A Keynote Address by Dr. Chika A. Onyeani

Author, "Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success - A Spider Web Doctrine"

Fellow of the New York Times Institute for Journalists, New York, USA

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning African Sun Times, USA



By The

BLACK MANAGEMENT FORUM - Developing Managerial Leadership
Annual Conference, 2005, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
13 and 14 October, 2005

Keynote Address by Dr. Chika Onyeani
Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 11:10 a.m (Before a group of 400
upper-management and middle-management Black South African executives).

Good morning, Honored Guests,

Captains of Industry, Distinguished Ladies and


I want to thank the organizers of this conference, the Black Management
Forum, for

inviting me today to be its Keynote Speaker. Since I arrived in South Africa
ten days ago, I have been accorded the greatest welcome that any author could
ever receive. I can tell you that I have really had a great time here, of
course, who wouldn't when you have lived from one radio station to another, from
one television station to another, from one debate to another, from one city
to another, and the climax on Tuesday,

where I was invited to speak to a distinguished group of Black South African
leaders in Cape Town, including Judge President of the Cape Town Courts, the
Distinguished Honorable John Nhlope and three of his colleagues, who had to
leave from their judicial

chambers to attend the event, and still had the humility to apologise for
being a few minutes late. But nothing made me more than emotional after I had
spoken, and discussions entertained and the meals eaten and the Honorable Judge
President to then propose a toast in my honor, but not only that but a member
of the group to propose that that gathering being the first that such leaders
in Cape Town had met, that they use it as the foundation of a network for
sustaining a new organization that would meet regularly to chart the course of the
new South Africa, and then proposed the Judge President as their Keynote
Speaker at their next event. I felt like crying for that kind of honor, as being
accredited of being the impetus for starting such a major undertaking.

But to come here today, and be informed by the Managing Director of the Black
Business Forum, Mr. Jerry Vilakazi, that after listening to everything I had
been saying on radio television and through many newspaper interviewss, that
the whole group of more than 400 people here today would be going to Soweto to
have their dinner this evening, due to the "Capitalist Nigger's Spider Web
Economic Doctrine," is the highest honor I have ever been paid in my life since I
know most of you have never been to Soweto to have such a meal before. I
felt like crying on Tuesday evening, I really don't know what to do now. All I
can say is thank you all. The yuppies are coming home. I wish I could have gon
e with you this evening, but my flight back to the U.S. is in the next 5
hours. But again, thank you all so much for this great honor. I have no doubt
that the 60,000 Rand I estimate you will be spending in Soweto this evening is
a drop in the bucket, but remember the multiplier effect which I will talk
about later.

As I said before, here I am today back in Johannesburg and in the midst of a
much larger crowd of the movers and shakers and captains of industry because
when I look at the list of attendees and speakers, I feel very little. To be
asked to be the Keynote Speaker today, I feel like the driver who was asked to
go to Kennedy International Airport in

New York to pick up Pope John Paul. As you all know, the Pope is the highest
person on this earth next to God, and he carries a lot of luggage to justify
his standing with God. When the Pope had emerged from the airport, the driver
quickly saw the large number of suitcases the Pope had arrived with and
loaded them into the limosine. The driver opened the back door for the Pope to
enter, but the Pontiff still stood at the curb near the driver's door of the
car. The driver went up to the Pontiff and said
"Your Eminence, please sir, kindly get in to the back of the car" as he
continued to hold the back door for the Pope. But the Pope continued to stand ther
e, and the driver said to the Pope, please kindly get in. The Pope turned
and said to the driver, you know, at the Vatican City, they never allow me to
drive, I am always being driven, would you mind if I drive this thing today.
The driver thought he was going to die, and cussing the day that he was assigned
to pick up the Pope.

