By Henry Ekwuruke
Africa’s identity has fallen apart. We have watched as the 21st century left us gaping with open wounds from dictatorship of various kinds. From Chad to Congo, to South Africa to Nigeria, the stories have the same underlying theme:
Africa is killing itself from within. Forget the pressure from world superpowers. Even as IMF squeezes us by the throat and the World Bank holds us by the testicles, our ability to wriggle free has never been questioned. Our problem is the loss of the African soul, the death of our desire to rebirth our humanity.
We are like the duck in Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ who will only squawk and grumble and go on its way. No matter what you do to it…remove fuel subsidies…squawk, grumble and go on its way. Why can’t we be like the hen? Rave, curse and put up a little resistance…just a little ‘no’? Its time we realize that no matter how golden our silence might be, we will continue to loose our souls if we do not struggle to keep it.
Kenneth Kaunda says that ‘the West may have its technology, and the East, its spiritualism, but Africa must rediscover its humanism and her other identities, then cherish them”. What makes a nation powerful is not the amount of technology it has amerced or the amount of arsenal at its disposal. It is the ability to cherish what you have no matter how little.’ That is what gives us value and put a high price tag on what we have at the global market. We are as powerful as the world superpowers even more powerful. We have the combination of the technical ability and a rare edge…humanism. It is our ability to dig deep and rediscover our own civilization; a civilization averse to the then advised to understand in line with their traditional humanism that any system of civilization which sees the human person only through the prism of ‘economism’, only then can we clamor for the new concept of G8+A.
The world is looking towards Africa for a balance between Humanism and economism. The world supplies the products. Africa supplies the care and love that goes with it. This equilibral balance can only be achieved if Africa understands its pivotal role in the world systemic. Unfortunately, we have not. We continue to suffer from a colossal identity crisis, we continue to gravel and chase after what Europe and America can give us, we struggle to beat them on their own turf but we fail to realize that a man who designs a drum knows the secret of the drum.
In this era of economic and global melt down, when the Euro and the stock markets are fast failing, with suicide and crime on the increase and the G8 failing to find a lasting solution to world peace, attention is fast turning to Africa. Africa has what the world needs, a humanism unparalleled. All we need is to rediscover our humanism, the context and content of the African race and balance it with the world technology. We cannot do this until we take a break from our selfishness and corrupt tendencies, until we stop the internal bickering, institute a government that can propel us forward, until we rediscover who we are and the role we must play in world peace. Together, we must continue to address the causes of this identity crisis and work to find the right balance between cultural consolidation and Africa’s development. Thus confidence will grow and with it the stability in employment and investment we all badly need would come. It is only then would we be able to declare that we have come of age and are ready to take part in world decision making.
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