It is slightly ironic that many leaders who are major Pan-Africanism advocates wind up dead. It seems it is a topic one must speak about in hushed tones, like slaves planning their escape from their masters that won’t let them go long after slavery has been abolished.
The theories of development we are forced to implement were not written by Africans. They are a prescription of non-Africans who have no understanding of the African disease but think they do because it matches symptoms they have seen before. Only Africans know what Africans need. If we all took the time to put our heads together, we would be well on our way to being developed. Then again there is another problem, the definition of development. As Africans we have more often than not confused shiny new technology and modern infrastructure developement as development. Can you say you’re developing when there is an improvement in your infrastructure but not in the mind-set of the majority?
The scramble for Africa 2.0 is on, with large portions of our land and economic sectors being acquired by countries beyond the borders of the continent. The have scrambled our attention and focus from what they are actually doing by dangling shiny objects in front of us to distract us till they are done. If we are daring enough to open our eyes some of the distractions are not always in the form of shiny objects, sometimes its civil war. The conspiracy theorist in me says even diseases like Ebola which come and cause commotion and leave like they never were. Aid and research programmes. The scramble for Africa, though we may have not been there to witness it before, is a case of Déjà vu.
Once one of the greatest civilisations but sadly now one of the least developed at present. The Dark Continent as it is called ‘Hope you’ve got your torches on as you enter the Dark Continent, the riches land but the home of the poorest’. (That line slipped in from the song I was listening to, Track 10 on Mag44’s Brave Only Album). What is most disturbing thing about this is we have everything required to be as developed if not more developed than the ‘west’, everything but the mind-set. Our finest manpower and resources built and flourished the west. Many of Africa’s greatest innovators most likely died on slave ships. The ones that survived were forced to use their physical strength and subdue their mental prowess. Those that were left behind were colonised. Very few of them contributed to the enlightenment of the Dark Continent.
‘Tiyende Pamodzi Namutima umo’ a phrase popularised by Kenneth Kaunda, celebrated Father of the Zambian nation. Literally translated let us walk together with one heart/ a unified hear. A song we all sing in one voice till the call to action makes us scamper off into different directions. How many of us are actually willing to take it upon ourselves to ensure our continent and individual nations will flourish and progress? How many of us will stop being put off our good efforts by people that have aims contrary to yours? How many of us are tired of the economic slavery our African brothers and sisters are under?
The African culture is a culture of sharing. Most will attest to having this instilled in them, or at least seeing it around as they grew up. Zambian culture for example entails that if you are going to eat in the presence of others you have to share your meal. Or at least offer and hope the offer is not accepted. If one is hell bent on not sharing, the food must not be consumed in the presence of the other party/parties. This part of our local etiquette is fast dying. It has been replaced with selfishness and the realisation that one does not always need to share because everyone must work hard for his own.
A lack of a sharing attitude has infiltrated many parts of our societies. It is seen in schools when pupils and students don’t want to share knowledge with others in order to ensure higher grades than others. Or for them to shine beyond others. It is seen with our political class, who lace their pockets with public funds to ensure they and their families have the best the world has to offer. They ensure they can afford to give their children a world class education. Improving our local education system to a world class standard. It is evident in our churches where you see church leaders want to live a better lifestyle and use the church’s resources for that purpose rather than share with the poorest member of the church. You see it on our road’s when traffic builds up because someone is trying to turn and rather than give them way, some motorists are much too eager to get to their destinations.
When did we lose our sharing attitude? Was it when our sense of community begun to die? When we did we first decide we would not share our lives together? Living in a close knit community has many disadvantages. One of the ones that irk me the most is the gossip. I cannot stand how people always want to be in sections of people’s lives they should not be in. However, even I would not choose an isolated life over community. A close knit community has more advantages. People share. The adage goes ‘a problem shared is half solved’. Of we decided to share the poverty around us it would be half solved. Do we need the international community to come and help us share our poverty? We have enough resources among us to solve our problems if we all decided to stop hoarding.
We are fast approaching our elections. How much of their wealth and resources have our prospective leaders shared with the community? More importantly, how much would they share if they were not running for office? Has anyone of us taken time to analyse Chawama constituency, how much did President Lungu share with them as an MP, as president. How much has he shared with his family? Look at Mr Hichilema, it no secret to the public how wealthy he is, what charities does he support. More importantly what charities did he support before became president of UPND. How much does he help his family? A leader that does not have an attitude of sharing will not benefit the nation.
The biblical principle of ‘Love thy neighbour as you love yourself’ also implies sharing. If both you and your neighbour were hungry and there was only one lump of Nshima between you both, would you eat it or share the little you have with them? Do we share our advantages with the disadvantaged or do we let it be a pedestal for us to tower over them? When you come across someone with a weakness, do you help them part from the weakness or do you put them down for it? How much you’re willing to share, shows how much you care. How much do you care for your country? For your continent? How much are you willing to share with them? Are you willing to share he burdens? The burdens of the illiterate that can’t read this or anything else that will open their mind? Those that cast their vote based on the picture printed on the chitenge they received? Or the buyer of the alcohol that has diminished their teaspoonful of reasoning?
Or will you not be bothered at all because you do not share their fate, the results of their poor judgment, because no matter how bad the economy or state of affairs get, your social class is protected one way or another? If you just answered yes to that, there is always a consequence to not sharing with those less fortunate over a period of time. It is called a revolution. As sure as the sun rises after hours of absence, so does the lower class rise against those above them. Sharing is caring. Let us care for our land. Please care.