5 reasons Africans will continue to risk everything to cross the Mediterranean sea

The past few weeks have seen Africa in the news, mostly for the Garissa attacks in Kenya, the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and most recently, the migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

The truth is, at this moment, hundreds of people all over Africa are packing their bags, ready to cross mountain and desert to get to the Mediterranean coast. They are willing to risk everything, including their lives.

A migrant said, "I enter Europe or I die". This begs the question, why?


1. Conflict: All the stability in Libya died with Muammar Ghaddafi. Al-Shabaab is tearing Somalia apart and spilling into Kenya. Boko Haram is a problem for Niger, Chad, Cameroun and most especially Nigeria. With these, it is no coincidence Somalis are the third most numerous nationals headed to the Mediterranean.


       2. Greener Pastures: The bulk of the people making the journey for this reason are from West Africa, especially Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, and Gambia. Many risk the journey in search of greener pastures. What they mostly find are dark cold waters filling their lungs and draining it of every form of hope and life. But many still make this journey hoping to get into Europe to meet up with a family member or friend who they believe is successful.

3. Military service: This category belongs almost exclusively to Eritreans who flee mostly due to repression or miitary service.

4. Prostitution rings: These includes both men and women, but mostly women who are forced to make the journey for several reasons including blackmail or threat of death. They end up in European countries as prostitutes.

5. Abject poverty: Total absence of basic amenities in regions that suffer abject poverty is what push a lot to say, "I might as well die trying".


These problems don't look like they are going away any time soon, and so, people will continue to trek across Africa, evading organ harvesters, insurgents, border patrols, to finally get to the Mediterranean Sea. They'll stare at the vast sea before them and fear its rage. But the fear of the things they've left behind will push them into the boats.


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