Greed Will be the Death of Us

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Picture courtesy of http://www.drawntonature.co.uk submitted by kjhayler

I am lucky enough to have grown up in a place where I was able to be close to nature and bare witness to some of the most remarkable animals on our planet.

I consider myself honoured to have been close to elephants, been charged by a rhino, stood eye to eye with a water buffalo, watched a pride of lions devour its kill. I’ve stroked a cheetah, albeit a baby one. I have listened to the hyena giggling outside our tent in the dead of night.

I’ve taken pictures of the cutest jackal (i never knew they were so small) and been scared witless by a puff adder crawling in our garden. One of the joys of living in Africa is being on the doorstep of some of the most spectacular game and natural beauty on the globe. Anyone that lives there knows it, anyone who visits it, knows it, and anyone that’s seen pictures of it knows it.

But this is the scary thing to me. The idea and thought that one day soon, all I will be able to look at to recall the magnificent creatures that I was once able to stand and watch roaming free, alive and wild is a picture like the one above, scares the hell out of me.

12 animals, slaughtered for nothing more than an ivory tusk by a gang of professional poachers???

When the hell did poaching become a professional occupation? In Africa poaching has always been a serious issue. Mainly due to its vast size and poverty stricken people. Give a man an opportunity to feed his family for a year without hassle and you have a powerful motivator in your hands to inspire anyone to commit the most heinous of crimes against our natural world.

The latest outrage to have made the press in a big way over here is an attack in Tsavo National Park in Kenya. A place where once over 30,000 elephants roamed free and wild, a place where now concern is so critical that a government is considering the formation of a national army to fight against poaching gangs. So is this the launch of an International war on Poaching?

The crazy thing is that we living in the Western world get outraged as we see these things happening around the world, yet 50 years ago, it was us doing similar things in the pursuit of an ivory trinket to adorn our mantle or line our necks. Furs, skins, heads, teeth, body parts. You name it, we’ve wanted it, pursued it, taken as we please. Even I am guilty of this. Leather jackets hanging in my cupboard. An ivory handled letter opener on my desk. Think about it, nearly everyone of us are in some way guilty of it.

Now as another part of our world comes into its time of wealth and prosperity, all those things that we enjoyed at the height of our time at the top, is now being craved by a whole new generation of people willing to pay the price to have the status symbols of success and power. And only now are we outraged by the senseless killing! Cites? An international treaty on the trade of endangered species? Hell it is a treaty without muscle and one that fails to go far enough to secure and ensure the safety of what little natural beauty this world of ours has left.

It is the incessant greed of mankind that will be the ultimate downfall of this planet. We won’t stop wanting what others around us have, until there is nothing left to want, and then even more. If is not the tusk of a Rhino to enhance our sexual performance then it will be the hide of some poor beast to line our boots and make our hand bags look pretty.

Of all the things that I miss from Africa, the outdoor beauty of the natural world is the biggest on my mind. I cherish the moments I’ve spent on safari, camping, exploring the vast open savannah plains. My heart cries out at the senseless killing of such a treasure trove of beauty, yet I know deep down it will not stop. One day, very possibly even in my lifetime, I will not be able to dream of returning to see and explore the beauty I remember from my childhood, and that my friends is criminal. If anyone has the right to expect to be left in peace and allowed to prosper and multiply it is the animals that do nothing other than to enhance and give great wealth to our natural world.

Woe are we, for we all have blood on our hands.

Thought for today – “Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.” – Socrates

Song for today – Caribbean Blue by Enya

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Africa Smiles

Africa smiled a little when you left.
“We know you,” Africa said, “We have seen and watched you. We can learn to live without you, But we know we needn’t yet.”
And Africa smiled a little when you left.
“You cannot leave Africa,” Africa said. … … … …
“It is always with you,there inside your head. Our rivers run in currents, in the swirl of your thumbprints; Our drumbeats, counting out your pulse; Our coastline, The silhouette of your soul.”
So Africa smiled a little when you left.
“We are in you,” Africa said. “You have not left us, yet.”

