Book Title: Young, Black and Beautiful
Author: Temitope Adeyemo
Publisher: Makehaven Ltd
Year of Publication: 2015
Number of Pages: 267
Reviewer: Oladipo Kehinde
Literature for a better future. It is a veritable tool to liberate the mind. There are no more chains in the hands and legs of a black man. Those chains are now in the brain causing mental pain. We are not slaves. Yet we are still finding our place in history. We need to deconstruct and decolonise our mind from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism. Africa has refused to catch up with the rest of the world. Should we resign to fate? Africa will get it right when the time is ripe. Why has poverty glued to the map of Africa? What is free and fair election if all African leaders are established by God? Is there any data or theory that qualifies Africa as the third world country? The Apes now become the apes of the apes. Africa the heart of darkness. Our beloved Africa now retrogresses instead of progress. Africa now wears poverty like neck lace.
The author talks about slavery, colonialism, racism, the role African leaders played in slavery and how Africans can get out of poverty. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o posits that the whites did not teach the blacks violence and greed. It was already inherent in us. Just one man can re-position Africa. Just one black man can be the Messiah that will birth and lead the way to the promise land. We suffer in the midst of plenty. The problem is that we think collectively and nature does not like it. The crowd is always weak. We have arable lands and yet we struggle to feed ourselves in Africa. For Africa to move forward we have to change our thinking process. We need creative visualization. The author writes: “Why are we so backward? Why must it be that almost everything negative is associated with the black race? What have we done wrong as a race?”p19.
These are pertinent questions begging for answers. Africa is a meal for other races to have a chunk of her wealth and resources. Nevertheless, Africans are the problems of Africa. Can any good thing come out of Africa? Why can’t we have United State of Africa? The gospel truth is that Africa is a burden to the world. All our able bodied youths are getting to Europe by air or by sea for greener pastures at the detriment of their lives. White means purity and we buy the idea that black means darkness and despair. Our black skin is our consciousness. We need to be black and beautiful in our thinking process.
The Africans have their ways of lives and well organised system of government before the advent of colonialism. All these are rooted in her culture, writing, medicine and their tools for hunting and farming. The author says: “I often wondered, and I am sure many black Africans would too, if Africa would have modernized if we were never colonized. I often wonder where Africa would be today if we never had slavery and colonialism in our history. Could we have joined the rest of the world in modernisation or should we remain as we were before the era of slavery and imperialism?” p 44. The memory of slave trade has really damaged our self-image. We were Hopeless and voiceless during the slave trade. The blacks suffer at home and on the plantations. Men, women and children were stored and packed like spoons inside a drawer in the slave ship. They think and dream of freedom on their bed at night. We eventually got our freedom but what do we do with the freedom? We depend on the Europeans for grant, and the wealth we have, we kept in their banks and impoverished ourselves. We have to move past our past and embrace our future. Adeyemo observes: “the shackles of racism have for long held black race in self-pity, inferiority complex and lack of motivation to succeed.” p 84.
African countries ultimately need to explore and harness the mental and natural resources for her to compete with the developed countries of the world. We should create a foreseeable future for our children. The solution to Africans problems can only be solved by Africans. After independence what can we point out to as global achievement? The outbreak of diseases, genocide, and bad leadership are the proverb and parable spreading about the black race. We have dwelled too long for so long about slavery and colonialism. We have to break the chain of mental slavery and dependency syndrome. The author affirms: “we as a people have focused so much on everything else apart from ourselves. Our story will remain as it is if we do not start developing human capital of Africa.” p 119.
The title of the book depicts that African youths ought to be young, black and successful. The reverse is the case. Our teeming youths cannot lay hands on jobs. The idle mind is the devils workshop. Mind is all: Mind is all. The author points out: “if they do not have what to live for, they will surely look for what to die for. Proof of this lies in many young Africans sojourning through dangerous North Africa routes to Europe” p 185.
Adeyemo has challenged all African youths to have a daring spirits to change the course of our destiny. This is a motivational piece laced with hope and aspiration for a better Africa.
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