The Baobab Tree - the Legend of New Dawn for South Africa

2016-01-01 13:23

The most part of the holidays I went to fishing in the Limpopo River, sometimes getting inside the River – not swimming but walking in the waters - places where the River is shallow. There is some deeper historic meaning with the Limpopo River.

The Limpopo River gets much of its waters from Lepelle River that rises/originates in the regions of Sekhukhune area – the historical ancient Kingdom of the Pedi people. The mighty Lepelle meander idly for hundreds of kilometres across the province then suddenly crashes in tremendous falls into the Limpopo River. The water kicks so high and comes crushing down with loud thunder that you can hardly hear your own voice. The mist from the falls is so thick – you get soaked to the bone.

I have also been strolling among the baobab trees that have in one way or the other contributed in the declaration of the Limpopo Province as Africa’s Eden, and someway motivated the venerable Buzzfeed to declare South Africa as one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

There is some kind of a vague aspiration and wonder with regard to the baobab trees. These are the trees that the American leader Barack Obama confronted in Kenya when he was just a boy aged 25.

He remarked:

“…these trees disturbed and comforted me …each tree seemed to possess a character, a character neither benevolent nor cruel but simply enduring, with secrets whose depths I would never plumb, a wisdom I would never pierce.”

The Baobab tree bears fruits shaped like an egg. It is much more like a capsule. Within its hard outer dry shell there is a powdery substance that can be used to create a refreshing drink and is even said to be a good treatment for fevers.

The Baobab tree produces white flowers that are sweetly scented smell that transfigures you. These are some of the ways the Baobab tree keeps giving to the world around it. It is the reason why the tree is admired and cherished.

Growing up within the context of the African village I learned a lot of folk tales about the baobab tree: “The big tree”. The folk tales I learnt spoke about African kingdoms, great dignified Kings like the old Dalindyebo of the Abathembu people, Sekhukhune and Tshwane of the Pedi/Tswana people, and a number of notable mighty warriors such as Shaka, Mzilikazi and Musi Mhlanga – from which the greater Kwa-Mhlanga area within Moloto outside Pretoria is named after.

These kings ruled through a well-ordered hierarchy of counsellors and district chiefs. And peace and stability was maintained for a very long time. They knew that culture not only gives identity but also strengthens a people as they grapple with their everyday and existential challenges.

It is that grand African atmosphere that gave birth to Africa’s great modern leaders, highly admired by the world. These include men like Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Nelson Mandela and so on. Most of these world leaders of great stature comes directly from the African royal houses. Out of the great African wisdom teachings they affected and sought to transform the world, to make it a better place. Their ideal was to transcend their base avarice passions of personal enrichment. They embraced an ideal much bigger than themselves, families and close circle of friends.

Within Africa they sought to re-establish the African values of social interest and social harmony. But unfortunately it was never to be. Soon what we got in Africa was a degeneration, a crop of people emerged that goes by the name of African leaders.  They failed on the fundamentals of the rich heritage of African leadership of unifying the African people much the same way Moshoeshoe and Sekhukhune and Shaka unified different varied ethnic groupings on a vast scale into cohesive socieities that still exists even today. These was done against tough odds of foreign intrusion through colonialism and apartheid. The current African leaders are a degeneration -  much consumed by self love and self interest - scorning their people and condemning them to the chains of eternal poverty and suffering.

To this end, Africa now seriously require a much needed reset. A a new brand of leadership – youthful vibrant leaders that will take Africa to a new level, new horizons of prosperity and wealth within the contexts of modernity.

Equipped with the hard lessons from the past year, the beginning of a New Year often provides new prospects, both for the individual and the nation to construct a new golden path.

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