died while in detention. She continued to command a following while in prison. The story of Muhumusa shows that African spirituality (often viewed negatively), served the people in their time of need by consolidating their resistance against colonialism. Rastafarians have adopted many of the Nyabingi practices.
5. Thomas Sankara
Sankara was the president of Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta). Sankara was killed for his desire to free his country and peoples from all of the tentacles of imperialism. Who killed him? Blaise Compaore – with the support of France. Sankara is probably the only African leader who understood that you could not free Africans from global domination if we still remained entangled with the global santa claus (World Bank) and the IMF.This is a conviction that he was willing to defend publicly. This earned him enemies – needless to say. Have you seen Sankara’s speeches at the UN meetings? We do not have anybody in the current group of presidents who can stand up and speak for Africa like that. I think the ones we have have been bought and paid for. He also worked to transform the lives of his people through food security programs, building infrastructure, cultivating their pride etc, with concrete results. Here is a documentary about his life. Read more here and here.
6. Deolinda Roudrigues
Deolinda was a young PanAfricanist who joined the Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola(MPLA). She served as a member of the central committee where she led programs designed to end Portuguese colonialism. She was killed by Portuguese agents on the way from a combat mission in a most brutal manner – she was tortured and dismembered while still alive. When she was studying in Brazil, Deolinda reached out to Martin Luther and sought advice on how to handle some complex issues related to the struggle. Read the correspondence between Deolinda and Martin Luther King Jr here.
7. Steve Biko
Steve Biko was one of the leading figure of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He was a tireless mobilizer, organizer, thinker, and doer. This often got him into trouble with the apartheid state. He was expelled from school, university, banned (meaning he could not talk to more than one person at a time, and eventually arrested and killed. Biko is remembered as the pioneering thinkers behind the “black consciousness movement.” He was only 30 at the time of his death.
8. Mbalia Camara
Mbalia was a young organizer from Guinea. She was a member of the core group that formed the Democratic Party of Guinea, PDG along with Sekou Toure and Mafory Bangaro. She was murdered by agents of the French colonial authorities in 1995. At the time of the attack that led to her death,Mbalia was pregnant. Her attackers slashed open her belly, despite the spirited efforts and protests of the women who had congregated to ward off the attackers. Once her belly was slashed open the women tied their wrappers around her body to stop the bleeding, but she and the baby succumbed to the injuries later on. Her revolutionary spirit is celebrated every 9th of February(the day she died) in Guinea.
9. Malcom X
Malcom remains one of the most revolutionary figures in the struggle for the rights of African Americans. He started out as a militant advocate of racial separation as one of the ways to attaining dignity for his people. He later on changed his position and embraced more moderate views. These were formed as he traveled around the world and experienced a different kind of Islam. He eventually left the Nation of Islam and established his own religious body, the Muslim Mosque Inc. He was killed by assassins from the NOI. A great book about Malcom is Manning Marable’s ‘Malcom X: A life of reinvention’.
10. Dedan Kimathi
Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi was the de facto leader of the Land and Freedom Army (Mau Mau), in Kenya’s struggle for independence from the British. Kimathi is credited with leading one of the most protracted and bloodiest battles for self-determination in the British Empire. British colonial injustice forced the masses of Kenya to mobilize and flee to the forested mountains, from where a battle for land and freedom restoration was waged for 7 years. Kimathi was captured because a treacherous traitor betrayed him. He was later on executed and buried in unmarked grave. His family, Mau Mau veterans, and lovers of justice continue to agitate for his remains so that he can be given a decent burial that he rightfully deserves.
So, one more time. Jesus did not die for us. The examples given above are an illustration of some of the greatest combatants for Africans’ dignity. These people died for us. There are many more heroes in all African societies. I do not understand why we have to be so obsessed with other people’s heroes, yet we do not even know about our own. The same people who came to tell you about Jesus are the exact same ones who have been involved all but one of the gruesome murders discussed above. They are also the same people who steal your gold, diamonds, oil, agricultural produce, land for military bases and other death-producing projects.