I strongly believe in Africa as a land of plenty resources and potential. In fact, it always saddens me to see how under-developed most African societies are, despite the vast resources in material and human wealth. Is it not illogical for a people blessed with fertile soils and a good climate to cry starvation? One wonders, what could be the source of this mental handicap?
I could be wrong but I believe that part of our problem lies in an old mentality that we have religiously passed on for generations. It is saddening that some Africans behave like our lives began and ended with colonialism. We cannot trace our steps outside that. Be it social, political or economic policies, we are stuck with policies and mentalities crafted for us by masters from far off lands who made us believe that they knew more about us than ourselves. As a law student, I was always shocked by how so gracefully we have taken on the Common Law. And I am not saying there is something wrong with it, but it is not our law! I consider it as a defeat of justice for strange land policies to be policed on our people just because they are common law! Didn’t our people have their own laws? Sure we did.
The current discussion on the African continent about the International Criminal Court should be a turning point for us. Now our leaders find themselves entrapped in a system they have benefitted from for ages and they cry foul. But has it been a secret that some of these laws are made to stifle certain sections of the globe? Do we really believe that the UN, with all due respect to the founding true values, still performs its duties discretely? Other than the ICC fiasco, there are lots of issues that keep our legs bound together and unless we realize this, we shall remain tangled in a heap of dirt.
I have had the opportunity to witness a new movement of positive thinkers and doers rising all over the African continent. This movement of young social entrepreneurs, politicians, economists, social anthropologists and artists are working to raise their continent from a history ofÂ “victimisation” to a status we can be proud of. We can only achieve this if Africa’s young people realize that the future truly lies in them. We have grown up in an information age that allows us access to vast resources from which we can form informed opinions of our history and future. We are both lucky and unlucky to see the mistakes committed by our elders, especially the politicians, and therefore, can challenge this by daring to be different.
The truth is, the blame game cannot get us anywhere. We must harness the courage to have new beginnings. The African skyline is still beautiful and vast resources still exist. We can grip these and use them to build a continent and a culture of resilience. We must cease to look at ourselves as enemies or at “them” as enemies but rather as worthy compatriots in forging a future, we can all benefit from. We must drop the old notions of looking at ourselves as the disadvantaged people always at the doors of others for aid and learn to grasp a bargaining power. Surely, we possess enough that enable us to offer something to others as well. And we must fight the wolves in sheep’s skin who live amongst us and want to tear us apart. We must make our own choices and be able to live with them.
I believe it is just about time we took stage. I have seen thousands of youth led initiatives sprout across Africa and I believe that in these lies the future of our continent. Let us support them.
Ssekandi Ronald Ssegujja
From Kampala, Uganda