Mawere: History of Africa always up to us
By Mutumwa Mawere
The spirit of selflessness that guided the decolonization period is still needed now more than ever. Ultimately we are our own liberators. We have no choice but to live up to the sacrifices made by the millions whose struggles and courage helped restore the dignity and rights of black people as full human beings in a global family of racial groups.
With a population of 900 million, Africa’s majority population is black and yet its history was shaped by a few, both during the colonial and post-colonial eras. The selfishness of post-colonial Africa’s founding fathers was able to change the course of the history of the continent. In the end, forces beyond our control do not determine Africa’s destiny.
Our history is nothing but the sum total of the choices and actions taken by each of Africa’s 900 million points of light. Each individual man and woman has a purpose in life and it is up to us to define and shape the future. How much do we celebrate life? How well do you know your circles of friends and family?
Bridging the knowledge gap that exists in Africa is the first challenge that we have to confront. We have no choice but to know each other, acknowledge and celebrate the people who make a difference to our lives. Anyone who makes a difference to life has a point that must be celebrated and communicated.
Everything that man has created has no capacity to generate new life but to serve humanity. Institutions like physical products are created to serve mankind. Although ultimately life is an illusion, the journey of life allows one to pretend that life has no end. In fact, we all know we are going to die but each day that comes along we rarely factor death in the decisions and choices that we make.
Corporate citizens are eternal but human beings are mortal. A successful nation state is only as good as citizens want it to be. Human life is perishable and yet human beings have the capacity to create an existence that they want to see. Other animals are incapable of creating institutions and products that provide services and solutions to the challenges of life. What we do know is that all the material things that mankind can amass will remain on earth.
We often equate wealth accumulation with success and yet it is obvious that humanity needs other instruments to measure success. Each and every individual does count. Is it not ironic that we all look up to other human beings forgetting that we are and must be the change we want to see? It is easy to forget that Africa’s progress is a consequence of the actions and choices that its citizens have made and continue to make.
We must start by acknowledging that history is not a story of accidental occurrences but a record of the legacies of human beings. Africa has produced its own thinkers and doers but rarely do we pause to reflect on the unsung heroes that have helped define our history. We tend to focus on the negatives forgetting that the solutions to the challenges that confront us lie in our collective hands.
The initiative to identify Africa’s points of light has to start with us looking at the people we know and only by appreciating the difference they make to our lives will we discover that working together we can address the challenges and take advantage of the enormous opportunities that the continent offers.
We all have work to do and we have a point in our lives. It is up to our circle of friends and family to expose the point and in so doing help inspire the majority who have come to believe that they have no value to the enterprise of life.