Imagine someone being gang-raped. They’ve been screaming and crying for help but no one hears. Moments before they pass out, they see their own siblings come into the room. They think “Thank God, finally help has come” but even before they finish their thought, their folk give the rapists high fives, get them out of the room and take over raping the victim even more fiercely than those who started. This is Africa now. The people with the most power to protect, care and develop this continent are turning out to be worse than the colonialists they took over from.
Being an optimistic, progressive African feels a lot like climbing a very steep mountain with bare hands and no shoes. No. Being an optimistic, progressive African feels a lot like climbing a very very steep mountain with bare hands and no shoes whilst the leaders perch at the top holding gallons of oil, pouring it on every side so you slip and fall; and they do it with so much passion, one would think it is their god-given assignment to hammer down every nail that sticks the head out. It seems to be in the interest of African leaders, that Africans don’t develop.
Fortunately, the Africa story is not one that is going to have a sad ending. This continent has survived many things, and with the help of God, it will survive these looters, whoremongers, gluttons, cannibals, thieves and robbers too. Africa’s story will end well, even though the current chapter is overly dark. I see the new African in the Fred Swanikers, Elikem Kuenyehias and Komla Dumors. I see the new African in the Bright Simmonses, Chimamanda Adichies, Ory Okollohs, Mohammed Jahs and all those young students at African Leadership Academy and Ashesi University. I see the new African on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, being the change they want to see; even though nothing seems to change like they want to see.
Recently, I had the privilege of having lunch with Ama Ata Aidoo, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Nii Ayi Parkes, Martin Egblewogbe, Nana Fredua Agyeman, Nana Nyarko Boateng, Nana Ayibea Clarke and Kinna Likimani. It was humbling and inspiring. That lunch, gave me enough reason to not give up, to keep hoping, to keep pressing, to keep praying, to keep dreaming until we become the Africa we ought to be.
I can still hear Ngugi’s fatherly voice as he told us, the young ones on the table: “When you close your eyes, how do you see Africa in the future? That is you. You will be responsible for that Africa”.
“You have to organise yourselves”. “ One thing I am sure of, everything in life begins small. So have big dreams but start small”.
There is so much I heard that day and hopefully I can share some more with you later but today, I want us to just remember Ngugi’s words: “Everything in life begins small”.
The future Africa I see has already began. Today, it is like a tiny seed that has dropped between the rocks. Most people will ignore it but just give it time. Gradually, it will split the huge, stubborn rocks apart, cracking through, breaking free, sprouting and rising, until finally a might tree stands, where a seed had once fallen. A mighty tree that will give shade to all of Africa's children.
Africa’s story isn’t over yet. Africa’s story will end happily.