TIME TO REVIEW THE AFRIKAN NARRATIVE
That Afrika is running is evident. That Afrika does not understand where she is running to, is equally evident. That Afrika knows what is chasing her is evident, but she is blind to the fact that what she is running to is an extension of what she is running from, just a change of scenery.
Going on 60 years after the struggle for independence, Afrika is in deplorable condition; once promising nations are in a constant fight for survival, enjoying a victory today and loss tomorrow in one area or another. The pursuit of democracy, capitalism and Bretton Woods type development, in order to be accepted into the club of those who have ‘arrived’. This, coupled with the greed of many, has ensured that Afrika never did have a game plan for itself. Even the efforts and initiatives undertaken by regional bodies remain very one-note. The entire strategy that Afrika is taking appears to be to get a seat at the big boys’ table. Like the child who doesn’t fit in with the ‘cool kids’ but wants to so badly, they will do anything to just be considered as one of them. Laughable, considering that the whole world that Afrika is so desperately trying to catch up with, is in an even more deplorable state, but we have focused so much on catching up, that we haven’t noticed that there is no up; only a downward spiral towards a very grim end.
Former global heroes, giants and champions: the United States of America, Great Britain, the former USSR, Germany, Japan are all crumbling. Economies, societies, environment, status are all in gradual (or rapid) decline. They are experiencing soaring crime rates, homelessness, extra-judicial killings, alcoholism, poverty on levels that were once only known or attributed to Afrika.
The nations we were taught to emulate have sunk so low that a travel advisory was even issued against the one who has been the global policeman for so long. That is not the big boys’ table. That is the slow death table. The table of doom. But are we paying attention to what God is trying to show us?
There’s a challenge that one who lacks understanding faces. They will try to fight the very thing that is designed to help them. Because Afrika does not take the time to know God and what HE wants and what HE is saying, several things have happened:
1. We lost sight of who God says we are. In so doing we took on EVERY false identity we were given by the colonialists, by the neocolonialists and their news media, by the neo-colonial educational system. They said we were poor, famine and drought-stricken, inferior, weak and useless without them, that we were war-torn and greedy. We agreed and lived that out.
2. We took up everything they said was good for us, no questions asked. Food, clothing, economic models, trade agreements, education, health etc. After all, with our identity in tatters, the walls of the city were easily torn down and we were overrun. Those who could see the problem and voice it were all-too-quickly silenced.
3. We never stop to think and assess what is going on and what to do about it. While it is evident that the countries that we try to emulate are sinking, we don’t stop to think that perhaps, because we have charted the same course, that we could end up EXACTLY where they are. Meaning, we are pursuing futility and meaninglessness with great zeal and fervor. Spending billions and getting deeper and deeper into debt. It has been 60 years since independence, and our greatest pursuits remain electricity, roads, hospitals and schools. Tangible, temporal, material things that, evidence suggests, will get us nowhere, fast.
Afrika, what is it?
If you were raising a child who kept copying his friends, wanting to look, sound and dress like them, eat like them and all the while he was losing his unique personality, to his own detriment… You would raise the alarm, right? 60 years has brought us nothing of what they said it would if we followed their guidelines for surefire success, yet we still persist. We thought that we were backward because we had no hospitals, yet advanced c-sections were being performed in Uganda before Europe. That was not in my history books. We thought we were ignorant but in Mali, Egypt, Morocco, there were important centers of learning, way before colonialism. In fact the first university in the world which still exists today is UNIVERSITY OF AL-KARAOUINE, in Morocco. It was founded in 859 AD. It developed into one of the leading universities for natural sciences.It wasn’t until 1957 that the university added mathematics, physics, chemistry and foreign languages.
We thought we were poor, but we had advanced trading routes established across the continent, currencies and agreed upon exchange rates. You can check out the story of Mansa Musa in the last issue. We had street lighting, healthy food, clean water and air. (Check out the story of Benin Kingdom in present day Nigeria). We had a health system based on a deep understanding of our environment. Our medicine has been for thousands of years, created from the very nature that God Himself said will heal the nations of the earth. But we managed to allow a group of people who started their medicine just a hundred years ago to call ours alternative medicine simply because they know how to package lies and death in fine bottles, tablets and capsules.
We had organized nations with superior military techniques. We were never weak, or foolish or backward or ignorant. We have always had solutions to our challenges, but somehow we allowed ourselves to be overcome by lies, spices, glass beads and fabric. The biggest problem is not even that we were fooled once. It’s that we continue to allow ourselves to be duped, manipulated and misused. That stops when we stop and review.
Our goal cannot be how to achieve what ‘they’ have achieved, but how to become what we are intended to be as per God’s standards and measure. To stop playing the game by their rules, stop minimizing the wonder that God created us to be. Our goal has to be to start to value ourselves and establish the environment, values and purposes that favor us.
Here is what I mean about the lack of understanding causing one to fight what makes for their peace. God pre-determined the role and place for each and every nation. Meaning that He was never going to bless what would take us off course. So, what has looked like hard-going and struggle for Afrika to get there (wherever this mysterious ‘there’ is) has been God having mercy on us, preventing us from becoming just like the rest of the world. He gave us everything the world needs and desires in terms of material wealth, which we are meant to safeguard and not plunder. But, more than that, He gave us potential to be everything that they need spiritually at this very moment in time, such that in a world where morality has collapsed, died and been buried, much of Afrika still values family, relationship, communal welfare, love and the strength of the whole. Afrika has an answer for the corruption that has entered society’s basic building block- the family. Get that right and a major part of the battle is won.
But first and foremost AFRIKA needs to stop rushing around and evaluate.
There is not much time left.
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Chioma Phillips is the Editor of Msingi Afrika Magazine and the host of Msingi Afrika Television. Her hope is to see the Truth shared, with all who will listen, for the transformation of the people and the continent of Afrika - and the world. She believes passionately in the critical role that Afrika and Afrikans have to play on earth right now and hopes to ignite the spark that will cause them to see and believe who they are, so that they can live out their Truest lives for the remainder of their days.