On October 19, in the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia in Moscow, a presentation of a Russian edition of a book named “Spain in the Heart of Africa – A doctor’s journal” took place. The author is Justino Obama Nve who was born and graduated from a school in Equatorial Guinea, obtained a doctor’s diploma in the Soviet Union and then returned to his motherland where he became a famous doctor and a public figure.
For the first time, the book, which was written in Spanish and immediately translated into English and French, was presented to the readers this spring in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. Now the author makes the Russian audience familiar with the book. And not only the Russian audience: the presentation, timed to coincide with the celebration of Equatorial Guinea Independence Day (October 12) was attended by heads of diplomatic missions of African countries, students and common representatives of various African communities in Moscow.
The interest to the book is easy to explain. Nowadays, Africa has ceased to be the “Lost Continent”, as it was called quite recently; it is trying to take its place in a modern global word. It has everything it takes: the resources, political will of the leaders, and people’s aspiration for a better life. Not everybody likes it, especially in the former colonial empires where there are still enough people willing to plunder the natural wealth of Africa as before.
“Those who think that the colonial history of Africa ended 50 years ago are mistaken,” said Justino Obama Nve in his speech. “Political and financial groups unwilling to put up with our independence are as powerful and influential as they were. They create coups and wage informational wars against lawful governments of African countries pursuing an independent policy. Neocolonialism is dangerous. It does not only poison the relationships among nations but also hinders the economic development – both in Africa and in Europe.”
“Spain in the Heart of Africa” is a story of Equatorial Guinea; the author seems to grow up together with his country, a former Spanish colony. At first, it gives the impressions of a little boy who yet saw the times when a Spanish boss could slap a Guinean subordinate in the face. Then, there is a story told by a schoolboy who rejoiced for the independence together with the others and then – of a student, and finally – of an adult looking for the answers for questions which torture him. Below are the major ones as defined by the author.
Why do Spain and Equatorial Guinea both speaking the same language and having the same cultural traditions sometimes act as if rivers of blood flew between them?
Why do the West love to demand instant democracy from the Africans, forgetting that it took centuries to make Europe itself democratic, while the African countries only became independent half a century ago?
Why do many Western mass medias prefer to describe Africa as a continent populated with half-starved savages persistently refusing to notice the sweeping changes that take place there?
Speaking about the issue of perception of Africa in the West, Obama Nve, however, pays major attention to the relationship of Equatorial Guinea and Spain, the former colony and metropolis. He gives an interesting comparative study of Spanish, British, French, and Portuguese colonialism. The author’s reflections about the influence of features of Spanish national character on the mindset of Equatorial Guineans who took over from the the colonialists their worst traits are even more ingenious.
However, Obama would not have been a doctor if after making a diagnosis he did not offer his recipe. If the illness is a colonial conscious (of both Spanish and Guineans) and the ignorance caused by it, it is cured like this: all unnecessary things are thrown overboard. Unnecessary are mutual claims and wrongs. As well as the obtrusive striving to control things which have not been yours for half a century.
After the presentation in Moscow, the author is going to present his book in Volgograd where he studied in a medical institute and where numerous friends of his live.