I find this African saying interesting; “A man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body.” That is why the renowned African writer, Chinua Achebe once wrote; “The rain that beat Africa began four to five hundred years ago, from the ‘discovery’ of Africa by Europe, through the transatlantic slave trade, to the Berlin Conference of 1885…”(THERE WAS A COUNTRY). Since we know where the rain began ‘beating’ us, it is possible to know where our body will get dried, if ever.
The question is, are we ready?
There are several factors that craft an enviable society. Such factors set a society on the pathway of being called an advanced society, thereby becoming a pace setter to other societies. Some of these factors include; Political lifestyle, Intellectual achievements, Religious beliefs, Social/Economic lifestyle, Security, etc.
The above flows from the fact that a society is seen as the relationship of humanity; the whole complex of man’s relationship with his fellow man. Society expresses factors of social relationship, such as education, religion, security, industrial activities, and so forth.
The factors named above can only return Africa to an enviable society, if they positively attract the attention of other societies of the world.
A look at Africa’s current history, evidently shows that Africa is not where it was in ages past. Africa’s Egyptian civilisation dates back to 3100BC, or the rich ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, Greek, and Roman. Or better still, the present civilisation of the western society are cases in point.
Thus, for sustainable development in Africa, Africa’s changes of growth and development need to positively enhance the standard of the living conditions of its inhabitants, which must attract the interest of other societies of the world. More so, because growth and development are made applicable only in human society.
Hence, one of the factors would be a well-defined stable political system, because a misrepresented political system that hinges on hegemony, dictatorship, autocracy, religious bigotry, ethnicism, tribalism, etc, in the impoverishment of the people, cannot attain an enviable height.
And one of the changes in output that can make Africa stand out in the global space, is intellectual output. This can bring to rest “the garbage in and garbage out” system of education in many countries of Africa; that is, if she invents her own unique educational system, without the copy and paste method from the West. The reason is simply because education is according to the renowned English writer, William Shakespeare, “The leading out of the dark hell,” which is indispensable to any society which has as its focus the collective good of all.
Today, Africans boast and talk about her ancient Egyptian civilisation. But they forget that ancient Egyptian civilisation was largely based on the numerous intellectual achievements of the time in the areas of philosophy, mathematics, science, literature and even religion.
Without doubt, Africa is a fertile continent for religious practices, but she must put into practice the good theoretical aspects of her religious beliefs. When that happens, Africa’s religiosity will become a symbol worth emulating. Consequently, her unique utilisation of her various religious beliefs could equally make her to stand out as a society.
No doubt, Africa prided herself in the ancient past in the areas of science/medicine, but today, many years down the line, is there still any health facility in Africa that can stand head high with other good health facilities in the world? If yes, why do many African leaders often run to Asia, Europe, and America for medical care?
Sometime in August 2020, a video went viral of a Nigerian medical professor and colorectal surgeon, Professor Ogunbiyi, who works at the Royal Free Hospital, London, who was infected with the deadly global corona virus. In that video, the best doctors battled to save his life. Because, according to them, he is irreplaceable.
There are so many of our African health professionals/scientists out there in the advanced nations of the world, holding key positions in their respective endeavours. Many of them migrated to the West, not because they have no love for their people, but because of the failure of governments to create enabling environments and better remunerations for effective operations.
Africa is a continent endowed with numerous natural and human resources; premium among which are gold, diamond, and crude oil, scattered across countries of Africa. These resources are serious potentials or even actual sources of development that should make Africa the best society in the world. Sadly, the opposite is the case.
It may interest us to know that Dubai where most African leaders go to lavish our collective resources, was no doubt a desert land. But with the discovery of crude oil, and visionary leadership, Dubai is today one of the most civilised city on earth. When many hear of Dubai today, they think it’s a country in itself, not knowing it’s only a city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Sadly, in Africa, it is one agitation or the other, leading to political and social unrest; from Nigeria, to Cameroon, Mali, Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Libya, etc. Tragically, so many lives have been lost.
The African continent is today the most porous continent in the world. Consequently, we have, and are still experiencing varying levels of insecurity which have found expression in the Boko Haram Sect, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State (IS) terror groups, militancy, kidnappings, human trafficking, banditry, rustling, robberies, etc.
The truth is that, when structures are well placed, and institutions strengthened, development takes place. But does that translate to a better society? If governance does not bring employment in all spheres of life, if it does not improve education, health, security, and the wellbeing of the people, if it does not improve the standard of living, and attract foreign investors through a well-defined economic policy, it has failed.
© Israel GodsPower ANAWEOKHAI, 2021.
Israel GodsPower ANAWEOKHAI is a Catholic Priest of the Missionary Society of St Paul. He is currently on mission in the Archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon.