Capitalist nigger

What is the difference between what you are preaching and what other Africans on the continent and in the diaspora have said about the need for economic self-reliance?

My message is different in that they were always blaming colonialists or slavery for the black person’s problems. I am not saying we should not recognise the impact of colonialism. But we should say that it has been 45 years since Africa was decolonised. It is time we said that what happens in Africa today, we are responsible for it. We cannot continue to blame the colonialist. Who said to [Nigerian military strongman Sani] Abacha and [Congo dictator] Mobutu [Sese Seko] ‘take the money and go and put it in a bank in Europe?’

So what do you see as a solution?

We need to learn to take care of ourselves. Indians wear saris made in India, they drive cars made in India, and [the] Chinese are not afraid to use products made in their country. We must do the same.

What is stopping blacks from doing what they need to do?

Inferiority complex. I met a man who says he is from a village somewhere here. He told me that the people in his village have lost all their stores to the Pakistanis. Why is that? It is because we are not willing to put in the same amount of time. It is because the Pakistanis are willing to work hard; they are prepared to work 25 hours a day and eight days a week. Blacks are not willing to work hard. They think that once you have a shop, you have arrived.

What about the possibility that the Pakistani, like the Chinese, have access to cheaper raw materials and commodities because of the lower cost of doing business in their countries?

People in Africa should not demand such high wages. The Indians don’t mind working for peanuts, as long as it is for the good of their communities.

But there are wealth-gap issues in both India and China.

Why must we concentrate on the negative? In India, the larger part of the population is still poor. So what? India is leading in a lot of ways. If you make a call to credit card company, chances are it would be answered in India. Just because of the way they have been able to do the things. The reason we have so many people going to Europe looking for work is because we have not been able to provide jobs for our people.

What would you say to comments that you are playing into the hands of racists by depicting black people as lazy and inefficient?

I don’t care about what white people are thinking. It is what we think about ourselves. If we talk about it, perhaps we will stop doing it.

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