Impetus to achieve: The victory of colonialism

The other night as I was watching television, I came across a program about an interesting Asian man called Herbert Chavez that is such a huge fan of comic super hero character Superman, he actually underwent surgery to look like him.

He has gone beyond collecting superman regalia and actually went out of his way to look like, and dress up as the comic book hero.

Herbert Chavez, who hails from Calamba city, Philippines, has undergone 19 surgeries over 16 years to look like Clark Kent alias Superman. He has undergone nose jobs to make the shape of his nose straight and pointed like that of Caucasians, he has had his skin whitened and undergone lip liposuction, jaw realignment, pec implants and even abdominal implants to become a real-life Clarke Kent after falling in love with the TV programme Superman aged five.

His surgery over the years has cost him a whopping £4,400.00. In June 2013, Guinness recognised 37 year old Herbert Chavez for having the largest collection of Superman memorabilia with 1,253 items.

As the program aired, there were short clips run of different experts that were interviewed to give their views on the matter. One Writer/ Historian gave what I found to be very interesting views on Herbert Chavez.

He said that the behaviour by Herbert Chavez illustrates the victory of colonialism. He went on to say that part of colonialism was the very notion that white is better than Asian or even African, and so an Asian boy can grow up to idolize a white super hero and further go on to change his physical features to look like a white person.

I took a bit of time to analyse what this writer/ historian had to say.

It actually inspired me to get off the couch and start writing this article. I’m of the opinion that there is a lot of truth to what this man said.

If we all take a look around us, there is the victory of colonialism everywhere you look. Even what we have now come to refer to as neo colonialism is so real; yet so many people don’t seem to understand or even appreciate how deeply entrenched it has become in the developing world.

Take a moment to think about something. How is it that Herbert Chavez could spend ridiculous amounts of money in order to change his natural Asian features to suit those of a white man? Or why did Michael Jackson undergo his plastic surgery in order to ‘become’ a white man?

Yes, there are stories about some skin condition that Michael Jackson might have had that necessitated that surgery but let me state that I do not buy those stories, and for the purposes of this article, I will treat them as untrue.

Here is what we must all ask ourselves: how often do you hear of a white person going out of their way to become an African man (or like an African man), or an Asian man? Even when it comes to accents.

Why is it that an African will spend a limited time in Europe or America and quickly develop an accent such as theirs (or at least what she/he thinks is an accent from there) and yet you can have a white person live in an African country all his life and he does not speak like an African.

His accent will never be as heavy as our brilliant economist Mr Ngandu Magande. Why is this?

It’s like white is the standard to achieve; in a word – the benchmark.

Colonialism has truly had a great victory largely because we have allowed it to be so.

I once read an article by leader of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro where he said – in relation to America – that you cannot compete with, or rise to the level of competing with a country regarded as a superpower if you hero worship that country. (Something like that at least as I do not remember the exact words), but I certainly remember the gist.

What Fidel Castro was saying is that the idea of worshipping another grouping that in many ways may be considered your rival simply means that you will never rise to the level where you can compete with such a group. You may have already lost the all-important psychological battle.

You will always view them as being ahead of you and capable of achievements beyond your own abilities.

We once had our own beverages in this country – Tarino, Sport Cola and Tip top – that were meant to give us a local brand and as well as industrial presence that could rival international brands.

I’m not going to go into some of the issues of management of these State owned enterprises at the time because that’s besides my point. Today, we’ve got international brands (rival brands even) competing to serve our people the very same kinds of beverages that we once produced and very few people seem to be bothered by this, many of our people actually worship these foreign brands. I actually find this state of affairs sad. But again, it really just goes to show the extent to which colonialism has been victorious.

Many a time when I sit with friends in our various social gatherings, it’s not unusual for someone to bring up the topic of how white people are so intelligent and we must simply bow our heads to them, metaphorically speaking.

These people will go on to say that white people have given the world this and that and therefore they are simply the supreme beings that we must all look up to.

Some of these discussions actually get heated and passionate between or among those in disagreement.

My view is that the white man has done a lot to contribute to human history and certainly deserves a pat on the back, but that does not mean the rest of the various people should sit back and idolise the white man; this to me is unacceptable.

I think it’s better to learn from the white man, and try to improve on his way of doing things.

There is always a chance that the world tomorrow will be driven by Africans.

If you look at China today, it’s really not a very long time ago that they were regarded as just another third world country. Today, things are so different there.

They are the manufacturing capital of the world. Fine, their economy might be currently slowing, but who can deny their prowess?

Nobody really. And this is the attitude we need to take as Africans instead of simply worshipping the white man as the Saviour of the world.

That to me is just unacceptable. Anything white can do, black can do. Ki peto!

So my dear brothers and sisters out there, let us not be limited in our thinking. Even as we raise our children, let’s not allow them to ever believe for a second that the role to change the world is for a more superior human being than them.

Let’s teach them that all things are possible. After all, civilisation did begin along the Nile, and if my history serves me right, fire was first discovered in Africa. But we cannot live on past glory that’s actually millennia old, we have to rediscover a new form so as to be relevant to the world today and once again carve out a significant part of human history for ourselves.

We have played too many lousy roles over the course of history.

We were made slaves and taken to different parts of the world, we were colonised and today we continue to be oppressed, many a time by our own people in the leadership of our countries.

In the developed parts of the world, we continue to bottom feed at times with no sense of shame or humiliation.

These roles have been too rubbish and they have been prolonged by the fact that we have relegated ourselves to worshipping those living on the bright side of life.

Let us not be like the Asian man I mentioned earlier who can even alter his features in order to look like a Caucasian super hero. Let us also not be like Michael Jackson that went out of his way to ‘become’ a white man.

Let us instead emulate the Chinese and say whatever the pace setters can do, we can also do. If the pace setters make an aeroplane, we will also make an aeroplane.

If the pace setters make a global search engine, we will also produce someone from UNZA or ZCAS that will make a global search engine.

My sincere apologies to anybody that finds this article to be offensive as it directly compares races; it is not my intention to be offensive, I am simply stating things as I see and believe.

But more than anything else I am saying a big NO to the victory of colonialism.


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