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African Unity of Purpose

“Africa is one continent, one people, and one nation. The notion that in order to have a nation it is necessary for there to be a common language, a common territory and common culture has failed to stand the test of time or the scrutiny of scientific definition of objective reality… The community of economic life is the major feature within a nation, and it is the economy which holds together the people living in a territory. It is on this basis that the new Africans recognise themselves as potentially one nation, whose dominion is the entire African continent” – Kwame Nkrumah

As we prepared for this issue of the magazine, somewhere at the back of my mind, the name Côte d’Ivoire kept popping up. But I had not a single thing to write about Côte d’Ivoire. It just was not connecting, but the thought about Côte d’Ivoire just wouldn’t leave. After a while, I started seeing various Facebook posts talking about the AFCON Football tournament going on in Ivory Coast. It was then I started paying attention to the promptings in my mind regarding writing about Côte d’Ivoire. By the way, I am not a fan of football, just so you don’t think this is about football.

One thing about football, across the world, and in Africa is that it brings people together around a common activity, conversation, and passion. One of the mobile providers has an advert running at this AFCON that talks about the idea of unity and connectedness of all Africans. Obviously, they are simply making the push for their service, but that appears to be the reason why Côte d’Ivoire was brought to my attention with such intensity. The unity and connectedness of purpose of all Africans and how critical it is for our next push towards TRUE independence.

About ten days before this issue was published, and while the AFCON was still going on, my family and I had gone out for a walk in the neighborhood. As we walked, my wife and I started talking about India and China and how both countries have similar populations to the continent of Africa. I think we were talking about how China and India have managed to use their populations and their technological skills to penetrate every global sector and have become the major faces of these sectors. Then the question became “But why is that?”

We pondered the topic and then concluded that even though China and India have the same population as Africa, they are not divided into fifty-five nations bearing fifty-five different ideologies as we have in Africa. In other words, one of the major problems with Africa is her disunity and lack of a clear and single purpose.

The truth is that a disunited Africa is a disoriented and ineffective Africa and this we have seen for many decades now.

When you look at the political and economic landscape globally, every government of the world seems to have a plan for Africa which they happily share at conferences held at five-star hotels. But have you asked yourself what is Africa’s plan for Africa and the world? It does not exist in reality, maybe on paper. And what this means is that you cannot have an African unity without having an African purpose or vision. Unity is useless without a purpose to be united for. But purpose also cannot be created if we do not come together in unity to create it. So, it’s a two-way thing that must be in constant balance.

As you read this, you may wonder how we will create an African unity if there is no particular African purpose upon which the unity will rest.

For starters, it begins with our ideology of what it means for you to be an African. Simply put, what does Africa and your African-ness represent in your mind when you make decisions and choices about your personal life in relation to the growth and emancipation of Africa?

Young Africans

For younger Africans, what this means is that, for example, when you create or innovate new technology that could revolutionize the world and create massive change in Africa, did you do it because you want to sell it for millions of dollars to the money-bags of Silicon Valley or so that you can contribute to the true emancipation and progress of Africa? That, really, is where it begins.

Your ideology about what it means to be an African is the foundation for our unity. It is the reason why, when you are given the opportunity to study at Oxford University, you will choose to go to a university in Rwanda or Nigeria or in South Africa.

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To take it further, when you sit together with your creative friends and you talk about innovation, art, sports, cuisines, or just anything, what is your general mindset about the Motherland called Africa? Is it that of a backward and forgotten place that you will run away from if given a minute’s notice to do so? Or is it a place that triggers new thoughts in you and for which you will do all to create the solutions for her problems?

The truth is that the unity of Africa and by extension, the purpose of Africa is not within the African Union building in Addis Ababa (unfortunately the building was built and donated by the Chinese government to the AU) nor can it be accurately captured in the policies of the African Heads of State and Government. The purpose of Africa is written in the DNA of every African and the unity of Africa is right in the hands of every African. So, with a conscious digging around in our hearts and a coming together of like-minds, Africa will rise to the peak of its purpose in no time.

Unity in football

Like I have already said, I am not a fan of football so I don’t watch it much but what I can tell you is that, if Africans can come together in unity to get something done for Africa just the same way they do for football, Africa would have become the greatest of all places to be. How is it possible that we come together to plan and play football for trophies that will be thrown in the dustbin at some point, but we can’t come together to create a working system for the economic and social life of Africans?

Prayer for Côte d’Ivoire

I pray that as we have come together in unity using football as a binding force, Côte d’Ivoire will rise to be a major binding force for the unity of Africa and the prosperity of Africans. Be highly blessed Côte d’Ivoire and may you be a shining light in the midst of Africa.

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