The story of our integration into the capitalist system is very, very sad.
I feel deeply on this subject; I cannot help it. Let’s take a little glance at the history of the African. It seems to me that the story would melt hearts of stone. This capitalism that some of our people defend so strongly, that they brag about is not something we got into voluntarily.
We got into it because we couldn’t help it. Our ancestors were captured in our jungles and on our plains, captured as you capture wild beasts, torn from their homes and their kindred; loaded into capitalist slave ships, packed like sardines in a box, half of them dying on the ocean passage; some jumping into the sea in their frenzy, when they had a chance to choose death in the place of capitalist slavery. They were bought and sold as slaves, to work without pay – they were commodities on the capitalist market. They were subjected to all this for generations.
The great grandmother of our first vice-president and general secretary, Dr Cosmas Musumali, was a run away slave. She was captured while collecting firewood and taken to the Atlantic coast in Angola. She escaped from captivity the way she was captured. While waiting for the ship to return from the Americas to come and take them, they were sent to collect firewood and she escaped. It took her three years to get back to home in the western part of what is now Zambia.
But it was not only those who were captured as slaves that suffered. Those who were not captured as slaves suffered too. They lived in perpetual fear of being captured as slaves. A human being living in perpetual fear has no peace – and loses self esteem, creativity and productivity. And the consequences of this life of fear are transmitted through the DNA to generations and generations of Africans even long after the classical capitalist slavery has ended. Today the African still a human being with relatively very low self esteem, creativity and productivity. It requires a struggle, a revolutionary transformation of the human being and the country to come out of this.
That is our history. We are the children of capitalist slavery. If capitalism owes anything to any human being, or to any power in the universe, it owes it to us. Above all other human beings, capitalism owes an obligation and a duty to us that can never be repaid. And if any African, or indeed any decent human being with a sense of justice, feels as he or she should feel, their emotions will be like mine.
I know we have a long and rough road to go. I believe that the life of an African has been a life of tragedy, of injustice, of oppression, of exploitation and of humiliation. Today the law has made us equal, but capitalism has not. And, after all, the last analysis is: what has capitalism done? – and not what has the law done?
I know there is a very rough road ahead of us before we can take the place which I believe we should take. I know before us there’s sorrow, despair and hopelessness. I will do whatever I can to end it.
What do you think is your duty in this situation?