MILITARY coups, corruption in high places, assassinations, mis-governance — and now rape: Africa has cornered the market in all these “sins”.
The latest mass rape was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), an excuse of a country if ever there was one. Men and boys were among those raped.
This could only occur in the DRC.
This is a country with a curse of some sort.
Perhaps they ought to hold a traditional ceremony at which all the leaders should seek the forgiveness of Patrice Lumumba.
There is rape in other countries in the world.
This does not mean that rape is an atrocity that can be rationalised.
Even a scantily-dressed woman cannot be accused of inviting a man to rape her.
People who rape women and even men are hardly normal. They are suffering from some form of malady.
Sigmund Freud probably explained it all somewhere.
But this is no time for such an exercise in the psycho-analysis of the typical rapist.
Recently, in the hellhole that is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, men, women, girls and boys were raped.
It’s not clear what triggered this madness.
But the DRC has been plagued by madness since Lumumba’s death.
I listened, in fascinated horror, to one of the rapists, as he explained why he had done it.
He hadn’t been paid by the government for all the work he had done.
He felt he had to do something about this discrepancy.
So, he raped a woman.
Would he explain it to her — that he raped her because the government had not paid him for his work?
Rape is sort of irrational.
The sexual act is basically anchored on affection — at the very least.
Raping someone is meaningless. It is the beast in you that prompts you to rape someone. That is the layman’s explanation.
It’s difficult for someone who has not raped someone to understand what it all means.
But there is a darkness to it, a certain absence of logic.
Of course, in the context of the DRC insanity, it is not difficult to rationalise it.
Who, in that country, can explain why, though endowed with vast natural resources, the country is a sort of cesspool?
This is not to say that there are many other African countries which can explain why, with their vast oil and mineral riches, some of their people have no clean drinking water, cannot afford a square meal a day, have no jobs and have no good health to speak of.
The DRC has been independent since 1960.
Of course, it is not an exception.
Guinea Conakry has been independent since that year as well.
Incidentally, it too experienced an incident of rape which was as ghastly as the one reported in the DRC.
Was this their way of celebrating 50 years of independence?
The African problem is one of bringing meaning to independence.
Of course, some may say this is not peculiar to Africa: all nations took time before they settled down to enjoying their independence.
They were trials and tribulations.
In fact, one cynic has suggested that we Africans should not be too hasty to condemn our underdevelopment on our ineptitude.
How long did it take Europe to achieve its high standards of living?
These apologists say the same thing about Africa: let’s give ourselves time.
Let the dictators kill and starve us while they and their families grow fat, have Swiss bank accounts and even castles in Spain — while most of us scrounge for a meal a day.
Soon, the apologists will explain to us that the rapes that have occurred recently are nothing compared with what the Europeans experienced in their early years.
Even that, they will say, is a gradual process about which we should not be unduly concerned.
“There is no hurry in Africa”, they used to tell us.
But many Africans have now realised that there ought to be an element of hurry in our development.
They say if we didn’t fight for independence so we could better ourselves, we should call back the colonialists.
That is a ghastly thought, as ghastly as soldiers raping women because the government hasn’t paid them.