BOOK REVIEW: Who are You, African? By Samuel Otieno Olago

Samuel Olago Otieno dissects the problem with the African and tries to offer solutions to them.

This, I think is the first, book review of this book Who are You, African? (I searched online, there was none)

To Mr Olago, the problem with the African, anywhere in the world, is that one to do with the inferiority complex mentality that bears such excuses as ‘we are a developing nation’, ‘we do not have the capital or facilities to advance’, ‘we are being exploited by other developed nations’, ‘the conditions are not right’, ‘we have been cursed’.

I read this book a long time ago, I believe in 2004ish, thereby. But some of the lessons it offers are still valid.

It has the feeling of ‘urgency of now’, where it delves into the root causes of why African and Africans are considered or consider themselves, backward. A thing that the author frowns upon and rightfully discourages.

As per the excuses labelled above, Olago says, ‘While some of the statements may bear a certain amount of truth, the validity of the explanations usually is clearly questionable’.

The books has deep insights about certain stereotypes too, for example, it says, ‘The black race is often described as an uncivilized race. How true is this? It posits, then answers, “I have found that often the word “civilized” is used to describe behavior. However, civilization has nothing to do with behavior of individuals. Civilization really means the art of living in Cities”.

To my young mind, the book planted some indelible definitions, the above is one. The second is, that ‘truth is the reality underlying all existence’. I owe it to Samuel Otieno Olago.

Most African suffer from a deep inferiority complex that has paralyzed them. Some can’t even say no or correct something bad a light-skinned person has done.

Olago laments that this is why we treat each other very crudely, including how leaders perceive and treat citizens in Africa. You saw that picture of President Uhuru with pupils from different schools. It stems from the hatred for self.

Discrimination: Comparison of how Uhuru treated children from an exclusive private primary school and how he handled those from a poor rural school.

In an attempt to liberate the African, Olago offers a detour describing what a Human being is, he also gives an outline history of continents. There’ a chapter that tackles Universal principles of life, where he touches on the principle of purpose which states that everything in the universe has a purpose and that if that purpose isn’t discovered and put to good use, it will be abused.

That is the predicament of Africans.

Sam Believes that it is possible for the African Continent to transform itself into the epitome of efficiency in the fields of governance and production, self-sufficiency in providing for its people and equality in providing its human resources both male and female, with opportunities to unfold the splendor of the African Spirit and ability to the fullest. – About the Author

A people who have been lied to, taught false history then hooked onto the bandwagon of lightskin supremacy.

What an abuse.

It is all really in the mind. And the book speaks about the Dominant Thought Principle, where it reveals that “You will always move in the direction of your dominant thought”.

Now imagine what a people will do when their dominant thought is full of lies?

On the path to restoration, the book touches on the Principle of Persistence, Here, the Mathew 7:7-8 comes in handy.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – NIV Bible

Restoration does not encompass that only, the book also offers advice on goal-setting, starting with the available resources, embracing the best quality and standards, perseverance (dealing with obstacles), it advises shunning get-rich-quick schemes, how o deal with peer pressure, family and friends, and how to develop as an individual.

It is in the development as an individual that the nation can collectively develop. For in those who have been chosen to serve in government, Olago reminds you of the Principle of Service which is captured well by the good book that, ‘there’s no greater love than that a man should lay down his life for another’

The subtopic on debt and borrowing must have come late for Kenya as a country. We are now slaves to China and the only way to escape is through a very narrow road which I think a Kenyatta cannot pass through.

For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to do what is beneficial to the whole of humanity.

The lessons in this 89 paged book are true for an individual as for a nation.