"Your Eminence," said the driver, "nowhere am I going to let you drive in
this city, what if anything happened, I can never go to Heaven again. And the
Pope said to him, don't worry I will use my good offices to wangle you in."
The driver relented, and the Pontiff asked him to sit at the back. As soon as
the Pope took the steering wheel, the driver

regretted having allowed him to drive because the Pontiff drove so fast that
after a few miles, they heard the siren of the police on their back. The Pope
stopped the car, and the policeman got off from his car to go and give them a
ticket for driving 100 miles

an hour in a 60 miles per hour zone.

As he approached the car, he recognized the driver as the Pope. He stopped
in his tracks and then ran back to his car. He picked up his police radio and
radioed his Commandant at the headquarters, and said to him, I just stopped a
car for speeding. The commandant said to him, so why are you calling, book
the damn man for speeding. The policeman said to him, listen the driver is a
big man. The commandant asked him if it was the mayor, the policeman said
bigger, governor, the policeman still said bigger, and then the commandant got
exasperated and asked if it the president of the United States, and the policeman
said no. Then who could that be, the commandant wanted to know. The
policeman replied, the man is so big that the Pope was driving him.

So, you can see how I feel being in the midst of such eminent individuals as
yourselves. I feel like I am being driven by many Popes, which is a great
position to be.

When I was asked to be the Keynote Speaker about the Role of the Black Middle
Class and Business in Addressing the Challenges of the Second Eonomy, I felt
rather elated, but my elation was short lived. I see from the program that
there are quite a number of

individuals who would have a lot of things to say about the Black Middle Class
and I am sure they would have a lot of good things to say about that class.

As for me, on the other hand, you see the Black or rather the African Middle
Class and I haven't been friends for a while now. Why you may ask? Because I
have always equated the Black Middle Class with the Black Intellectual
Class. I am sure that what I am

going to say here today has no relevance to the Black Middle Class here in
South Africa, because I believe the South African Middle Class is still evolving
- eleven years is not enough time to establish the empiricism of such a
group, which is not the same as what has happened in other African countries where
we have had more than forty years of

experience to make a determination as to the worth of the African Middle
Class, or as I said the African Intellectual Class and how they have contributed
to the economic growth of the African continent. I use the African
intellectual class inter-changeably

because basically, it constitutes the African Middle Class. Unfortunately, I
see the problem that Africa faces today more than forty years after the
achievement of independence in most of the African countries, to be squarely the
failure of the African

Middle Class.

In one of the explanations I offered about my "Spider Web Economic
Doctrine," which I enunciated in my book, "Capitalist Nigger: TheRoad toSuccess," I
opined that "it is a empirical economic model that recognizes that the present
intellectual class of Africans is parasitic onthe society, abjectly
non-productive and should be peripheried if Africa is to move forward economically. It
is a recognition of how the Asian intellectual class, especially the Indians,
on the other hand, has merged their intellectualism with

entrepreneurship to achieve economic growth and power that are beginning to
dwarf western nations."

Let's for the purpose of this discussion trace the history of the Middle
Class Africans. We have to remember that they are the group that took over the
baton or rulership if you wish of Africa, after the white man left. But what
did this group of people do

after they took over from the white man - they decided to take over the
opulent life style lived by the oppressors. Rather than eliminate the excesses
of the Caucasian masters, the Black Middle Class, the group which I really
believe is the intellectual

class, they saw their takeover from the whiteman as an opporltunity to double
the pain of the masses of African people. Their only claim to the throne
vacated by the white man was that they had gone to school.

The Black Middle Class who took over from the white man, inherited the
positions left by the Europeans; he inherited his huge offices; he inherited his
more than 10 messengers; he inherited his sex on demand from his numerous
secretaries; he inherited his disrespect of his subordinates; he inherited the
assignment of more than five cars to one official; he inherited his huge houses with
several servants and drivers. He

inherited his demand for unquestioned authority and obedience. The masses of
the people pampered the newly crowned Black Middle Class beyond human
endurance, because they had expected that they would see a difference between their
own people and those of the departing white man. Instead they found that their
behavior, in most cases, was more tyrannical than their white predecessors.