I was sent this the other day by a friend I used to go to school with. It really touched me because it is sooo true. Africa will always be alive within me, and I’ll always cherish my roots to Africa, and if anything this picture taken from a Dam in Zimbabwe reminds me so much of my precious home. I am a very lucky person to have spent a while on the magical Lake Kyle.

The Need for an African Royalty

It was nice to sit back this evening and enjoy a year in retrospect as much of the television programming looked back over the events of 2011. It was scary to consider that in almost the mere blink of an eye, a whole twelve months had slipped by and we were standing in the shadow of the dawn of a whole new year once more.

What was even scarier was that so much had happened in such a short space of time that it brought home a bit of a reality to me that individually we are but a small almost insignificant part of this world of 7 billion human souls. While we struggle to survive and touch the lives of people around us, in the big scheme of things there is little we can do to stop a financial crisis, war, famine, flood, earth quake, tsunami. The reality is that as humans we are actually quite vulnerable and exposed to Mother Nature.

But our humanity is what makes us who we are. It is the hope and faith that tomorrow will bring something better, and that together we can find a solution that keeps us determined to carry on.

This point was really driven home to me as I watched a program profiling the Royal Family through 2011. I could not help but think that despite some pretty horrible events through their history and the way in which they have watched almost powerless to change what is happening around us, yet theoretically they are the power of the land, it dawned on me that through the Royal Family we draw hope, inspiration and comfort.

I hear those of you that are firmly of the opinion that the Royals are a waist of time clambering to protest my last statement, but humour me for a moment and consider this.

Through turbulent times, personal grief, tragedy and great loss, the Royal Family has dutifully and honourably served our nation and its people. No one would have blamed either of the Princes for curling up and giving up after the very public humiliation of the marriage of their mom and dad, and the press crazy death of Dianna Princess of Wales.

You couldn’t blame the Queen for throwing in the towel in the face of continual harassment and criticism from the anti Royal brigade. You wouldn’t have been surprised if the whole Zara and Mike affair had blown up into an ugly personal battle.

Oh there are a multitude of things that I could point too and say that it’d make the excuse easy for the Royals to just give up, but as that oh so wonderful saying goes, “Keep Calm and Carry On” is the attitude at the very heart of the Royal Family that I admire.

They actively serve their nation in the armed forces. Travel the world promoting the UK and its interests, build bridges with International enemies, bring millions of tourists to the UK every year, and lie at the very heart of Brand Britain.

What other wedding in the history of the Planet has or will attract 3 billion viewers ever again? Who else in the UK does more to promote and showcase Brand Britain better than the Royal Family? How can we do anything but quietly respect and admire the tireless work and service that the Royal Family do for our nation?

It got me thinking. There is a lesson in the success of the Royal Family here in the UK for Africa and its Royal courts.

It is high time that African Royalty got up and started to take a leaf out of the book on the British Royals. Despite the fact that the African people have a built in loathing for the West, it is only logical to duplicate that which works to the good of a nation and its people.

If the African Royal courts took more interest in promoting Africa, and showing it off t the world, wouldn’t the world become more attracted to Africa in turn? I often go on about Brand Africa and the things that we should be seeking to implement to improve the perception of Africa in the eyes of the world.

Personally I tend to think that if the Royal Courts of the various Royal households throughout Africa took time out to develop a structured theme of Royal integration in the national and international affairs of their nation, that it would go a long way in enhancing the image of African affairs.

Why can’t an African Wedding become the next big talked about thing in the International Media spotlight? Why should African Royal courts not have a Parade of the Colour or a Jubilee celebration? Ok yes, perhaps use less Imperialistic names for the events, but if only the African people showed off their beauty, vibrancy through a bit of pomp and ceremony, maybe the world would sit up and pay a little more attention.

We all love a big celebration, none more so than the African people. So let’s take pride in our heritage and utilise the wonderful history that we have in our African Royalty to attract attention to African issues and events. Let us use the Royalty of Africa to drive tourism and trade. