by Hannes Wessels
I know the overwhelming majority of my fellow South Africans are jubilant at the prospect of a Joe Biden/Kamala Harris presidency and I know this sentiment is shared by the majority of people around the world. As the only Western leader to express any interest at all in the plight of this country’s commercial farmers and their workers, I am not sure why most whites here are so opposed to him, but they are. Unfortunately, I do not feel the same sense of elation; maybe they know something that passes me by, and I dearly hope that is the case, but I see it all very differently. I, in my Afrocentric way, see his eclipse as part of a process that came into play after WW II.
Trump, behind the big ego, and the brash, abrasive style of delivery, believes strongly in traditional American values which he credits with having made his country ‘great’. The values he refers to are, broadly speaking, the same as the ones that formed the bedrock of what is loosely referred to as Western Civilisation underpinned by Christian fundamentals.
When Africa was colonised, those dispatched to the ‘Dark Continent’ were similarly imbued with these same sentiments regarding the task that lay before them in ’civilising’ what they saw as an ‘uncivilised’ territory. Most of the new colonisers looked to Christian missionaries who constituted the vanguard of European settlement in Africa, to provide the lead in the arduous process they set about tackling. If one gauges the colonial period in terms of population growth and a reduction in violence then it must be declared a success but people possessed of the same mentality as those who today celebrate the Trump demise, saw it differently. They were strongly of the view that the tenets that buttressed this so called ‘Christian Civilisation’ had no place in Africa, were brutally imposed, and the newly applied systems of governance were a racially motivated abomination that should be ended immediately. They prevailed and the decolonisation process commenced in the Gold Coast (renamed Ghana) in 1957. The world cheered.
With that signal event the race was on to abandon Africa, apologise for the rude intrusion, and head home to Europe. When the Portuguese, the last European colonial power relinquished their possessions in 1975 the world cheered. When Robert Mugabe took power in 1980 the world cheered. When Nelson Mandela ended white rule in South Africa in 1994 the world cheered.
I now look at sub-Saharan Africa and see hunger stalks many lands, lawlessness and violence is endemic, and the vast majority of Africans live in grinding poverty while a tiny politically connected kleptocratic clique has amassed obscene amounts of wealth. So I feel justified in asking what all the cheering was about.
Regrettably, the Europe the colonisers returned to, engulfed in a wave of ‘white guilt’, was also ditching its traditional values and beliefs and creating more ‘inclusive’ societies which welcomed alien religions, cultures and systems of governance in a frantic bid to appease the myriad critics who identified so called ‘white supremacy’ as the crime of the century. The erstwhile imperialists looked to salve their consciences in an exercise of socio-political self-flagellation, by asking to be colonised themselves and then generously facilitating the process. In this they appear to have been successful and thanks to rapid population growth among the immigrant community, the Western European powers along with the UK are dismantling the systems that brought them global influence and prosperity and appear on course to self-destruction. The same people that cheered decolonisation in Africa are celebrating this process while exhorting the political leadership to expedite it faster.
One of Barack Obama’s first actions on entering the Oval Office was to remove the bust of Winston Churchill to make clear his disdain for one that country’s great prime ministers and Britain’s imperial legacy. His administration shared the same approach as their European allies and applied many of the same policies in an effort to make the United States more ethnically diverse through opening borders and encouraging the flow of illegal immigrants. Obama, a Muslim, treated traditional American values with contempt.
Against this backdrop Trump came to power and set about trying to reverse the destructive trend by sealing the borders and championing traditional American mores and values; he declared himself an unabashed American patriot and expressed pride in his country and what it had achieved; he promptly became the most pilloried and persecuted president in the history of the United States. His detractors appear to have won the day. Millions of his compatriots and millions more around the world are celebrating his demise.
Out of office the road ahead for President Trump is a rocky one. His persecutors are far from finished with him and will punish him for his impertinence. Thanks to a blatantly biased justice system that acts selectively, putting some like the Clintons beyond the reach of the law, Trump has incurred its wrath and he will face a criminal trial. In a country where aggressive prosecutors invariably win there is every likelihood of a conviction of some sort and a prison sentence.
He may go down in history as the last Western leader who stood fast for Christian values and traditions and like the quiet man from Nazareth, he will pay dearly for it.