Celebrate with vision

2017-07-05 06:00
Qondile Khedama, social observer

Qondile Khedama, social observer

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It is now time to separate hedonism from eudaimonism or rather, to be simplistic, “daily realities confronted by Africans”.

From 1953 to 1963, 17 African countries gained independence from European colonisers. To mark their liberation, they started celebrating African Liberation Day. Since then, during May, our minds are geared towards showcasing our Africanness.

There is nothing wrong with this tradition. However, we have yet to make an assessment of the economic value this practice brings about.

While we are dressed up in our African regalia, enjoying our cuisine and dancing in celebration of Africa Day, let us not stop pondering and assessing the economic impediments we need to tackle as a continent.

Africa can no longer afford to put economic issues in abeyance. It is during this time Africans have to vigorously assert themselves and reclaim what is rightly theirs.

Our forefathers strived to create a continent that will determine its ­destiny, this referring to a generation of altruistic leadership that confronted colonisers and fought for political emancipation in their countries.

Most Africans who seek refuge in South Africa for one reason or the other refer to almost the same issues: that they have nothing considerable to celebrate, attributing their displeasure to debilitating political, economic and social conditions in their countries.

According to data of the World Bank, a notable number of countries are labelled as the poorest in Africa. Among them are Chad, Uganda, Lesotho and Ethiopia, whose population depends on agriculture and livestock. These economies suffer from political crisis, lack of infrastructure and geographic remoteness. The countries are dependent on international donors’ funding to address agriculture, livestock and food security challenges.

Named as a least developed country by the UN, Somalia is not only the poorest country in Africa, it is the most impoverished nation in the world. Like others, Somalia’s economy relies on livestock, foreign remittances and telecommunications. The ongoing civil war that started in 1986 is one of the main reasons for economic under­development.

Discussions around radical economic transformation is nothing new. It comes from a revolutionary tradition and these concepts have always been embedded in phases of our struggle. It has always been a thorny issue of contestation between nationalists and communists.

Policies and systems have been established, so there is no excuse to further delay radical socio-economic transformation across the continent.

Qondile Khedama is the general manager at the Mangaung Metro Municipality. He writes in his personal capacity.

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