You probably came across the trending news that many African heads of states attended an India-Africa summit that ended recently. It’s really sad that a whole continent of countries is soliciting hope from a single country and my perception doesn’t come from pride -although little of it would have come in handy myriad times in the past- but from my realization about how the depravity of the continent in general necessitates this embarrassing move to say the least. We have simply been changing goal posts for many decades now but the strategy has been quite consistent: The immature politics, unthinkable leadership, lack of willpower, lousy implementation processes, nepotism, corruption, blame game etc. Where did we drop the ball exactly?
I have lived in India for over a year now and I have learned about the stereotypes about Africa more in the past year than all the earlier years combined. Whilst I believe that it’s illogical to put the race of people in one basket, it’s easy to see how some stereotypes are somewhat based in fact. A tendency to resent stereotypes is particularly prominent with the educated Africans but could it be that they are the exception and not the rule? It’s easy to let emotions get in the way and feed into a defensive behavior and yet miss the point. When we realize this, we’ll have realized how imperative it is that every African is equipped with the civil aspects that off set the stereotypes. We have two hands to build the life we love!
Big Picture Perspective
One of the biggest mistakes we make in Africa is that we’re not developing it for independence or self-sustenance. Actually, there’s no strategy really. It’s just an inexorable habit of looking to other parts of the world for hope. It’s a sad trend of one country overlooking its neighbors and going on to trade with China, India etc. or, worse still, wait for donations. This has thwarted the efforts of those African countries who have attempted to make strides in aspects such as Engineering, Technology, Agriculture etc. Another important point is that all continents are fundamentally different in terms of their industrial strategies and this is simply because they have different strengths. For example, some Asian countries – China and India – rely on their high population. If we’re to assess our strengths and weaknesses, we could have hope in coming up with the best suitable plan for our development and not queue for allowances every time. We need to make long-term plans along this reasoning and commit to making them a reality. It’s what every other part of the world has done, anyway.
Misconception About Christianity
This one will be a little tricky to hammer home but it’s something that I think if well understood it can help change our perception about Africa. I have seen desperation at it’s worst from my personal experience when I was living in Zimbabwe and I recently discovered that I’m often tempted to use my Christian faith as some sort of sedative or pain-killer. Here’s the downside of it: If this becomes a habit, a person usually loses that inclination to work and better his life. After all, there’s hope of Afterlife. I have seen this mindset at work first hand and it makes sense to me more in hindsight. Morality is really a strength, no denial about that. In fact, it’s one of the best strengths that we have. Wait, not yet! Not until we learn that true righteousness is building a future for your children and that true morality is washing your hands after visiting the toilet and maintaining a clean environment. There is wave of reluctance that sweeps across Africa; a reluctance that usually finds justification in poor governance structures. I often find it helpful to ask myself if I’m really doing my best; do the same wherever you are. Remember that your best is always enough.
By now you must have realized why I called it 2 Cents On Africa’s Depravity; it’s really not much, but this little and another’s little combined with sincerity and passion is the recipe for most of the beautiful things we see.