It is a privilege to be an African. I can say that again that it is a great privilege being an African and living as one. Then if this is so, why are there always persistent acts of violent aggression, racism and distaste towards black African people? To effectively answer this question, it is only fair that I respond with another related question; why is it that a good person who has a good thing always becomes the face of ridicule and negative criticism? Well, your guess is as good as mine, for there are numerous advantages or benefits that an African person enjoys to the disadvantage of other races which, in fact when fully accepted and guarded, would be the first turning point from the way the world views an African.
Just to highlight a few privileges that differentiate the African continent from the rest:
• The African continent is the richest in natural resources. Over 30% of the world’s global minerals that include gold, diamonds, cobalt and iron are found in Africa. Notwithstanding, the continent has 20 countries that produce crude oil, with output concentrated in 5 of those countries which are: Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, Egypt, and Libya- who, between them, account for over 80% of Africa’s oil production.
• Africa is ideally located in the best geographical position for trade with other continents like Europe, Middle East and Asia. The East coast of the Indian Ocean is life to several ports used for trade in good arriving through cargo ships. Due to the increased activities by the regional trade blocs within Africa, it is established that when African countries trade with themselves they exchange more manufactured and processed goods, have more knowledge transfer, and create more value.
• Africa’s population growth rate is the fastest in the world, expected to increase by roughly 50% from 1.2 billion people today to over 1.8 billion by 2035 according to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS issue 2017; Africa’s population boom: burden or opportunity?). It is further argued that by 2035 sub- Saharan Africa will still be the youngest in the world. Therefore, such tremendous potential by its working population is unmatched world over.
• Being the second- largest continent and the most diverse in the world, Africa has over 3000 ethnic groups/ tribes and 2000 spoken languages. Besides, Africa is home to a rich and diverse animal, plant, and marine biodiversity, which forms part of the continent’s economic backbone. Historically, more than 60% of the population of sub- Saharan Africa is made up of smallholder farmers who, through their different forms of agriculture, contribute about 23% of sub- Saharan Africa’s GDP (McKinsey & Company, 2019: Winning in Africa’s agricultural market).
We can agree that this list is endless. Africans have the best competitive edge, both economically and socially to make them respected and appreciated for their many forms of contribution towards the global economy and ecosystem.
Therefore, if this is the case, what is it that an African can do to reverse the common, but negative world-view, which portrays him or her as poor and inferior to the rest. By world-view, Africa very well falls into this category. Yes, Africans play the chief role in changing this view. Charity begins at home, so let me take you through two recipe solutions that would lead Africans to the right conversations:
1. Serious Mindset and Reprogramming
There is a saying that reads; “If a man is born ignorant, to parents that are ignorant, in a society that is ignorant, lives a life of ignorance, and eventually dies in ignorance…then, ignorance is the norm. Thus, indoctrination can be called education, hypnotism can be called entertainment, criminals can be called leaders, and lies can be called truth, because his mind was never truly his own.”
Did you know that black ignorance is a multi-billion dollar industry? Carefully take a look around and you will realize that American and European industries have made and are still making fortunes selling what is originally African. The funny fact is that China is also doing the same thing right around the block. This is the tragic truth of mental slavery. That we are all victims of this westernized culture to the point that Africans tend to believe that there is nothing good that can come out from Africa. I hope Africans would understand that there are millions of noble Africans within their lineage that got tortured, lynched, raped, murdered and suffered a great deal as slaves just so that subsequent generations would enjoy their freedoms. These gallant men and women were robbed of their land, wealth, heritage, freedom and identity. As a matter of fact, Africa has often been referred to as the ‘dark continent’, for it is said it has no proper documented history. By all means this is hogwash, since Africa’s system of education has been authored by the very same colonial masters. Why would any African be subjected to lots of years of learning which only lead her to menial jobs? This is a case of inferior education for inferior opportunities.
Have you ever come across any African immigrant traveling overseas for greener pastures carrying with him a big portfolio of high academic qualifications only to arrive in that country and be informed that those qualifications which they heavily invested in and took several years to accomplish, are but inferior to his host country’s system of education? What a pity. You know what happens next, your very qualified brother or sister is forced to reapply, learn and get examined to achieve the same qualifications he or she previously had. What a painful price to pay. That is not the end of story. Your African brother or sister will later get employed in a poor, racially segregated job which is way below his or her vast amount of qualifications and even made to work for longer hours. So who is fooling who?
Now as a blessed African how do you reprogram? You need to unshackle yourself from the chains of religious dogma and education of mind control and liberate yourself to the truth. I am talking about a complete mind reset, which is not easy but very achievable. As an African you need to revisit your heritage of what makes you uniquely diverse and use it as your basis of turnaround from: inferiority to superiority, poverty to richness. As an African you should feel better about your skin colour as opposed to resorting to bleaching your melanin.
You should celebrate your rich tribe, language and culture. You should never shy away from calling your children by their wonderful African names as opposed to English names. I mean this is our identity we are talking about here. Being an African demands that you also take pride in your well-crafted traditional African attire and plaited hair. The African spirit is to view your fellow African as a brother or sister, but never as an enemy. You know what is more? You should connect deeply to your own spirituality like that of your ancestors as opposed to only sticking by religion. I am not implying that religion is bad, but there is a stark difference between spiritualism and religion. One is from within and the other is from without.
2. Empowerment through Good Leadership
Have you ever heard of the saying; ‘Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he will feed for a lifetime’? Well, I chose to disruptively go further from this by saying; ‘Empower the man to own a lake, and he will feed generations after him.’
Global Finance Magazine 2020 Figures, present that out of the 20 poorest countries in the world, 16 of them are in Africa. If you are curious like me, you would ask yourself this critical question; how is it that a continent endowed with so much wealth and resources, would be classified as the poorest in the world? Without a shadow of doubt, this is as a result of incompetent leadership in those given countries. Could it also be the knowledge and skills acquired through their system of education compare less favorably, and do not empower learners to use their outcomes to make an impact toward wealth creation?
Whatever it is, it is safe to say that there is an elite, leaders in African countries that thrive in chaos and impoverishing their citizens. The best solution to this is for you as an African citizen to follow leaders based on their ideologies rather than by their appetite for looting. Interestingly, some of these corrupt handout-giving incompetent puppet leaders have been handed down to Africans by the Western powers. Since a group of them rule with iron fists, you as an African citizen should relentlessly demand for a better deal in leadership as opposed to the status quo. Power always belongs to the people, and there have been several case studies of how citizens from different countries in the world, Africa included that ceaselessly demanded for fresh and competent leadership till eventually their voices and efforts were rewarded.
These, solutions are just but a skeleton of the bigger picture. You may add more to them if you like. Just remember that the net impact of such discussions is to shift your focus from the impossible to possible, from a self-perception of weakness to strength. From feelings of inferiority to those of superiority. To take it a notch higher, I long to see the day that you will get rid of the word CAN’T from your vocabulary and replace it with CAN because you are an able Afri-CAN.
What's Your Reaction?
Robert Macharia is a mentor, trainer and writer bearing adequate experiences in business development and brand management success.