The Distorted Worldview of the Common African


Second class mentality 2


One of the areas in which our colonial masters significantly succeeded in, is in changing how Africans perceive themselves and their role in the world. The colonial masters managed to divide us so much, such that even after independence Africans have failed to unite. In fact it’s sometimes a far-fetched dream to even talk about the unification of Africa, when at a national level most African countries are so tribalistic; each tribe thinks they are the best. Instead of our diversity being a source of creativity where we can all bring our differences together and utilise these to move our countries forward, it has become a hindrance to progress. During elections, Africans often vote based on tribal lines and not necessarily based on who has a vision to take the country forward. We may bring the colonial masters’ statues down, however nothing will change until we begin to recognize and bring down the recessive mentalities that exist among us.

Association is not transformation, we only transform through deliberate efforts. One day I was speaking to a Pastor friend of mine over the phone and he went on to brag about how he has been ministering to white people, and he felt that because of this, the ministry had gone to another level. This shocked me because I thought that ministers of the gospel should have a different worldview which does not value people based on their race or class in society.

My philosophy is that those who represent God should judge people not based on the colour of their skin but rather on their character. After speaking to my friend that day, I lamented in my heart and came to the realisation that we are far from being truly independent and that our minds believe that we are “second class citizens”, hence we think that by associating ourselves with certain people we are deemed to be superior or that this validates our significance.

We were not created to compete nor compare ourselves to others but to allow our uniqueness to serve a purpose that propagates a common good. I also believe that any association that exists to boost your ego but hides your inadequacies just sets you up on the highway to failure and humiliation. True associations are value based, it is more about what one brings to the table that earns him/her the respect, not by the mere fact of associating with great people. A second class mentality on the other hand thrives on other people’s success. Those with this way of thinking see themselves as individuals who need validation from those who seem to have “first class mentalities” or have achieved something in life.

This is why most people take pride and brag about who they know as a way of denoting their significance. Life is not about who you know but who you are or are becoming as you associate yourself with noble individuals. In fact one of the ways of shaking off a “second class mentality” is by choosing to associate with individuals who challenge your way of life which is a product of your thinking patterns. Never settle for just knowing people in high places, rather utilise the time to learn from them.

Today in some parts of Africa your business is likely to do well or be given opportunities if a white or chinese person is a part of it and this is partly because black people are not known for excellence. We are associated with mediocre delivery in our endeavours while on other hand black people do not trust their fellow blacks. The lack of trust among Africans is also seen in the way we refer to one other, for instance a person visiting an African country from Europe is often referred to as a “tourist” whilst a fellow African visiting the very same country will be called a “foreigner”. An African minister of the gospel in an African country is called a “foreign pastor” while those who come into Africa from outside Africa are called “missionaries”. Actually it is easily believable to be legit if an investor is coming from outside Africa than it is, if he or she comes from within Africa.

Kelvin Namwanza,is a Coach,Author, Speaker.  To invite him to speak at your next event, write to us at

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