[From "Belgians in the Congo"]
We’re not the only ones getting our history defaced and then destroyed. This pre-genocide process recently claimed a statue of Belgian King Leopold II, which after being vandalized, was removed by the government because he did racisms in the Congo. The government then issued a groveling apology to the Congolese President and announced a “formal investigation” into their colonial racism activities.
I spent a decade abroad, although I’ve only been to Africa once. I firmly intend to never do that again. I actually had an offer a few years back that would’ve involved relocating to Lagos, Nigeria. It was explained to me that expat professionals could live pretty well since the cost of domestic help was so low. I envisioned myself getting dismembered by an angry mob and immediately declined.
There was a church I went to where I was basically the only white guy and everyone else was an imported Filipino factory worker. The priest was from the Congo. Although everyone was speaking English, they were basically mutually unintelligible. It was pretty funny actually.
The Congolese priest was quite an amiable fellow. Sometimes, we would drink with each other in the evenings. He had some rather interesting stories. The gist of his take on his homeland was that Congolese generally aren’t up to very much, but if they get agitated, then well yeah, there’s going to be some rapine cannibalism. It was a fact of life kinda thing for him and he didn’t seem terribly worked up over it.
In another place, I had some associates from Malawi and Burkina Faso. This was quite a hot location, and in that sort of weather I prefer drinking vodka tonics. When I offered them one, a look of shock came across their faces. According to them, Africans who ingest vodka in hot weather put themselves at risk of spontaneous combustion. They figured this was self-evident science that I should’ve known since there were black people in my country.
One thing I’ve never heard from the Africans I knew was that their continent would be Wakanda if whitey hadn’t screwed the place up. This was long before that Black Panther movie came out, so maybe their opinions have changed. However, I doubt it because they were always clear on causality.
Even though they were from different countries they had rather consistent opinions on most things. A big one was that the people of their countries weren’t exactly industrious or well organized. They also shared an amazement at the sheer amount of free stuff that black people get in America. They pointed out that folks in their country do nothing and have nothing, but you can also do nothing in America and live like a king compared to Africans who don’t even have running water.