The books of Ezra and Nehemiah open with high hopes for the people of Judah (cf. Ezra 1-2; Neh 1-2). One would have hoped that the command to rebuild the temple and the city walls as well as to restore the lives and dignity of the Golah community would bring healing, peace, hope and stability to the exiles. Unfortunately, it was desperation, hopelessness and insecurity that befell them. There seems to have been two reasons for this. First, non-exiles / foreigners are portrayed as the one cause. Second, the privileged class within the restored community are portrayed as another cause. It is argued that Ezra and Nehemiah depict the experiences of the returnees as a paradox. On the one hand, they are restored to religious, political and economic freedom. On the other hand, they are threatened from within and from without, hence their desperation in the midst of restoration. Could it be that the freedom and democracy that Africa, particularly Nigeria and South Africa, longed for and obtained willresult in a thwarted restoration?