The following was written by ASFL Programs Manager Olumayowa Okediran
One does not need statistics from the World Bank or the United Nations to recognize the depth of primitivism of the African continent, Africa is a backward continent and that is a fact! I have received a good dose of verbal bashing, usually a mob-like polemic from Africans who consider my views about the continent fallacious or better still a sacrilege, to them. I must be an insane zealot of the West, who deserves nothing but the wrath of the gods of the land. Unknowingly to them, they ignorantly vindicate me by their obvious intolerance to my point of view. Many times, these Africans in all their “sophistication” resort to shouting me down or totally blocking me out from discussing my views about the continent and what I consider as a footpath towards modern civilization. This sheer act reflects the primitivism of several African intellectuals. Toleration of the views of others is an important aspect of modernization.
I need to start by stating that I do not consider westernization to be a synonym for modernization, I hope this will convince the parade of pseudo-anti-Western-imperialism advocates to stay around a little longer and hear me out.
There is a common erroneous misconception as to what constitutes modernization and westernization. There has been a conflation of both in African intellectual circles, just as there has been a conflation of capitalism and colonialism. However, I save a discuss on the latter for a later day. Olufemi Taiwo, Professor of Philosophy and Global African Studies at the Seattle University in his book “Africa must be Modern” did a good job in laying out the differences between westernization and modernization. He states that, “the history of Africa’s engagement with modernity has always been wracked with doubt, ambivalence, confusion and hostility. Because in the dominant thinking of Africans and non-Africans alike that modernity is coterminous with westernization and the West.” He goes on to state his experience with African scholars who are “almost required to ritually reject anything western or, at least, show that their relationship with it cannot be other than negative or ambivalent”.