I’m not going to start this post by saying all the inspiring things that we all expect to hear when we talk about an African renaissance. We can start with all the quotes and sayings that people have left us with in their moments of inspiration and we won’t end up with a solution. All the proposed answers to the problems of under-development, hunger, wars etc have been laid down by great African philosophers and economists. Some of the greatest minds have macerated this subject with wisdom and experience beyond my present level. What exactly is the reason behind the slow, and in some cases non-existent, response to the proposed solutions? Africans, we are the biggest problem that we face!
An African Solution
The idea of positive change starts with the people. If the people are not ready for it, then the leaders cannot do anything. In a situation where nobody is ready to play his or her role, the work will never get done.
Let me start from the youth in society. The images of what is cool revolves around things that relegate African culture and society to extinction. These are things that empower foreign economies ahead of whatever we have to offer. It is not necessarily an issue of quality, but an issue of a lack of patriotism, distrust in the system and a very ‘western’ materialistic and competitive attitude. The world dictates what is cool and what is beautiful to you and you strive so hard to achieve this conception of ‘coolness’ and beauty.
The young adults, the politicians and most of the leaders in industry are more self-centred than we have seen in many decades. People struggle to get rich, to intimidate and compete with others in terms of wealth and power. The average African wants to get power and wealth for these same selfish reasons that have slowed us down for so long.
Don’t get me wrong. I also want to be rich and powerful, but I feel that what we do with our wealth and power should be different. It should serve as a tool for development and service rather than a yardstick to measure how poor others are in relation to you. Somewhere deep down, there is still the ability to do good and help others. Black is the endpoint of all colours. All light has been absorbed into us. We should decide what type of light we give out.
If we all decide to pay a little more attention to our local content, give them reasons to add quality and value to our local products and slow down with the entire physical and material pursuit, then we can start the revolution. I believe that proper change can only start in the mind. Read, explore, listen and train the mind to believe in quality and possibilities open to you as an African! If education should serve any purpose, it should make us realize how much we belittle ourselves. I’m not a prophet, neither am I the most optimistic person here, but I believe that only Africans can save Africa.