Africa is joining the world in the festivities of D-day and the triumph of the Allied powers against the menace Adolf Hitler. The celebration is for the contribution of Africans toward freedom and liberty for all people regardless of race which let to the emancipation of blacks ultimately from colonialism. African heroes that are almost always forgotten yet they fought and died for the freedom of Europe and the rest of the world.
History shows us that Africans fought against this axis of evil and prevailed alongside the Allied forces. During WWII Europe was swallowed by the raging war and millions of Europeans slaughtered every day the colonial power sought help from their colonies. This meant that young Africans from across the continent went to fight alongside their colonial oppressors to defeat their enemy. Britain and France were the major colonial powers to enlist the assistance of the Africans.
John Henry Smythe of Sierra Leone after reading the dreadful Mein Kampf enlisted into the Royal Air Force, becoming a navigator, flying bombers over Germany. Smythe learned that Hitler despised America and Britain for encouraging Blacks to move into areas of medicine and law.
Joseph Culverwell who was classified in those days as “coloured” which meant bi-racial enlisted into the British army in 1939. I his interview with the BBC he stated, “Don’t forget in those days we were very loyal Brits – stupid as that may sound now,” Mr. Culverwell says. “We were brainwashed into being little brown Britishers.”
Kalimu Glover of Ghana also a veteran of WWII told the BBC, “Every soldier who went to India got new ideas and learnt new things. We came back with improved ideas about life. We, the ex-servicemen, gave this country the freedom it’s enjoying today. We gave this freedom and handed it over to our country.”
The unintended consequence of this is erosion of white supremacy in the minds of the black people who went to war. They found that despite popular propaganda the colonialists had vulnerabilities as well. The most important outcome however was to debunk of the myth of white supremacy in the eyes of the African. In the war zones they had died together for the same cause, the ultimate defeat of Hitler.
France’s former President Sarkozy acknowledged the contribution of Africans to French liberty during WWI & WWII. On July 13th 2010 the French President announced that France would pay equal pension to all those who fought for its freedom regardless of what country they were from.
We will never know the names of all those who died in the trenches of France and throughout Europe and whose bones are scattered across Europe who fought for the liberation of Europe and whose counterparts came back and let the rest of Africa know that they had liberated the world and were ready to liberate Africa.