SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, A Racial Nomenclature.

While, we as Africans battle the attempts to westernize our continent by global forces, it is also right to note that on very crucially seemingly insignificant issues we have offered indirect concession to the prevalence of the western agenda, especially racism.

I went through a tweet a few days back and was captivated to read about the visit of the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Nigeria and how the CNN reported the news as  “Mark Zuckerberg makes first-ever visit to sub-Saharan Africa”, and just like many Nigerians, I was so into knowing why the same news Network will report the risings and issues of corruption and insurgents with clear identification  with the  name NIGERIA yet would report the coming of a global personality and link same to sub-Saharan…


Could it mean that as Nigeria, we matter less to host a personality of such or in this part of Africa, we are opportune to have him?

What was wrong in mentioning NIGERIA, or WEST AFRICA… better still Africa. What was the message communicated in saying that after many years of Facebook’s existence, Mark visited sub-Saharan Africa for the first time? Is there anything wrong with that part of Africa?

So the nomenclature SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA is very problematic and a strong indicator of racism and this I’ll illustrate in this article, while you read through.

Africa is a continent with over 40 nations, 54 to be very exact. In very recent findings, it’s been noticed that the United Nation, had categorized 46 of these countries into what they have presented to us and the world as SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA.

The definition and justification of the category according to the UN is that these are nations that are not in the Sahara, most particularly aren’t in the core of the Sahara and don’t share religious and cultural linings with the middle East(Arabs),having this dominant in them and must be a north African nation, yet I fault these positions and find them  very misleading and full of ulterior intents.

The African countries in the Sahara are: Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, and Tunisia. In other words, if the dominant religion in a nation is the Arabic religion and culture as well as the nation is in the Core of the Sahara, that nation isn’t sub-Saharan.

The following on the other hand are the non sub-Saharan African countries according to the UN: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia.

Sequel to the above and following the UN condition for being a sub-Saharan nation, if truly the condition for being sub-Saharan is geographical, then what is a core Saharan nation like Mali, Niger, Chad doing in sub-Saharan Africa category? These are nations where 99.3% of persons living in for instance Niger, are Muslims, 58% in Chad are Muslims, core Arabian religion).

What is a nation like Eritrea doing as a sub-Saharan nation when her closest neighbor Mauritania is not?

Further ahead, a nation like South Africa until 1994 was considered a non sub Sahara African nation, but as soon as blacks took power as a result of the legitimization of the people’s government, it became sub Sahara African,

Why? What is an east African nation like Djibouti doing as a one sub-Saharan nation even when it’s not in the Sahara and not even North Africa?

What are the realities? The western bloc are being very careful not to pronounce the gross division they are gradually sowing in Africa, to say further the clear intention to divide Africa by color lines are clear in guise of uncalculated and faulty geographical distribution. So it will be immodest to out rightly say “white and black Africa” hence, the resort to use SUB-SAHARA to differentiate black African nations from those who are white Africans. Considering the nation’s in the non sub Saharan category, you’ll rightly see that they are all white African nations, whether you’re in the Sahara or not, while the other 46 sub-Saharan are entirely black nations whether you are in the core of Sahara or not like Mali, Niger and Chad.

I fault the conditions of the UN, and as well differ in her definitions of North Africa as nations sharing Arabic religion dominantly and sited the Sahara, then many nations in the West Africa and what they have tactically called sub-Saharan Africa, should not be there. By what SUB means, it translates lesser, partial, etc, how can we say NIGER, MALI, CHAD that are core in the Sahara are lesser Saharan nations? So, we see, it’s a tactical scheme to group black Africans away from their white brothers in the same continent.

Ekemini David is a Young Nigerian Student leader, Black Art and Traditional poet, Human/Civil Right activist, Basic Educationist, Community Development Advocate and Educator for the Rural people.

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