Life can be quite complex and overwhelming, and quite frankly, none of us is immune to this reality. The pressure sometimes can be very alarming especially when there aren’t many shoulders to lean on. Sometimes also, life can really be quite comfortable to the point of making us lose touch with the reality on the outside world. It is very true that almost all the time, we only see the world through our personal lenses, which is ok, but not good enough. Our personal lenses of university degrees which make us think that anyone without a college degree is stupid, our personal glasses of family wealth that make us think that all is well with the other man out there, our personal glasses of righteousness that makes us see sin in others, our personal glasses of good jobs that makes us feel that the guy on the street with his certificate, looking for job must be unlucky or is not working hard enough. So we have learned to ignore the things we are supposed to pay attention to as regards others and their plights. We have stopped being our brothers’ keepers. But the fact is, we all need brothers.
As Afrikans, either living in the continent or outside of it, we are not strangers to pain, lack, underdevelopment, poverty etc nor are we unappreciative of or strangers to wealth, abundance and the good things of life that come our way. We are just a mix of many things as Afrikans. But of all the beautiful or ugly things that can be spoken about Afrika, one thing I think we should strongly pay attention to and which we should protect, is our Afrikan brotherhood.
Many times when I read history of tribes in Afrika, I get quite stunned because all the lines seem to point to the original Bantu tribe. At a point, I was like, did all Afrikan tribes come from the Bantu tribe or is the Bantu tribe the original tribe that was created in Afrika as the cradle of humanity? I will love to know more about this. I used this Bantu tribe story to make a point that it is not a lie that Afrikans are more deeply connected in the line of ancient blood than just being in this modern day continent we call home. Blood here, certainly is deeper than the waters and the borders that separate us.
Who is my brother?
This question is inspired by the parable that Jesus gave in the Bible about the good Samaritan who took out of his own time and resources to help a man that he found along the road, beaten by bandits. It is a beautiful story that I believe should always remind us of what really matters in life. So from this parable about who is a neighbor and from the answer that Jesus gave concerning the same, I think it is time for Afrikans to begin to rethink who their brothers are and how best to relate for the uplifting of that brotherhood. There is no difference between an Afrikan in Egypt and the one in Nigeria. No difference between every Afrikan irrespective of which side of the border we find ourselves on. How do we treat each other when we meet at various locations? Do we treat each other with some kind of suspicion or do we relate with borders in our minds between ourselves? Meaning your brother is not just the one that came from the loins of your parents or the one from your Afrikan nation, but anyone whose heart melts at the plight of a fellow human. And also as Jesus explained, your brother is anyone doing the will of God, and in this case, the will of God for Afrika. It is not a joke that we have lost our humanity to this foreign concept of individualism and capitalism which makes us hit out at anything that doesn’t look like us or accept our opinions. We must see ourselves as we want to be seen by the world. We are brothers before we ever became citizens of any nation in Afrika. And I believe that one of the many reasons why we are not able to relate and embrace this reality of brotherhood is because we keep thinking it’s complex or too big a dream to achieve. But it is not. We just need to start from where we are as Afrikans.
Life is progressive I know, but when progressiveness takes away the true meaning of life, then that is a dangerous progress. Sometime I think we as Afrikans have become too caught up in the very same colonial mindset that tries to define us from a twisted perspective of inadequacy, a not good enough syndrome. It’s like we see things as too big for us to take control of or we see ourselves as too small to make changes. If we put all our strength in seeing how huge our problems are, how will we ever take a step to make changes happen? Our forefathers were solution creators. They knew how to make nature and the ecosystem around them work for them. We in this day are great dreamers, innovators, creators, but if we keep undermining ourselves and thinking that the only way we can arise with our dreams is through foreign strength, then we will always be at the beck and call of the very people who don’t want us to rise. Also, if you only consider how big your dreams are and then refuse to start small, you will never start. And the Afrikan dream I tell you, is huge and scary to the people who want to keep us in bondage.
Someone said opportunity comes dressed in problems or work. This is true. And because we live in Afrika, a society that has been programmed to be dependent on handouts and foreign aid for decades, we see our problems as issues that China and America needs to help us solve, instead of an opportunity for our self-growth and our self-sustainability.
We as Afrikans must not continue this way. There are lots of Afrikans already creating platforms in various sectors to help the Afrikan narrative; we must help such to stand. This is one of the many ways in which the Afrikan brotherhood will be nurtured.
And you know what, you really don’t have to know someone personally or you don’t have to have met them physically to be able to help. They say the internet is a global village and I agree. But the concept of a village as we knew it in Afrika is not that of friends that are just numbers, photos and Facebook likes. It is much deeper than that. It is very easy to talk about the Afrikan narrative and how we must be completely free in our minds, but at the same time not do what is needful to give it life. So for you who is still procrastinating concerning that which you have been given as regards Afrika, thinking you are not good enough or you don’t have enough resources, stop being in awe of the problem and start using the little you have to create the solution. Afrikans are all around you and you don’t necessarily need all the resources in the world to make a difference in another person’s life. To be a brother is not really difficult, we just need to pause and re-look at the people around us again, see them with fresh eyes and just maybe the cord that we have been looking for will suddenly click.
Afrika belongs to us all; it is our duty to raise her up.
You are my brothers if we work together to bring the mind of God for Afrika to pass.