When a former editor of 'Africa' magazine was asked to comment for the PM programme on the reasons behind the Lampedusa tragedy, in which so many African migrants drowned, he said simply 'Africans can't swim'. Predictably he pulled down the full weight of the race industry on his head; half a dozen listeners of African descent wrote in to claim they could swim quite adequately and eminent sports physiologists were brought in to prove that African people were in fact capable of swimming.
However, the fact remains that he was right. Of the scores of West Africans I have known who were raised in West Africa not one could swim and all had a horror of all but the shallowest water. They are also more liable to sink than Europeans; our bodies have sufficient fat to allow us to float quite comfortably on our backs in salt water, whilst lean-fleshed Africans go to the bottom like stones.
All of which makes it truly remarkable that so many of them risk the dangers of the sea in rotten boats with incompetent skippers. That they died within a mile of shore, floating distance if not swimming distance, after accidentally setting fire to and accidentally capsizing their own boat, is utterly sad. And utterly symptomatic of the mess that is Africa - an entire race of man largely incapable of governing itself to their mutual advantage.