Sunday, April 27, 2014

Africans, don't give up on Africa

Although my wife is Canadian because she was born here; her ancestral roots traces back to the West Indies and ultimately Africa. My wife studying history and eventually furthering in Modern Slavery make both of us a team for Africa emancipation. If we're not talking about promoting African values in our Canadian context, we are busy putting the lines together about Africa: the news, reports, economic analysis, the society, environment etc. So when she sent me an email containing a link to the set of pictures below during one of her research, I wasn't at all surprised. The pictures were published on CNN’s Inside Africa website with the caption: “Stunning photos show Africa through African eyes”. The publication was part of the the IBM Research Africa 12 Global Research Lab Project

My wife naturally connected with the stories that followed each picture because of her education and of course the many trips we have made together into Africa and African related attraction around the world. For me, however, I connected with those pictures because I saw myself in them. They told my story.

photo 3 photo 1
The house I was born in Mushin Lagos, Nigeria was just across the railway line like this. Since I was born  up till date, I’ve never seen a single train pass through. My parents never stop telling tales of how busy that railway line used to be. Yet in other places, trains are working. Railway workers strike and others leave the few working ones over crowded like the one seen above.
photo 2 photo 4
We fetched water like this. I remember lifting big buckets on my head on very long distances. And you just have to fill up those big drums stored behind the kitchen doors. Africans are extremely creative. We make something out of nothing. Don’t pity Africa, work with Africa! We have a thriving creative economy, youth bulginess.
photo 3 photo 1
Yet we have hope. The future is not ahead, the future is now. When I was a kid we soil ourselves like this young child, telling ourselves we are eating food as we put this dusts on our chin. We have not lost hope. Its this hand-in-soil that has strengthened our creativity. They say religion has been our bane. But who could I have been if I had not known the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of our faith our communities are built on tenets of respect and love. Its this foundation that allows people like myself to thrive all around the world.
photo 2 photo 4
While many people know this young boy made a pair of “glasses”, only very few people knew what he made it of and what the process of making it require. I know because that boy was just exactly like me! we made those funny looking pair of “glasses” out of table-top calendar spine. Creativity is in our DNA! This is Africa!! This picture passed the strongest message to me. What are we doing to secure the future? Or better still, what am I doing? I see Bill Gates and his earnest effort and I say to myself yes, this is the way to go! We have to secure the health of our future generations.

This is Africa. We are Africans. If we have come this far why go back? Our faith has been strengthened because daily, we face challenges that forces us to exercise them. We have experienced mountain moving faith as we see mountains of poverty and economic hardship sublime. We are hard working and we also believe in honest dealings even though corruption is fast making this assertion an illusion. We have grown because we strengthened our communities by caring for one another in a most unique way. These is Africa, where you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the house of three different people you met on the street. We take care of our own, we don’t let one another down. This is the Africa I have grown into from the 1980s into the 2000s. All the evil that has happened in recent times must be be reversed. We will not sit and look at them take away our glorious future. We will reverse it. We will fight it with our words across the diaspora.

We are not where we want to be, yet, we are not where we used to be. The road is still very far. We must not allow idiosyncratic people who have crept into our communities deny us of our glorious destination. We must not fail to connect with our core competences, build on our strength and secure future generations. I personally don’t expect a sudden change but one thing I’m sure of is that: myself and many others who share similar vision will not give up. Africa will arise to take its rightful place among committee of nations. It has already begin to happen, the chart below shows Nigeria is the 3rd fastest growing economy in 2014 and hence a major destination for investment (Wealth Professionals Magazine Issue 2.2 pp8,14). By 2050, global economic dynamics would also have shifted in Africa’s favour. Keep in mind that this are assumptions and pre-included are very high risks factors. If we continue to work on reducing these risk factors: ensure political stability, a stable society, we can exceed these growth estimates by very wide margin.



Its time Africa, We must not give up!


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