Let me tell you this - Africa had such great promise when the white man
leftAfrica in the 60s when most of the African countries gained their
independence, or rather were granted their independence. More than forty years after
independence, tell me which African country you could point to as a proud shining
example that other African countries should emulate. More than forty years
after our so-called independence, do you know what our rewards have been: we
have had incalculable number of military coups d'etat by military idiots who
were supposed to protect our lives and our borders but who have instgead found
the procurement of worthless World War II military weapons

as their passport to leadership; we have been rewarded with all kinds of wars
because everybody wants to be the leader so that they could layh their hands
on the

treasuries of their respective countries - the Sani Abachas of Nigeria, the
Idi Amins of Uganda, the Bokassas of Central African Republic, the Mobutu
Sese Sekos of the Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sergeant
Does of Liberia. In fact, today

we still have a lot of the military air-heads masquarading as democratic

Let me say this - I am rather very sad to acknowledge that Africa is worse
off than it was when the colonialists left. Africa continues to be called the
beggar continent according to our two eminent Presidents Mbeki of South
Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo

of Nigeria, despite possessing the largest percentageof the world's natural
resources. The world has given Africa more than $500 billion in the last forty
years. But what have we done with that money? Is their evidence that we
have employed this huge amount of money judiciously in the service of the masses
of Africans? In most of the African countires, is their any evidence that
the money was used to build good roads, provide better educational opportunities
for the masses, provide good drinking water; provide electricity to the
masses? Apart from this huge amount that we have beeen given, we also went on a
borrowing spree with the result that today Africa still owes the world over
$300, and we are asking for debt forgiveness so that when we get this money, we
quickly turn around and repatriate it back into European banks, and buy mansions
and castles in Europe.

I have no regret in saying this: the Black/African Middle Class cum the
intellectual class in the other 52 African countries, has been the greatest
disgrace to the African continent. With the departure of our colonial masters, this
group had the opportunity to

evolve economic, political and social paradigm, but failed woefully because
they wanted to live an utopian life devoid of reality. When the Europeans were
still the ruling class, they made attempts to develop indigenous agriculture,
indigenous factories, develop

some infrastructure for the basic needs of the people. But with the
departure of the Europeans, the Black African Middle Class decided they wanted a
better taste of what the Europeans wsere tasting intheir own countries. Let me
give you an example of what

happened to rice growing in an area about 70 miles from my village. The
people in that area started growing rice, and after processing it, selling it to
the people. Let me tell you that the people who could afford rice at that time
were really the middle class

or what we considered the middle class - they had big houses, had cars, and
some times they would deliberatelyh splash rain water on you to show how
higher they were than yourself. At that same time, Thailand was just beginning to
grow, process and

export their own rice to Nigeria.

Nigerians had been used to eating the superior Uncle Ben's rice, imported
from America or sometimes other kinds of rice from Europe. It was beneath the
middle class to eat the Thai rice or Nigerian rice. But even the poor began to
prefer the Thai rice, rejected by the middle class. They complained that the
Nigerian rice was sandy, which was the same accusation made by the middle
class about the Thai and Nigerian rice. But gradually, Thai rice began to gain
ground in Nigeria, that today most Nigerians would rather eat Thai rice than
Uncle Ben's rice. But this rejection of the attempt to start an industry that
could have provided a great means of livelihood and jobs to the

population was allowed to die because of the so-called African Middle Class
thumping their noses at the Nigerian rice.

