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Friday, 31 October 2014

COLOUR & RACE IN AFRICA

Michael Sata, the outspoken president of Zambia, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, passed away in a London hospital due to unknown causes. His deputy, Guy Scott, will take over as interim-president for the next 90 days. Mr Scott, a Cambridge trained economist, will be the first ever white democratically elected leader in sub-Saharan Africa (although he’s been portrayed as currently the only white president in Africa).

Why is it a big deal? Because the world is still fascinated by race relations. But in Zambia, Guy Scott, son of a Scottish immigrant, is regarded as one of theirs. Exactly 50 years after the end of British
colonialism, Zambia has shrugged off the nasty racist rhetoric pervasive in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Unfortunately, Mr Scott might not be eligible to run for office. The Zambian constitution requires all presidential candidates to be at least third generation Zambian. A provision put in place by former President Frederick Chiluba (the country’s second), to prevent Kenneth Kaunda (the country’s first president), whose father was born in present day Malawi, from becoming president again. Mr Chiluba actually attempted to deport Mr Kaunda.

However, if Mr Scott, 70, decides to run for the presidency, a previous judgement by the Zambian Supreme Court in 1998 might validate him as a potential candidate. This also validates what it means to be African.

Your blogger was once invited to a talk titled “A history of Afro-textured hair”. He declined, because Africans may be descended from Asians, Europeans or Black Africans. If you specifically mean the last, just say black Africans or black, not simply African (Afro), or for Afro-Caribbean, use African-Caribbean, or again, use black. Besides, blacks in many countries don’t have any qualms being called black.


It is actually more straightforward.