Africa, the time for your rebirth has come

2017-03-01 22:06

Africa has reshackled itself. The time has come for it to unshackle itself.

I found it challenging to reflect on and to respond to an editorial "Leadership in Africa is the key" (Mercury 1-3-2017). It reduces a very complex crisis that the continent is going through as a stereotypical basket case. For sure there is much food for those concerned , but I don't wallow in incriminations as many reading that editorial are accustomed to.

To the historically compromised as well as to critics of the ANC and Africans in positions of leadership, it sadly painted such a negative picture with a narrative that entrenches perceptions of Africa as a place without history, perpetually primitive, inferior and impoverished. And corrupt.

It feeds into the narrative spawned in literature and history as recorded by Europeans such as Joseph Conrad's ' Into the heart of darkness' which portrays erstwhile noble descendants of Africa as incompetent and inconsequential actors in world history.

I like what Thabo Mbeki said on 16 June 1999 that so long as corruption continues to rob the poor and the marginalized of what is theirs and it corrodes our nascent value system that demarcates the past from where we are right now we will never be a nation or a continent in peace.

I believe that the editor should be congratulated for the brutal honesty captured in the editorial and the vision it challenges us to embrace.

Thirty, if not more, years ago, many readers would have got up from their beds just after dawn to read the Mercury hardly believing that the people of Africa can find it in themselves to end the brutality of apartheid. That it has happened fortifies the belief that we can, to quote Joseph Conrad, ' exterminate the brutes' who hold us to ransom and rid such stereotypes that shows Africa as a continent , in Thabo Mbeki's words ' torn by interminable conflicts , unable to solve its problems, condemned to the netherworld."

So what, to add to a carefully woven narrative, is the way forward? It must be one informed by a common, shared African tradition , that is captured in our Constitution, namely that 'we the people' must govern.

As Thabo Mbeki exhorts: "Africa, the time has come."

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