The people of Togo are demanding that Faure Gnassingbé leave and as an African from the diaspora I support their demands. I also want Faure—and all those African leaders like him—to go.
When people ask me about why I feel so strongly about the struggle of the Togolese people my response is that Togo is my country and the Togolese are my people. It’s my people that are being brutalized and killed by the dictatorship there. I wasn’t born in Togo, but that is only because my ancestors were stolen from their homelands by force. In fact, so many Africans were stolen from Togo that Togo was once referred to as the “Slave Coast” by the Europeans.
I don’t have a Togolese citizenship, or citizenship from any African country, but that is irrelevant to me because the Africa that my ancestors left did not have the current borders that exist today. Those borders were created by the European colonizers. Togo was one of those colonial creations. It was first colonized by the Germans who ruled it as Togoland. That territory was further divided up between the French and the British. The borders that the Europeans created were so uneven that relatives often found themselves living on different sides of the border between British and French Togoland. I am an African not because I was born in any particular African country. I am an African by blood and that bloodline goes back long before the present borders in Africa.
After centuries of fighting against the slave trade and colonialism, Africa, my ancestral land, is still oppressed and exploited. Africa’s people are impoverished and suffering, while foreign multinational companies enrich themselves from Africa’s resources because of people like Faure who happily sellout their own people for thirty pieces of silver. My ancestors had to be dragged away from Africa in chains, but today Africa is so miserable that many Africans are willing to risk their lives to leave Africa.
So to the people of Togo I wish to let you know that I stand with your struggle. As an African living in the diaspora it is very encouraging and inspiriting for me to see my people fighting to topple one of the many dictators that defile our motherland. Your struggles are our struggles and your victory will be our victory.
Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook.