A Professor recently asked, “Are we the children of a lesser god?”. If the question is an object, I believe it would be one of those shiny smooth pebbles at the beach, a benign question that has created a ripple in the ocean of conundrum Africa finds herself today. Could we attribute the atrocities we’ve faced from evils of the transatlantic slave trade, the 19th and 20th century colonialism to our current oppression and subjugation of our brothers and sisters whom we share a common ancestral struggle with, to the cosmic prejudice of being the children of a lesser god? If so, it would serve as a respite explanation for our consistent inability to get our act together. If not, I haven’t come across a more profound satirical exegesis of Africa’s dilemma.
The past few decades have seen my generation fail woefully to build a sustainable future for your generation and inadvertently jeopardize the future of your children, thereby activating the chains of oblivion of our ancestry. You’re no stranger to the incredulous list of the failures of my generation, the many opportunities we wasted to truly rebuild after the epidemic that was the western visit. However, in the spirit of my father and his fathers before him, our ideology that when a man agrees his Chi would agree with him, and for the sake of that little smile that would soon warm your heart every sunrise, I ask that you muster the courage that we never had, speak to your generation in ways we never could and revolt against the systems of tyranny and oppression in ways we never could imagine, for it is all up to you now, my son. I also advise that you stop praying, for God left Africa a long time ago.
I am sure by now you’ve outlined an idealistic approach to solve these problems. You’re probably right, that is the beauty of ideals, you get to create so much purpose from it; noble or not. Take for example, my pursuit of civil liberty, gender equality and poverty eradication, these are noble causes I took up; a purpose for my life, and they are all based upon an ideal, a just creed for our society. Now, in the end, I would proclaim that they were the right and virtuous things to do. But the problematic thing about ideals is that they all stem from a single belief built upon a one-layer foundation that we believe to have absolute morality. So if tomorrow it turns out that the belief is wrong, that no matter how connected we felt to it or however just it seemed, it was never the answer to our problems, then all the causes we took up, the purpose we carved from it and the time we devoted to it would all be in vain. A testament to humanity’s innate persistence to create fascinating mirages of life. That is the reason I advise you to forget about ideals and adopt a pragmatic response to the problems we face today and might face tomorrow.
When the night is silent, crickets become music stars. Thus, corruption in Africa has become the dancing madman at the market place that we encourage with the clapping of our expressed inactions. However, it is not the corruption of your leaders that you should be most concerned about; if history has taught me anything it’s that the power they so savagely crave would be their own doom. It is what corruption breeds that I advise you to be more concerned about. Corruption is pure evil, it attracts the worst of humanity, infects the best of us and destroys not just our lives but also the future of our children. As part of the new generation, it is your duty to stand firm and never compromise on your beliefs, to serve as the watch dogs of justice and equality; a beacon for the ones in the dark and for those feeling lonely in the noble struggle. Do not be afraid to fight, for fear is just an old friend, he will always be there, in every decision, on every path, and like all meetings with old friends, you simply smile, wave and move on. Perhaps these delirious thoughts will help you achieve your dreams; that is what people might call it, delirious muttering of an old man. Perhaps I am, and if so, I wouldn’t prefer to wallow in anything else.
The great oracle Achebe asked, “must Africa have to come a third time?”, I believe that each coming generation would need to make an entry, to forge its own destiny, like the Mbari art ideology of my fathers. It is sad that you get the mumblings of a delirious old man when your generation poses the question of what has Africa done for you. Nevertheless, you must forgo that entitlement for the sake of your children and continuously ask yourselves what you can do for Africa, you must strive on, to excavate the very foundation of ethnic bigotry and religious servitude laid by your liberating fathers, to whom you owe everything and nothing. So when the time comes, your children will get a dignified response when they pose the question to you, and in that spirit, continue the illustrious journey of developing Africa and guarding the footprints of their father against the gushing winds of corruption and ineptitude. In the end, when we stand in the rays of the setting sun with the thoughts of years lived in mind, and the view of life’s best gifts in the near distant sands, we should be able to look back with the knowledge that we fought for what is right and fair, and we set a virtuous path of noble purpose and prosperity for future generations.
So will Africa make it? However you respond is the truth.
Written by Ugochukwu Udorji