It is this type of attitude which has reduced Africa to a dependency
continent. We are unable to grow the food to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, or do
anything for ourselves for that matter, without depending on others to do them
for us. Back in

America, it is the same attitude of dependency on the part of the Black
Middle class, that has made the Black community an economically enslaved community.
I don't mean to say that segregation or racism is ever good, but during
segregation in the United States, of couse there is still segregation though it is
dressed in different forms, which I wouldn't want to go into right now,
during segregation there were thriving black businesses. Black Americans
controlled their own communities economically because they were denied services by the
white businesses and they were therefore forced to patronize their own
businesses. However, since the demise of racism, and led by the

unbridled consumerist nature of the Black Middle Class, black businesses in
black cities throughout most of the United States are disappearing. Let me
give you one example of the enormous nature of the total enslavement of the black
community. Black America generates almost $800 billion a year in revenues,
that means if Black America was a country, it would rank as the seventh largest
country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic product). On the other
hand, the amount of revenues that accue back

to the Black community in terms of business revenues generated by Black
businesses is only about $50 billion. You ask yourself the question where did the
rest of the $750 billion go?

Just like the African Middle Class which took over from the imperialists and
believes that whatever is foreign is better, the Black Middle Class also
believes that whatever is white is better. Black communities are dying
economically. Go to any black city in America, Blacks don't control their communities
economically. Go to Harlem, the so-called

capital of Black America. Go from one store to another, go from one
establishment to another, you see a community totally in the hands of foreigners, I
mean other Americans who have decided to reap incredible profits from the
profligate spending of our people.

We abandon our own businesses to patronize the businesses of others, because
just like the African Middle Class, we feel honored to be accepted in white
establishments. The African Middle Class prefers to spend his time vacationing
and shopping in Europe, and

our corrupt leaders prefer to put their ill-gotten loots in European bank
accounts, just like the Black Middle Class prefers to spend their money in white

Contrast this with the Asian community. Wherever they live, they control the
community economically, in fact they control the black community economically
as well.

In America today, more than 78% of the motel business, that's the 1-3 class
hotels, are controlled by Indians and people ofAsian origin; Indians control
more than 68% of the gas stations, or petrol stations in America, mostof which
have convenience stores as

well, where people can do their shopping as well. So just imagine who
benefitted the most from the Hurricane Katrina, and the jacking up of gass prices.
It certinaly wasn't the Black American community. Mind you, I say this about
the Asian, and particularly

the Indian community in America, because I have great admiration for what
they have achieved. It is an incredible accomplishment of a people who achieved
their independence some nine years before the first African country, Ghana, b
ecame independent. Now,

India has become an economic giant, in fact India generates more than $32
billion in income from helping American and western corporations to manage their

offices located in India. For example, if you were to call American Express,
do you know where the call will be answered, in India. And that goes with
all the other credit card companies.

I have studied the Indian community extensively because I admire them a great
deal, and I have come to christine their economic system as the Spider Web
Economic Doctrine, which as I said earlier, recognizes this doctrine first as a
empirical economic model that

the present intellectual class of Africans is parasitic on the society,
abjectly non-productive and should be peripheried if Africa is to move forward
economically. It is a recognition on how the Asian intellectual class, especially
the Indians, on the other hand, has merged their intellectualism with
entrepreneurship to achieve economic growth and power that are beginning to drawrf
western nations." Of course, I would ble happy to enunciate the Spider Web
Economic Doctrine here, but unfortunately we don't have enough time.

There is no doubt that there has been a great improvement in the standards of
living of

African-Americans. Yes, there has certainly been progress. But you know the
difference between the Black Middle Class and the White Middle Class? If a
member of the Black Middle Class doesn't get one pay-check in a month, he/she
would revert back to the poverty class. If we don't get one month's paycheck,
we revert backto the poor house. That is the Black Middle Class.

