Africans are ignorant and do not seem to learn from their mistakes. They seem to forget so quickly, and this enemy called “ignorance” is killing our generations. Some even do not know their rights and those who know do not fight for them. Even when disasters strike, we mourn, forget and move on. However, as much as the blame is put on the government, in most cases, it is not the case. Africans are victims of their ignorance and are to blame for their own mistakes.
Take a scenario which happened March this year where drought had stricken Turkana county in Kenya, where lives were lost. The government denied its people by making claims that there were enough food and water and did not make efforts to send relief food.
The government continued to insist that the situation was nothing to worry about; pictures went around social media displaying people living in deplorable conditions. Well-wishers fed the victims and even supplied them with water.
But in less than one month, the area has been flooded following heavy rainfall which continue to pound the country. This is what happens year in year out. But the government does not seem to care much about harvesting the water or constructing dams to help fight food insecurity and curb the flooding impacts which are claiming lives and displacing thousands.
But when the elections day comes, everybody seems to have forgotten the past. Politicians make promises, and people end up voting them back in office only to be hit by the same disasters over and over again.
Other countries which have been hit by floods this month include Ghana, Burundi, Malawi, and South Africa. These disasters strike these countries every year, but nothing much is being done to curb the menace.
Apart from flooding and drought, diseases also affect people from time to time. Ebola in the West African region is prevalent. Every time it occurs, lives are lost. Disaster unpreparedness in Africa is common, and most countries are caught unaware.
However, as we point fingers to bad leaders, let’s ask ourselves, “Where have we gone wrong.” It all starts by electing corrupt leaders who do not seem to care much about the citizens. For transformation to be felt in Africa, first we have to learn our lessons and ensure we elect good leaders who can transition the continent.
Dear Victoria Wambua,
First and foremost, allow me to confirm that I understand your frustration with Africa’s general lack of development, particularly for the well-being of its billions of citizens.
However, your reductionist approach to the continent’s complex problems with its immense diversity and incredible resilience is extremely dangerous, ill-informed, frankly and disappointingly insulting!
Your approach is all of these things because you completely take for granted that someone like you and I wouldn’t even be in this so-called “enlightened world were it not for the blood, genius, wisdom, and innumerable sacrifices and phenomenal resilience of our people constantly breaking the chains of slavery, colonialism, and continued imperialism.
Your approach is dangerous because it ignores the deadly struggles that our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and grandfathers (the list goes on) are currently engaged in for freedom and better governance from Sudan, to South-Africa, Algeria, Mali, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Nigeria and in between.
Now, and here’s your most dangerous assumption. Your argument assumes that whoever or whatever you’re comparing Africans to, such things or people are somehow enlightened because they vote in “the right leaders”???.
Where in the world do you live? Do you have the opportunity to follow global news and events?? Have you heard of Brexit? Do you know what it is ?? Are you following the current break down of the European Union and the rising populist/authoritarian rule across the Western Hemisphere???? So do all these places’ problematic governance not least of which is corruption, means the electorate is ignorant? I think even you will agree that’s not the case.
Also, and at risk of sounding “cheesy”, your inquiry and claims come across more like self-hating than a serious intellectual engagement with governance issues on a continent as extremely vast and diverse as Africa. I think your approach will make Africa’s former colonial powers very proud because the enslaved is doing the psychological self-enslavement through inferiority, instead of the master using violence to convince them that they’re less than humans and ignorant.
You should definitely read Frantz Fannon’s groundbreaking book Black Skin, White Masks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Skin,_White_Masks. It’s of the best books, if not the only book, that expertly tackles issues of black identity and the legacies of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism on black people’s perception of themselves and the world around them, from self-hating to inferiority complex, to pride and everything in between
Nonetheless, I do see some value in your inquiry about the state of things in Africa. It’s a shame that your inquiry’s potential was wasted. This is essentially what you seem to be getting at: How can Africans create strong civil coalitions and independent political movements to increase and strengthen positive socio-economic outcomes for all and hold the powerful to account?
Thanks for your comments. I appreciate the fact that you took your time to read our post, and your participation in the forum because we value active engagement of our readers. I also appreciate your contribution and your point of view. I wrote this piece with the passion and the frustration that Africans on the continent are experiencing which quite possibly Africans outside the border equally have but to a certain degree. Pieces like this could potentially give Africans a forum of talking and sharing together; a forum that can awaken our consciousness and offer enlightenment. Thanks for Book recommendation, will check it out.
I value, respect, and admire your open-mindedness. And as I mentioned before, I’m fully on board holding African leaders, not just political leaders, to account, so I truly sympathize and fully understand your frustration.
Still, we have plenty of examples on the continent where people are standing up to tyranny and horrific governance daily, and we must celebrate such sacrifices and determination and warn (as you hinted in your post) that these battles are just the beginning.
Ultimately, we must have the courage, the confidence and pride to love, admire and respect mother Africa for her sheer humanity and resilience. That’s found nowhere else, and God knows, I’ve been traveling around.
Therefore, I’ve made a conscious effort to understand Africa on my own terms, her defeat, victories, tragedy, and everything in between. I’m determined to hold to account discourses that try to whitewash it or present it from a white/European supremacist point of view.
It is why I think reading Frant Fannon’s work, among many others, can be so helpful for someone like you, who clearly wants nothing but the best for her people, our continent, and humanity in general. Keep up the good work!
What a terribly written, foolish article that ignores the entire history behind our continent and why these issues exist!! Have you ever heard of colonialism? Corruption? Do these “writers” do research before writing or do they just blog whatever comes to their heads??
This is Victoria-responding to your comment:
Thanks so much for your comment. Wow, we at USAIG have been exploring ways to engage individuals like you who are knowledgeable and passionate about the state of Africa and its people worldwide, and somehow feel accomplished that you’ve posted this comment.
Please know that the writer is a concerned African citizen like many, and writes solely from her opinion. On this platform, we welcome both whatever comes to people’s “heads” as well as very well researched pieces of articles.
Our editors don’t discriminate given that (i) as you probably know by now, our community’s civic participation in forums like this is very low, and needs encouragement and support (ii) we aim at given everyone a voice. The only time we may not welcome an article is when it violates our own ethical and journalistic principles including injuring others without a justified cause.
Having said the above, I’d love to hear from you from time to time on this platform voicing your opinions about what’s going on. I’m certain that you know why we must keep a forum like this going. It’s dangerous not to. Apart from the prevalence of fake news, our voices as a community is scarcely represented in the media. Because we don’t own a space to define ourselves, others who know very little about us are coming out to define us and are claiming authority of knowledge about us when they do so. They do it for political, economic and other personal gains. Worse, their voices are usually louder in the media, hence we have a role to play.
Write any thoughts you have down on any Africa related issues and send it out to us for publication at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our blog pieces are widely distributed reaching almost 5000 people worldwide even at this incipient phase of our startup. If you read anything in the news or have been following up on some issues that you feel need our voice, or that an African like you has to jump in and say something, here is your platform. Your article could also be showcased in our upcoming magazine.
There’s more I feel that I should share with you, but let me stop here hoping that this is just the beginning of our sharing together.
Looking forward to your outreach.