It is not hard to see that every society through time have struggled through cultural, social and economic development. It is not hard to see how the weight of power has swung from one side of the globe to another as this cultural integrity shifts. Call it if you will the industrial revolution.
The lesson for Africa here is to stop and examine history and try to learn from it. It is more proactive to be aware of the mistakes of others in the past, and work to avoid the pit falls of the error of their ways and achieve the end result more efficiently and effectively.
Africa has a common flaw when it comes to trying to engage unity and cooperation. We far too easily fall into the trap of blaming the cultural divide, the issues of tribalism, the diversity of our religious beliefs and the battles we fight for Ethnic Dominance. As African’s we look at the world around us and we miss the opportunities that face us in a tangle of emotion, stubborn ignorance and a shameful lack of willingness to learn.
We are not the only people to have walked this path of discovery. Nay is it not fact that several hundred years ago Britain as we know it today was a land of war mongering savages? Did not the tribes of Celtic worriers wage war against Anglo Saxon settlers and Scottish Celts? Were the Irish not regarded as heathen by the Lords and Ladies of the land? Was crime and corruption not rampant while people lived in poverty and depravation similar to what we see in Africa?
Come to think of it, let’s be honest. Every civilised society that claim to be world leaders have gone through some form of internal strife as they forged out their identity and worked their way through their very own industrial revolution. China is a fine example. It was at war with itself for much of the last century, yet today it is very possibly the next world power to step up to its role as a global leader. India has battled colonialism, ethnic diversity on a grand scale, and religious and tribal indifference that is still a volatile pot of intricate acceptances and allowances of its people, constantly simmering quietly away. Even the mighty USA went through its war of attrition.
The end result in every case has been the realisation by the communities within these nations that war is futile. It is important to maintain your identity. It is comforting to be able to take pride in our nationality, and have a sense of belonging, but in the bigger scheme of things we are all human.
The colour of your skin does not matter, the tribal dialect you speak is irrelevant to your worth. The city or town or rural location of your birth is insignificant when you really think about it. The tribe you relate to or identify with, or the church that you attend. These are all things that make us individual, give us character, bring us identity and give us wealth as members of our society. They are the foundations of our makeup. As a community we gain social capital from a richly diverse and multi-national/multi-cultural society.
Mormons have built mighty organisations throughout history. Christians have made scientific breakthroughs. Islamic Muslims have made fascinating discoveries in engineering, while Hindu’s have achieved much in Medical Sciences. African’s have pioneered Infectious Diseases’ controls and Europeans have learnt much about social enterprise. Chinese people gave us paper, and Egyptians gave us writing. The Americans took us to the moon, and the Russians built the largest flying machine to ever take off.
We could carry on listing the achievements of man, but to do so would mean we would miss the point. Regardless of who we are, where we come from, what race, creed or nationality we claim, we are all members of our society, our community, our national identity. As an African nation we should seriously learn to look beyond the differences of individuality, learn to see the bigger picture, and overcome our resistance to diversity.
We need to learn to stop looking to the past for excuses, and learn to look back there for reminders of what not to do today. Let us not make the mistakes of others. Let us not seek to find blame, but learn to find solutions. We can become great, achieve much and get there faster than anyone else before us. When you go out tomorrow, stop to think, what have I done today to make my society a better place. The next time you meet that person that speaks slightly differently to you, or looks a bit lighter or darker than you, search to find their inner worth.
When we learn to tap the inner gold that lies within our people regardless of who they are, we will learn to become a formidable force on the global stage. Africa will one day be a world leader. It’s just up to us how quickly we get there.