By John Vianney Ahumuza
Allow me to express my gratitude to gallant men and women who have stood with Africa and its philosophies.
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent. At about 30.2 million km², the continent covers six percent of the earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area.
Africa, particularly central and Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the origin of humans and the great apes, as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus Africanus, Australopithecus Afarensis, Homo erectus, Homo habilis and Homo ergaster – with the earliest Homo Sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago.
These first modern humans left Africa and populated the rest of the globe during the Out of Africa migration dated to approximately 50,000 years ago, exiting the continent either across Bab-el-Mandeb over the Red Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar in Morocco, or the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt and spread to Asia and Europe respectively.
Thus Africa remains the origin of morality and ancient civilization that it shared with Mesopotamia traced currently around Iraq. This humble but great history of the African continent has been woven with its hospitality and its “Ubuntu “philosophy that runs from the Cape to Cairo, Casablanca to Somali land.
No wonder many Africans remain deeply rooted in ancient traditional customs and norms. The concepts of community, blood brotherhood and sisterhood as well as respect for the institution of marriage remain central in African culture. Of late global pressures have emerged especially from the Western countries concerning issues of the fight against terror and the concept of human rights.
Indeed sometimes the continent has been taken advantage of by foreigners who in a bid to access raw materials have forged the existence of terrorists on the continent. Many proxy wars have been ignited including those in Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Western Sahara in the Magreb region. The only fate Africa suffers currently is that such wars are simply torched on its continent. Causalities are Africans and infrastructural destruction is on the continent!
Whereas the Western media seem to portray the African culture as rigid and intolerant, this is not the case. In Africa, we respect each other and since time immemorial, the continent has hosted even people of different sexual pervasions. I wonder why it the 21st century seem to be the only time for Africans to portray intolerant behaviour.
The African interests rest in its history as a cradle of civilization. The western countries must appreciate that just like the way they have interests, African continent has interests too. Otherwise imposition of any vice under the guise of human rights contravenes the principle of sovereignty.
The writer is a lecturer at Uganda Christian University, Mukono