AIDS is not the only nefarious malady that is punishing Africans for siding with Satan in pre-life. Many other illnesses and diseases that have been eliminated in other parts of the world are still lingering on in that continent. And because of poverty, or should I not say the curse, Africans can’t afford to rid themselves of these agents of hell. While the rest of the world is rejoicing at the invention of new methods of killing AIDS - a feat AIDS bashers never thought man would ever achieve - Africans are groaning in agony not only because of the hellish pain AIDS inflicts but because many of them can’t afford to buy the new medicines, a year’s dosage of which, I understand, costs in the region of US$20,000. For people who can’t find jobs, for people whose salaries and per capita incomes are decreasing instead of increasing, any good news is no news and scientific breakthroughs mean nothing at all.

For these people whose life expectancy was already tallied among the shortest on planet earth - for people who live shorter than

even their counterparts [gorillas and chimpanzees] in adjacent jungles, AIDS is a message heralding even worse news.

Hollywood’s Out of Africa was a hit; and that for some good reasons. Who wants to die young? Who wants to be associated with poverty, rags, illiteracy, disease, regression, underdevelopment ...? We all know the merits of good education, the advantages of eloquence and knowledge. We know how it feels to be among the learned. To be applauded after a good speech. To be read. To put on a new outfit that suits. And we know the freedom of being able to afford a house, a car, a TV set, etc.

For many Africans, there is no health. Once one loses his health he loses the meaning of life itself. Nor can those Africans who don’t have AIDS and the like claim to be healthy. What good is it when one can’t afford three basic meals a day?

The majority of Africans live in the countryside where there are no roads. I mean paved ones. These people are without electricity, telephones, TVs and other things that the rest of modern man takes for granted.

My well-heeled, erudite Japanese female friend once told me she’d love to live in the countryside somewhere in the Third World, away from the rat race that is part and parcel of her country. But, we all know that the grass in the neighbor’s garden always seems greener but may even be less green than that in ours. It’s just human nature that things always look prettier when we are outside looking in.

I’m sure my Japanese friend would not hesitate leaving Africa if she happened to have been born there of untoward circumstances.

That’s exactly what many African youth are doing today. In the ’60s their parents were fighting the White colonialists. After having taken part in the second world war, fighting alongside their masters of the fair skin, and realizing that all men were the same - gullible, vulnerable, feeble and mortal - they decided it was time to be masters of their own destinies. This resulted in the collapse of the British and French empires and the liberation of much of Africa. Since Germany had been defeated in World War I, that country’s colonies had been relinquished to the Brits and the French. For some reason, Italy didn’t have many territories in Africa. Belgium took the huge Congo, formerly Zaire, and Portugal controlled Angola, Mozambique and a few other small territories which it surrendered much later than its northern counterparts.