Africans have a problem and that problem is Africa. Africa has a problem too, and that that problem is Africa.
As an African, I and many Africans find it easier to blame the West (yes, they do play a part), or to blame the continent’s topography or more often, we can blame voodoo. Whichever we can choose to blame, how much have we blamed ourselves? And, not that self-pity of Bill Gates helping ‘millions’ dying of AIDS, or the dying kid on those late nights Help-This-African-Child ads. I’m wondering how often we asked: how much of the African problems have we caused? How much have African leaders ‘robbed’ Africa? How come we Africans seem to be chasing shadows in attempts to solve our problems? If this doesn’t bother us, maybe we have grown used to our plights.
AIDS is Not a Problem
I’m delighted that many have had their consciousness raised towards the suffering that many Africans are living with. It’s refreshing to read of Bill Gates donating millions of dollars to help rid Africa of AIDS. But, that’s where my joys end; the problem of Africa is really distant from AIDS. True many have the disease, but aren’t their even greater number dying of malaria, cholera. mal-nutrition, violence and ignorance? Oh, this doesn’t sell that much to the West — AIDS sound more serious, more intense, more money-demanding and of course, the ‘elites’ have more prospect of accumulating all those funds towards a new house.
The AIDS campaign is a business — for profit. Maybe not for those that are living with the illness, but for those going on through with this campaigns. Yes, AIDS is real, so is the malaria, or mal-nutrition and those are even real-ier and prevalent. Those funds for AIDS that have been collected, what are they even being used for? I see the managers of this NGOs (Non-Governement Organizations/Non-Profit Organization) driving in posh cars, living in bigs houses and I doubt if they really are truly helping those with the disease. There’s really isn’t much that can be done, they know Africans have been miseducated and some even like it that way.
Miseducation of Africans
Recently, a friend was recollecting to me his story about being attacked by armed robbers on one of the Nigerian highways (who he said where mostly youngsters). More often in the news is the case of young Niger-Delta [in Nigeria] militants holding oil workers hostage or the riots in Johannesburg. The point isn’t about the unrest but — the African young minds.
African leaders have given education a backseat now, young Africans are miseducating or often, not educated at all. An ignorant mind is a play ground for the devil. I mentioned to my friend as we went through the case of the robbery; “it all comes down to the standard of education, the priority our leaders give education.”
How many Africans know their history? When was the last time an African won the Nobel Price? How many Africa-trained minds have made any remarkable contribution to the world recently? What is Africans’ influence in the ‘say’ of today’s world policies? This and many more bug my mind. When will African leaders take education seriously? Sure, AIDS is serious, and even more deadly is ignorance — why isn’t more NGOs rising up to the challenge of educating young mind who would multiplyingly benefit themselves and all around them? Electricity, good roads, healthy citizens, this are all good ambitions, but what’s the use when they are going to be serving ignorance? Of course we are not ignorant but our leaders have taken our minds lightly and have forced these situations of us.
The Case for Robbery and A Call to Reason
When my friend was done recounting the story, I analyzed with another friend where I concluded, if anyone in their state have had the option, they would do the same. Though this happened in Nigeria, incidents like this is common place in Africa. I argued, the country gives incentive for this kind of acts.
It’s like having someone pay you to beat up a person you wish you had the chance to beat up. I continued, “think about those guys in the Niger-Delta who have no good water, lack acess to schools, etc. what option do they have than violence?”
I often read that this communities have leaders who intermediate with the Oil companies and get settlements that are supposed to go back into the community — obviously, those cash are only go into the pocket of a few.
IN an Africa I imagine, education solves all the mess it’s in.
Instead of spending those dollars on short run problems like AIDS, why don’t we invest a significant portion in educating Africans and bettering the educating centers (pre-school through Universities), invest even more in encouraging original research.
Oil producing countries like Nigeria should give oil companies [Shell, Mobil, etc.] an incentive to invest in small businesses around the communities they explore oil. Not just invest in small business, they should also invest in the potential bright minds in these communities.
Of course, that’s a world I imagine, maybe it would happen sooner but maybe before then, I might playfully suggest like Marx that there should be a unification of African young minds and lead a forceful take-over of the powers that keep the African mind uneducated.
This might not happen sooner either, I would keep my hopes high and my fingers cross as I make my small efforts to keep the African minds liberated.