Can Afrika Wake-up to a Now Reality?
I read somewhere, the words of someone who was talking about the American dream. He said something like: the American dream is only a dream because those caught in it are actually sleeping. I completely agree and because I love things or words that make me think and these words certainly got me thinking, I could not but connect it back to my home in Afrika. I do not think there is any other nation or people in the world caught up in such a chasing after futility and pseudo-lifestyles than America and Americans. Oh my goodness, they just can’t get enough of it and it has become a stench to the spirit of morality and humanity.
However, this article is not about the American dream, but it’s about the Afrikan dream. To be honest, and quite frankly, I think the average Afrikan is also caught in some form of dream state that either he wishes not to wake up from or he is just so dead asleep that he is not aware that he needs some kind of waking up.
The Afrikan man is caught in between two dream states. He is caught in the dream of the juicy, glorious past of his forefathers; the reality of the grandiose technology and human mind-power that it took to build the pyramids of Egypt, the magnificent Sphinx and the other grand architectural masterpieces scattered all over Afrika. He loves the uncorrupted Afrikan spirituality and the pure connection to cosmic energies that created such mystique about his forefathers. He loves the sound and the picture it all paints. And like a child who was told of how great a warrior his dead father was, he won’t stop talking about it to anyone who cares or does not care to listen. He even bullies them with the story if they don’t seem to pay enough attention to him, making enemies of those who think contrary to what he believes. In comparing those days to the days in which he now finds himself, he longs to go back to the days of his forefathers. What a loyal and lovely son he tries to make everyone believe that he is. But the reality is that, that which he so longs to go back to, has also become a dream state from which he needs to wake up from somehow. For those days are gone and will never return. Period!
Also, apart from snoring in the dream state of the glorious past, the Afrikan man is also caught up in another dream state; the dream of the future that is so bright and beautiful that he is rendered useless in the now reality. The Afrikan man is caught up in the dream of a hope in the future and how, in foresight, he sees and believes that great things will happen again. He is so happy looking at that future he sees in this dream and not wanting to break the chills and the goose bumps his dream creates in him, he won’t wake to the reality that he is sandwiched between two dreams he has no ability to control. Especially when he has refused to realize that it is what he does in this now reality, the decisions and choices he makes, that will both salvage the past he so wished for and also create the future his soul longs for. So he remains a dreamer and never an achiever.
But he just really needs to wake up and realize that nothing really happens in the dream state until it is given power in the awake world. He has to tell himself the truth, that time and chance happened to the past, but time and chance – well used now – will create the future he desires.
Dreams do come true, but what about reality?
Every dream has the power to come to pass, but the thing is the dreamer must first get up from the bed on which he had the dream, do something meaningful that gives strength to his dreams and with the right choices and decisions, in no time his dreams will come to pass.
I agree with something that Anselm Adodo, a Nigerian catholic father and scientist, said in his article titled: Redefining Development in Africa – The Idea of a Communiversity, which was published in the sixth issue of this magazine. He wrote “Many African nations are yet to upgrade, renew and evolve their knowledge bases. They find a lazy and easy excuse in referring to times past, ‘the good old days’, to ancient ways of life that are not compatible with modern realities. Others blame colonialism, capitalism, civilization or modernity. It is true that we Africans were once enslaved. It is true that some capitalist foreigners invaded our land and ruled over us, and exploited our natural resources for selfish gains. But were we the only race that was colonized?”
Obviously, things have happened in Afrika and to Afrikans that we wish we could just with a stroke of the pen, write off. But it doesn’t work like that. The Afrikan narrative, and its reality as the cradle of humanity, should naturally put us at the forefront of everything original and progressive in the global space, but based on what we are currently facing as our daily reality, we are quite far from living out the truth of who we are. But nonetheless, the acknowledgement of how far back we are in the true state of things, without biases, will give us the ability to relook things from a new perspective and by that, create the necessary platforms needed for our growth.
Discipline and Self Control
As a pupil of Wisdom, a lover of ancient thoughts, a writer/designer for this Magazine, a designer for another Afrikan magazine from South Afrika, I have come across a lot of writings, articles and papers about Afrika from honored professors and great writers from across Afrika. These are amazing writings and ideas that give the needed answers to the problems in Afrika. I compared these wise Afrikans, of many disciplines, to the weird government officials and policy makers we have in Afrika, in relation to our lack of progress, then I realized the problem with Afrika is not lack of knowledge, lack of wisdom (both ancient and modern), expertise, mind-power, human resources. The problem with Afrika is simply greed and the lack of discipline. And that’s why I laugh at those young Afrikans who are clamoring for the return of Afrika to the ancient ways of life. For in my mind, these guys don’t cut the picture of those with the discipline and self control that the Afrikan forefathers have, which helped them to maintain the magical reality they had in their day.
