Africa isn't poor, Africa is exploited
This is an interview with Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo that took place in Accra (Ghana), on January 1998.Aidoo is considered an outspoken African writer
Since we met you people 500 hundred years ago, look at
us. We've given everything, you are still taking. It's true.
I mean, where would the whole western world be without Africa? Our cocoa, our timber, our gold, our diamonds, our platinum, our whatever.
Everything you have, is us. I am not saying it, it's a fact. And in return for all of this, what have we got? Nothing...
Anti-personnel indoctrination against ourselves, If you go and cook your horrible diseases like AIDS, you say it is us, you brought us tuberculosis, we didn't have this big cough until white people came here.
In exchange for Africa giving Europe 500 solid years of our people, I mean not Europe, the western world, of our human beings, to work you canes, to dig your gold, to take in gold itself, diamonds...I mean you know, fish, peanuts, palm oil, everything! In exchange for that, we have got nothing. Nothing, and you know it. Nothing! And white folks look upon us like monkeys. It is true!
It is in your literature! Some of your best thinkers have said this about us! have you heard of all this Germans. Lord Bertrand, people like that, they said we don't even have the brain of animals... That is what we have got from you people.
Interviewer : But don't you think this is over now?
Over where? Is it over? who said that AIDS came from the green monkeys? Is it over?
Interviewer: Well if this is your impression do you think you can ever forgive us?
It's not a question of forgiveness, I have nothing against you. My point is that you did and you are doing it for you survival what is necessary. We can't blame you for that. The fact that we didn't do enough for our own survival and we still not doing enough for survival, that is not your problem.
Everybody God has created, has a sense of survival. If we don't develop it, we can't blame white people.
You came here because you needed these things. You took gun powder from the Chinese. You needed them to shoot people.
I think that for me and members of my family, El Mina castle has got a very very special significance because they tortured my father's father, my real grandfather to death there by the colonial government.
So for me, when people like me talk about colonization, neocolonization, it's not because one is being intellectually smart. We have personal touches with it, I mean I cannot that this happened to my Grandfather.
Interviewer: Do you consider aid as a new form of colonization?
Why? you know, my people, the Akans, we have a proverb, it's says that Good morning, thank it's not enough to salt anybody's food forever. You cannot build your life on Thank you.
Which is what aids makes you know we are always receiving.
Look, I don't care who hears, nobody anywhere in this world is going to send you their best of anything.
Neither the experts...What I mean, you give us what you can afford. Aid is the leftover and it cannot be enough... The world is now one place, so there is nothing wrong if my house is in a crisis and you offered me something. There is nothing wrong because there is interrelationship. But a whole nation, a whole continent, cannot live forever on aid.
And I think aid in Africa, we are in danger of making foreign aid a kind of policy, that is wrong... It humiliates our people, the people in the villages have not asked anybody to go around begging on their behalf.