Shades of Africa’s bright future

2011-01-07 09:57

Last year was both a ­phenomenal and a ­depressing year for South Africa and the world.

It ­often seems that for every ­triumph or success, there has been tragedy and failure.
While South Africa was able to successfully host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, we also had what is probably the ­biggest teachers’ strike which, ­coupled with the perceived failure of the OBE system, will have far-reaching consequences for the ­future.

Living in South Africa, in a way, results in a schizophrenic approach to everything, with optimism and pessimism intricately interwoven into every aspect of life.

We ­lament the impact of crime, yet become desensitised to ensure that we can function.

We constantly harp on about the level of talent in the country, yet do not provide the necessary platforms for ­innovation and increased creativity.

The US, with its mass media ­juggernaut spewing its culture into all parts of the globe, has given us its worst, or rather, we have absorbed the commercial, materialistic components and made those the criteria of ­success, overlooking the more ­positive elements.

The US, in addition to its many flaws, also seems to create ­environments that are conducive to ­innovation and creativity.

From computer hardware and software, television programming, social media networks, music and film; to games, telecommunications and industrial design – there is so much commitment and dedication pumped into their creative base.

The measure of success is not the money that comes out of it but rather the actual innovation.

We have much to be proud of, though, and we need to change how we perceive it.

Many a time I have moaned about how South Africa has the potential to embody the worst of the US in Africa.

For example, ­because the primary media ­platforms profiling African music are based in SA and, therefore, are ­biased towards SA, there seems to be a lack of respect for music from the rest of the continent.

If music videos are not played on a channel because they are deemed to lack the appropriate quality, how does one then say they are ­acknowledging African music and videos.

Especially since there is a limited pool of videos from outside SA?

America has world champions in sports that are only played in America such as basketball, ­American football and ice hockey.

South Africa has the potential to be seen through the same lens.

It also has the potential to lead and facilitate the evolution of this great continent to reach its true power.

This needs humility and partnership and brotherhood/sisterhood as opposed to superiority.

This needs the knowledge and belief that our history and culture are the tools needed to thrive.

In our roots, we have something ­no one else has: an ancient wisdom that can be applied to today’s world and birth innovation that is unsurpassed.

It sounds utopian but I truly believe it is possible. We are African. Let’s behave like it.

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