And speaking about greed and lack of discipline, it is clear as daylight that Afrika is blessed with some of the most intelligent, innovative, creative and hard working people. According to United Nation data, Afrika is a continent of young people with 65 percent of the population below the age of 35, and nearly 50 per cent under the age of 19. When you look at this data, coupled with the land mass and the massive natural resources we have in Afrika, then you would be correct to ask: what is wrong with Afrika? I recently watched a Facebook video by Vusi Thembekwayo, where he spoke about economic systems that promise opportunities to people. He made mention of something like, if you want to thrive in an economic system, take a look at the top 25 wealthiest people in that economic system and look at the most influential people in that system and you will understand everything you need to know about that economic system. He went ahead to mention that people who build great businesses from the ground up, are often those who do so out of competence and not connection.
TIME AND CHANCE HAPPENED TO THE PAST,Samuel Phillips
TIME AND CHANCE WELL-USED NOW,
WILL CREATE THE FUTURE WE DESIRE.
That certainly made sense to me, especially in relation to our Afrikan economic systems, in which connection gives people opportunities rather than competence. And that’s why I said earlier that the issue with Afrika is not lack of skills or knowledge, but too much of greed and indiscipline. What do I mean? For instance a young graduate comes out of the university with first class grades and some real ideas that can change the face of Afrika; he tries to set up his business, but is unable to do so, either because he has no resources to make it happen or for whatever other reason. After trying for many years, he gets a job outside of Afrika in a country where his skills are much more valued and rewarded. And by that, whether we like to admit it or not, the moment he steps outside of Afrika and settles down to do well for himself out there – that is a loss for Afrika. Now here comes another guy from the university with lower grades and no great ideas, because as the son of an Afrikan politician, he had all the money he could spend in school. So school for him was not a place to learn, but to have fun. He comes out of school with no good grades or ideas but is welcomed with government contracts that his mind is not ready for. Now here is the thing, the first guy with ideas and good grades who could not set up his business in Afrika, cannot be considered as gain to Afrika and neither is the second guy who will definitely waste what he was given. In other words, for Afrika to rise to her potential, we must begin to give strength to competence and not connection.
Wisdom is profitable
Ignorance and knowledge should not be mixed together. They should be kept as far apart from each other as light is from darkness. You can help the ignorant man to gain knowledge and you can also help the knowledgeable man to enrich his heart with wisdom, but the man that is ignorantly knowledgeable, you cannot help. He thinks he knows, so every word of knowledge you give him, he will throw back at you, like a stone of accusation and resentment. He only sees the shadows of the things which will be made substance over the space of time, but he thinks he sees the real thing. He cites the knowledge and lifestyle of his Afrikan forefathers and bullies everyone else with whatever he thinks he knows about them and the wisdom they lived by. But he is too ignorant to understand or realize that even his forefathers died while still trying to see the substance hidden in the shadows of the things which they saw. So shall he also die, having not learnt that pride blocks the way to light but humility brings a man to the presence of the One Whom the Afrikan forefathers called Light. Such is the story of the young Afrikan man who is caught in between two dreams. He needs to know when time and chance has happened and how to move on.
King Solomon said in Proverbs 24:3-4:
“Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”
As Afrikans, we must ask ourselves what really we are chasing after and if what we are chasing after really defines who we are, or just makes us feel accepted in the eyes of those who really don’t care about us. Every day you see foreign NGOs come to Afrika to do the things they call charity, which for me is nothing but giving a man fish but stealing both his net and his lake. The Afrikan sickness is not Ebola, Covid-19, HIV/AIDS; all were created and imported here. Thus Afrika does not need healing from these things, what we need healing from, is the power of greed and indiscipline, which have crippled even the minds of the brightest Afrikans and reduced them to slaves and waiters at the table of those whose intention is to completely swallow Afrika up.
Afrika has true and authentic vision carriers; we just need to begin to truly give strength to those who really need it, in order to change Afrika.
It’s time to wake up from our greedy and selfish dreams and create new realities that we can be proud of with time.