The word, ‘Africa’, to the ears of many across the globe today is synonymous with turmoil… I couldn’t blame them at all. Our continent is all too familiar with this cold and weary label. At every campus direction of the map lays war, poverty, epidemic disease, and or dictatorship. ‘The dark continent’ is doomed to despair and sad insignificance. At least, the almighty media giants choose to see and say so.
Fine, let us—the offspring of Africa—pretend we agree entirely. What’s in it for us besides, indeed, nothing? Sure, acceptance is the first step to recovery, and Africa still has some of this to do in order to rise to greater heights. But before bowing in self-pity, I wonder, have we questioned the roots of this tumultuous cancer that so seems to plague our land? If we have, then you and I may agree that the chaos that characterizes Africa is not a choice she made, but rather a choice she subscribes to. This chaos was in fact born when some self-appointed world power nations decided they would scramble for, partition, own and lord over the apparently promising continent of Africa. It is no news that all this they did out of and for self-interested political, economic, and naturally, psychological advantage. The not so sugar-coated term, ‘colonization’, oh well.
The ‘turmoil’ the world is witnessing of the African continent today is the aftermath of a historic failure of judgement, on two ends: that of former colonial powers and that of pre and post-colonial Africa itself. Now, one could make a lengthy elaboration justifying the former but what matters the most, what ought to matter to us now more than ever, is the latter. While my goal is not to propose a definite answer, it is to provoke a conversation—about questions. We ought to ask questions. What went wrong; where? When? How? For whom did it go wrong? Why? Once we focus on trying to ask the right questions, then we have consciously set ourselves on the path to finding better answers. By wrestling with the difficult questions of moral, political, social, economic and even philosophical interest, we give ourselves the chance to journey and eventually arrive at solid answers. It is our responsibility to create the narrative we want to live by and pass on down. And right here, I see it. The enormous opportunity and true promise there is for the African continent. I hope we can pledge allegiance to this quest for answers, starting the search from within our own context. I hope we can resist the very real temptation to despair. And while embracing the uniqueness and beauty of our heritage, I hope we can focus on the equally real victory there is to be won.
In the meantime, I dare to believe it— The African Child WILL Dance!
~Natasha D. Muhoza