Every human group and classification, whether by race, colour, or language, has its unique ways of expressing themselves. To the Acholi people, a Luo group living in Uganda and South Sudan, they also have several idioms or proverbs to express themselves when it comes to different circumstances or situations. For example, the Acholi people say that “Bedo inget bye oweko kom pura kwar”.
“Bye” is an ant hill, and “pura” is an antelope, while “oweko’ means it has become, or has resulted into…and “kom” is body. Therefore, this proverb literally means that the antelope has become brown because it stays most of the time near an anthill. Although this saying fits the antelope, it could also be applied to other life’s circumstances of human beings. One critical and fundamental circumstance which this proverb applies to is how European cultures have affected global races. The European cultures, which are essentially about domination, exploitation and control of others, have had profound impacts on other human races. These effects may be either political, social, economic or otherwise.
A particularly sad one that still lingers in almost every human race is slavery, which, although had its history in Europe, and then spread to other parts of the world, is still having a particularly profound negative impact on Africans, even up to now. Wall street and its dubious dealings on a world economic stage, is a real reflection of African slavery from a historical perspective. However, how can one relate to this unfortunate situation in the modern world?
One may realistically be tempted to ask this rather less serious question: Were Africans enslaved by Europeans by being near to them? A more serious question to ask is: Why upto now are Africans still enslaved despite passing several laws against slavery? The answer to this question, if we are honest and truthful to our conscience, is found in the Acholi proverb:“Bedo inget bye oweko kom pura kwar” We, the Africans in general and Acholi people in particular, have become accustomed to European ways of life and cultures that they do not seem to matter anymore. We think, sadly though, that the European ways of life are the only right ways to conduct our lives. We speak their languages, wear their clothing styles, sing their songs,eat their foods, get their education, practice their political systems, worship their gods, and even think like them! We have become, as Dr. Wade Nobles says, “sheep dogs”
Unless Africans throw away all aspects of European ways of life, they will remain “pura“, or genetically modified human beings(GMHs). Our psyches are essentially European. There is only one serious way to get out of this mess: embracing an African centered way of life, Afro-centricity; the ultimate solution to “Bedo inget bye oweko kom pura kwar”.