Africans are able to give

SOMETHING positive is emerging from the ruins of earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

SOMETHING positive is emerging from the ruins of earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Thanks to the misery of the hundreds of thousands who perished when their world caved in last week, we have a fresher and more critical look at the global divide between the rich countries of the north and those of the south.

Haiti's earthquake is a reminder of the social and economic injustice that persists decades - in Haiti's case, two centuries - after colonialism.

Another positive emerging is that of Africans feeling the need to banish the idea of ours being a continent of a people whose hand is more ready to receive than to give.

As a line in one of Vusi Mahlasela's songs exhorts Africa "give to the world and not just take from it".

That is why we applaud the initiative by churches, business and civil society leaders such as Graça Machel, Archbishops Desmond Tutu, Njongonkulu Ndungane, Malusi Mpumlwana, Thabo Makgoba, and businessmen Trevor Ncube and Reuel Khoza's Africa for Haiti campaign.

It is quite essential that Africans send a message not only to the rest of the world, but also to themselves that they are capable of solving their own problems and of other Africans in the diaspora. We owe it to ourselves and those who have written us off to make Africa's long due contribution to humanity.

As Ncube pointed out: "It is time that we stand and be counted as Africans. We have received much from the world. We must show them and ourselves that we can give as well as receive; that though we may not be rich we do have a heart."