|PROGRAM 7, A GARDEN OF EDEN IN DECAY
This program starts with an erie scene of a modern ghost town in the Ivory Coast with a hospital built for President Houphet Boigny. Mazrui calls it "luxury in the midst of deprivation." The continent has "mortgaged its soul" as development has taken a distorted path. Mazrui cites three major factors for the technological delay in Africa: climate, foreign invasion, and independent Africa's poor judgment.
Africa's climate has given Africans a natural abundance. In equatorial Zaire, with the big range of animals and plants present, there was no need to develop kingdoms or states. The social organization was informed and relaxed. There was no need for long-term planning. However, in the West, because there were winters and short growing seasons, there was a need to plan in order to survive. Because of lack of planning, Kenyans have allowed herds to multiply beyond capacity. These Kenyans had to depend on Western charities to buy their emaciated animals and distribute their meat as food.
In Mozambique, they grow sugar for export even as people in Mozambique grow hungry. In Kenya, coffee and tea are grown so that Europe can consume them. In Ghana, cocoa is grown on land where staple foods may have grown. As these three nations depend on the sale of their cash crops, their nations show signs of decay. In Uganda and Ghana, the roads are bad. The state of communication in Africa is badly in need of repair. In Ghana, the walls of schools are crumbling and there are no papers and pens. Without education, there comes a slow death of civilization. Mazrui keeps referring to the "demon of decay and the devil of dependency".
In Tanzania, there has arisen a divide. One group of people rely on traditional methods as they herd cattle. Another group has embraced Canadian technology for wheat production. This wheat is then used to make bread, which benefits the urban elites. The urban elite has new food habits which for Mazrui further signify a dependence on the outside world. The Tanzanian national leader encourages self-reliance and the importance of keeping the soil good. With members of the community working together, he hopes to have community schools and clean water. Collective farming did not work. However, as incentives were introduced for individual effort, migration of potential farmers to cities was stemmed.
In Nigeria, farming brings an inadequate living. In other African nations as well, Africans are moving to cities to find better jobs. In cities, Western values are apparent. Africans can dream of becoming like the whites who luxuriate in cars, wine, and music. Nevertheless, in Islamic Sudan, Western values are viewed suspiciously. Beer cans were steam-rollered while beer making factories were destroyed.
When they colonized Mozambique, the Portuguese did not develop a viable economic system. Thus Mozambique has developed a socialist system. In Nigeria, with the oil boon, the government went on a spending spree which the farmers joined. With a weak capitalist economy, moral disease became rampant. When the colonial regime was in place, Nigerians thought that stealing from the government was alright. Even with Nigerians in power, African attitudes towards government property have not changed.
In the Ivory Coast, much of the rain forests are being destroyed so
that timber can be exported to Europe. This a prime example of the
export of raw materials for the import of finished goods. Mazrui
gives two nations that are finally becoming independent of the European
nations and providing for their own needs. Algeria was under European
colonial rule long enough for the industrial revolution to occur there.
Algerians can make steel from iron. Thus with a socialist government,
the Algerians have the technology to become equals of Western nations.
In Zimbabwe, without industrialization, communal famers have been able
to increase their yield ten-fold. They have used more efficent and
simpler technologies to become self-sufficient and have even become exporters
of grain. Mazrui notes that though few can feed themselves in this
"garden of eden in decay", the "human will has the power of restoration."