Africa can be its own saviour

DURING Africa Week that is just ending, many questions were raised about the significance of Africa Day. Will Africa unite at all? What about the wars, the corruption, dependence on Western aid, poverty and Aids?

DURING Africa Week that is just ending, many questions were raised about the significance of Africa Day. Will Africa unite at all? What about the wars, the corruption, dependence on Western aid, poverty and Aids?

Is it not a waste of time, others asked, to celebrate Africa Day when Africa appears to be degenerating into chaos and hopelessness?

Two points of view are in contention in the discourse about Africa's prospects; they are the static and the dynamic points of view. The static focuses on current goings-on, without reference to history. Failure to use history as an analytical tool is conveyed on one or the other of two reasons, namely, deliberately ignoring history or just plain ignorance of it. The former typifies Western utterances, while the latter can be observed among Africans who express pessimistic sentiments about Africa's prospects.

The dynamic view is inspired by the advances that have been achieved through many deliberate sacrifices by Africa's heroes, spanning numerous generations.

Comparing the state of affairs in Africa and the lot of her people, say, at the turn of the last century and the present situation, it is difficult not to see the significant changes that were envisaged by our political progenitors in their struggle for both the liberation of Africa and its unification.

We are now in a better position to visualise the ideals of Pixley ka Seme, Marcus Garvey, George Padmore and other earlier Pan Africanists than they themselves could when Africa was firmly in the grip of ruthless colonial oppression. Yet they held the faith. Later, in the forties, Anton Lembede was able to say, "I yearn for the glory of Africa that is lost, but I shall fight for its restoration."

There has developed from those dreams the OAU, later replaced by the AU, which is much improved in terms of values.

The growing political awareness of the masses in many countries is infectious, so is the intolerance of military coups. There was a time when more than half the number of heads of state was composed of unmitigated dictators such as Idi Amin and Mobutu Sese Seko.

Kwame Nkrumah, the OAU's architect, never pretended that the solution of African disunity would be immediate with the OAU's formation.

Everything in life follows a process and time. What is important is not how you are doing, but how you end up. We have to dedicate ourselves to working for posterity, an extension of ourselves.

Africa is a teenager, as the development of states go. Show me a good number of teen s with an admirable amount of wisdom.

We must make sure we rely less on the West by stimulating agriculture, manufacturing and mining. More importantly, indigenous Africans must play a central role in their ownership . Also, do we have the guts to ask to be paid in rands for our commodities? If we have, it will go up in value and with it true liberation and prosperity.

l The writer is the author of I am an African

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