Light is better appreciated when darkness holds sway, just as a word of hope can bring joy when distress looms. The darkness that appears to be spreading across the continent needs urgent light, and you (yes, you) are the last hope of the continent. It is not time to give up on the world’s next economic miracle, it’s only time to fan the flames so that the glow of individual lights can come together to form a bright light across the continent. Africa needs you, now, more than ever. Will you rather stay on the finger-pointing side or become part of the solution, one that will become a major chapter when the history of Africa is being written.
Africa began the year on a sad note with our brothers in East Africa wondering what went wrong with a population that lived side by side until selfish interests ignited flames of inhuman acts. Then, we started wishing for a peaceful resolution to the problems facing the nation we knew as the food basket of the continent. We were still nursing the wounds of our fears when news came in that the mediator now has need of medication for her own wounds. How could those pictures be true? What is wrong with us? Could they be right that say that the continent is under curse? Many questions, tons of them, but answers are what we need. Answers in human form, answers from people groups, answers from those we elected (or even those who were selected in the bedroom of the powerful), and answers from those who feel the pain.
As I moved from one place to the other, the questions were the same: “Will Africa ever get it right?” Yes, Africa will. In fact, if you see what I see, you will agree with me that Africa has started on the path towards getting it right? Why do I say that? Because there is a point at which every pain becomes the signal for redress. I believe that your anger towards the unfortunate events that have stained the fabric of our dear continent over the last few weeks only point to the fact that the pain is stronger this time. We can’t pretend any more that things are right in some places while wrong in others. The “giants” we believed in have failed us, and its time to turn to the “not-so-mighty”, the people. We are brothers and sisters, we are because the next person is… ubuntu! “K’otun we osi, k’osi we otun, oun lowo fi nmo.” Same meaning, but another language.
This could either be the time to sit back and enjoy the dirge, or the moment of awakening when each individual will ask the critical question: “what can I do to take Africa out of this heap of shame to her rightful place?” And not just that, it’s the moment to do something about it. We can not continue to wonder why things have gone so wrong, we must do something in our own little ways about getting things — not only back on track but — on the path to greater glory. I think this is the right time for the younger generation to spread the message of joint progress to our spheres of influence. Maybe we have spent enough time assuming that “those leaders” will always get it wrong because they are dumb, how about “us leaders” fixing the bit we can now and getting ready for the larger tasks that lie right ahead.
These are dark days, but you are the light. It’s high time you threw your weight around and show darkness who’s boss!