It’s a shame, but a sad reality that one of the biggest shortcomings of the African nation is the petty jealousy’s that exist among its people. I read a comment on Facebook over the weekend written by an African guy I know who lives in the US but is from Ghana originally. In it he pointed out that it is a common thing for African people to look at each other with a lack of trust, and when it comes to being happy, they are happiest when things happen for themselves. They enjoy to watch others fail, and look down on each other for their successes. It is strange that a whole community can be so vicious with each other. Quick to criticise and point a finger, thoughtless of hurt and effect. If one succeeds then the others around are quickly plotting to bring that success crashing down in ruins.
I cannot help but wonder if this could be part of the cause of Africa’s lack of stability. How can anyone thrive or be successful when the culture in which you survive is dead set against you being successful? I know that jealousy exists in all walks of life, but I have never come across such radical and open displays of people who have contempt for each other and are so openly critical of the rewards of hard work and determination by members of their own community. Recently I have witnessed some really amazing displays of petty jealousy and the ways in which it can bring reputations and all the good work of one individual into disrepute. And for what? All because the one doesn’t have what the other has taken the time and effort to earn. Not everyone is like that admittedly, but it does appear to be a very common trend amoung African people, and if you take the time to sit and talk one to one with African people who are able to be honest and frank about their own short commings, they admit themselves that this inward facing jealousy is a major problem within African culture.
African politics is a mine field of uncertainties, and there is certainly no clear cut solution to many of Africa’s problems, but it would seem that when you talk to African’s one on one they are all well aware that their own worst enemy comes from within. Yet while they know that this jealousy and discontent exists none of them can explain its source, why it is there, nor how it has become such an issue. The idea of public unity and speaking with one voice becomes an impossibility when such powerful undercurrents of suspicion and discontent are evident within the community. It is impossible to mount any form of successful enterprise if it would seem that along the way anyone that you become close to would be prepared to go to almost any lengths to derail your progress.
It becomes clear why African leaders surround themselves with family as their closest allies. Nepotism is bread in Africa in alarming ways. It is not uncommon to find that senior politicians and people in influential positions are all members of the ruling Presidents or Prime Ministers family. Party and cabinet ministers are drawn from the ranks of the faithful as it is safer to rely on them for support and commitment than to leave it open to a democratic selection of members of parliament and land up having a group of people who are clearly going to be gunning for you for one reason or another.
It mystifies me how a whole society can live in such a way. I would hate to live under a cloud of suspicion. It would totally unsettle me to have to constantly watch over my shoulder and live out the saying keep your friends close and your enemies closer still. I have always been the kind of person to speak my mind, say what I think, be honest and deal with the consequences as they come. To live in jealousy over the success of anyone around me seems so trivial and childish that it beggars belief that this is a way of life for some people. And I have actually witnessed it happening which is the most alarming part of it. It’s not just words from one or two African people that I know.
Any person living in Africa will tell you that so many of the tribes themselves will never be able to see eye to eye due to cultural differences that they have been brought up with. Now cultural differences are one thing, and even they are very difficult to understand, but they are present in almost every country around the world. Culture is a very weird concept in that we are all human. We all breath the same air, eat much the same food, think very often the same thoughts, go to work, survive and live in much the same way as one would on the other side of the cultural fence. Yet right here in the UK, the Welsh cannot stand the English, the Scottish are a breed unto themselves, and the Irish just learn to hate. This is a tiny little island that would fit into most countries around the world many times over. Yet even here cultrualism plays its part in daily living.
But having said that, it is a very different world to that of the African people. Yes jealousy plays its part here too, but generally speaking the British people don’t mind if someone is successful through hard work and determination. They are happy to see that someone has made it, as they know that it opens the door to opportunities, builds a better Britain, drives others to emulate their example, and in all plays a major part in the success of the country as a whole.
In some ways people are encouraged to be successful here. There is a culture of recognising those that make it and a way of encouraging those that haven’t yet reached their potential to assist them along the way. This is a totally foreign concept for the bulk of the African community it would seem. The idea of assisting someone of their community to become successful goes against everything they think about. Why should I help him or her to make it when I myself cannot make it? How frustrating that must feel to someone that has the potential but can’t make use of it for lack of support from within.
I guess thinking about it though, for those that do make it, it must make that reward all the more sweeter. To climb the ladder to success without the help of peers must be a truly rewarding feeling. But it is clearly obvious that success within the African community will only come in small pockets where individuals are supported by a close knit family of relatives and friends who help you to achieve. For an individual to come along and challenge that success and seek to create their own wealth and prosperity, they would quickly find themselves shot down in flames.
So how then could a continent of uncontented people really imagine that they could enjoy the satisfaction of unity and true democracy? Are we fooling ourselves that there is a chance for Africa? Can we ever expect to see African’s working together side by side without concern over who is reaping the rewards, or who is in a position of power, or who is the boss and who is the worker? I’ve asked several African people who think that it is a mountain too high. It would seem that for the African people to exist in harmony and prosperity is a step too far. Only a few of them will really make it, and when they do make it, they will only take care of those around them, closely guarding their success and prosperity. There is nobody who would encourage their community to better themselves incase members of the community become better than they who facilitated their success in the first place. No one actively empowers those around them to have the ability they have just incase someone knocks on the door of success and out does them. And so Africa it would seem will continue to shoot itself in the foot through the insecurity of its people. How do you show a nation, no a continent that it is in its own interests to stop such hurtful and damaging behaviour and work together to overcome its issues?