Ubuntu Calling, the African rant
The narrative often pushed upon us, as Africans, is that we should overlook the agony of colonization, assuming we've had sufficient time to reorganize our matters. Today, I find it imperative to share personal accounts of my endeavors to transcend poverty and assist numerous young individuals in their journey to do the same.
Allow me to delve into the heart of the matter - neocolonialism. There exists a considerable faction oblivious to the profound devastation caused by colonization and slavery. Eschewing academic jargon, let's explore this in everyday language. Colonialism seized our finest - the most skilled physicians, the most talented craftsmen - depriving our continent of the precious human resources necessary for development. Imagine being shackled and then asked to sprint - this is the paradox colonization imposed on Africa, taking our best, and then wondering why we are struggling to progress.
Adding insult to injury, colonizers employed a sinister strategy to ensure control over our resources. Power was handed to the deceitful, effectively undermining those striving for our liberation. This maneuver resulted in a weakened chieftaincy system and diluted monarchic authority.
Religion was sold to us like sweet treats, with the sweetness wearing off, leaving us with a metaphorical cavity. Despite this, audacious voices arise, questioning why Africa isn't progressing. We need to remember that the arbitrary lines that divide us were drawn without African consultation during the Berlin Conference. These invisible lines still ripple discord amongst brothers and create unseen barriers.
Westerners arrived, and we welcomed them with warmth and hospitality. They managed to turn our own kin against us, exchanged trinkets for our gold, and used our resources to elevate their societies. They labeled us primitive, yet they hypocritically dissuaded us from visiting the magnificent societies they built off our resources. Our youths, captivated by the allure of these societies, dare to brave dangerous seas for a glimpse. However, they are often met with cold rejection.
My heartache, and the effects of Western standards on Africa, are profound, so much so that words fall short in encapsulating the experience. This account serves as a testament to the daily anguish we bear, especially for those from the West seeking to comprehend our plight.
In this modern era, the West continues to control our resources, not because we lack the acumen to utilize them, but under the pretense of 'helping' us, superficial solutions have been advanced. These solutions cater only to those who comply with the Western 'standards'. Aid agencies often amass more data on us than we have on ourselves. These agencies channel funds back to the West, assigning their citizens to oversee programs in our countries. Once the funds are depleted, the reins are reluctantly handed over to 'locals'. After failing to emulate their predecessors, the projects collapse, giving the West another excuse to belittle our capabilities.
Recently, Western entities have launched startups and accelerator programs that promote solutions which are detached from our community's needs. This encourages a competitive culture among our youth, who instead of developing tangible solutions, waste precious time in pitching concepts. Amidst this competitive frenzy, we seem to have forgotten our ethos of "Ubuntu".
Our necessities remain unmet while we busy ourselves with grandiose schemes. What use is an app to a famished farmer? What relevance does blockchain have to a child lacking electricity or internet access? We confront additional obstacles - banks and payment gateways deems us too corrupt, our passports are flagged, and weapons sold to disrupt any progress we make. Colonialism, it seems, has not left us yet.
The crux of life lies in food and education. Food nourishes life, education fuels progress. But when someone takes control of your food supply, they grasp your authority. When your education reflects alien experiences, you become a stranger in your own homeland.
In the current scenario, our engineers are capable, but they can't execute a simple task like moving water from one point to another for our people's benefit. Our education system promotes Western standards, leaving a disconnect between our local experiences and what is being taught.
So, where do we go from here? We must take action, starting with reinvesting in ourselves and our communities. We need to acknowledge our history while simultaneously striving to create a future that caters to our unique needs and aspirations. Homegrown solutions, grounded in our culture, traditions, and realities, are the key to our progress. We need an education system that echoes our experiences and equips our children with the skills to effectively tackle local challenges.
Reclaiming our authority over our resources and resisting neocolonial practices require unity and a collective resolve. We must aspire towards an era where aid is not a tool for control but a platform for collaboration based on mutual respect. We need to reject superficial solutions that primarily serve foreign agendas and embrace genuine efforts contributing to our growth.
We are a resilient people, overflowing with creativity and innovation. It is incumbent upon us to harness these qualities, leverage our resources, and collectively work towards a brighter future for Africa. Our journey will undoubtedly be challenging, but we are testament to the strength of perseverance. Together, we can reshape our destiny, dismantle the chains of neocolonialism, and reassert our rightful place in the world. Let's move forward with the conviction that our future is not written by others but authored by us, the people of Africa.