As I said earlier, the Black Middle Class in South Africa is still evolving.
It is too early to assess the impact it would have on the economic
empowerment of this country. But, let me say to this to you: the Black Middle Class in
South Africa needs to study what

has happened in other African countries and let that be a lesson to you here.
We need to also the Indian economic miracle, which has married their
intellectual class with the entrepreneurial class to form this cohesive economic

You don't want to fall into what President said of this class of people, in a
speech in 1998, when he said as follows, "Africa cannot renew herself where
its upper echelons are a mere parasite on the rest of society, enjoying a
self-endowed mandate to use their

political power and define the use of such power such that its exercise
ensures that our continent reproduces itself as the periphery of the world economy,
poor, underdeveloped and incapable of development. The African Renaissance
demands that we purge ourselves of the parasites and maintain a permanent
vigilance against the danger of the

entrenchment in African society of this rapacious stratum with its social
morality according to which everything in society must be organised materially to
benefit the few."

I urge you to hearken to that advice, not to be parasitic on the rest of
society because you feel entitled.

Finally, I must sound this note of warning to Africa: there is a new kind of
slavery marching through Africa - it is the economic giant called China.
Yes, it is

stimulating and exciting seeing the competition the Chinese is giving to the
westernworld in Africa. But we are again abandoning our independence for a
quick solution to our economic woes. Africa needs to suffer a little if we are
going to build a solid economic

base for the generation of Africans to come. First it was slavery, then
colonialism, and now we are letting economic slavery into the door. In the past,
we could make the excuse that our forefathersand fathers were not in a
position to know or do anything about it. We can't say the same thingnow, that we
don't know what is going on. we don't want to mortgage the future of our
children for a quick-fix economic solution.

Again, I feel honored being invited to speak to you.

Thank you, stay blessed.

(Othe speakers included: Dr. Danisa E. Baloyi, Founder South African Women
Investment Holdings and DB Consulting International; Mr. Flip Buys, General
Secretary of Solidarity Trade Union; Ms. Redi Direko, Journalist and Presenter on
Radio 702; Mr. Thulani S. Gcabashe; Chief Executive, Eskom; Pravin Gordham,
Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS); Mr. Duma Gqubule,
founder of Ko Media and Ko Advisory Services; Mr. Vuyo Jack, Chartered Accountant;
Ms. Phumzile Langeni, Executive Director of Anooraq Resources, a Canadian
listed junior platinum mining house; Mr. Sajumzi Macomzoma, Chairman of the
financial institutions STANLIB and Andisa Capital; Dr. Xolela Mangcu, Executive
Director of the Society, Culture and Identity Research Program at the Human
Sciences Research Council; Mr. Jimmy Manyi, Director: Corporate Affairs and BEE at
IBM; Mr. Hlengani Mathebula, General Manager, Business Strategy, Planning and
Development at ABSA Private Bank; Mr. Tshediso Matona, Acting Director of the
Department of Trade and Industry; Mr. Thami Mazwai, Cchief Executive Officer
of Mafube Publishing; Mr. Loyiso Mbabane, Founder, Economic Justice Agency;
Mr. Moeletsi Mbeki, Chairman of KMM Investments Limited; Dr. Anna Mokgokong,
Deputy President of the International Women's Forum of South Africa; Ms.
Nomazizi Mtshotshisa, Chair of Telkom SA Ltd; Mr. Lot Ndlovu, Vice Chairman of the
Nedban Group; Mr. Joel Ntshitenzhe, Chief Executive Officer of the Government
Communications and Information Service; Prof. Stella M. Nkomo, Bateman
professor of Business Leadership at the University of South Africa's Graduate School
of Business Leadership; Dr. Blade Nzimande, General Secretary of the South
African Communist Party; Dr. Chika Onyeani (Keynote Speaker); Mr. Mvuleni
Geoffrey Qhena, Chief Executive officer and president of the IDC, appointment
ratified by the South Africn Cabinet of Ministers; Mr. Bheki Sibiya, Chairperson,
Ntsika Enterprises Development agency; Dr. Lindiwe N Sisulu, Minister of Housing
in the National Cabinet; Mr. Caroline Southey, Deputy Editor, Financial Mail;
Prof. S. J. Terreblanche, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of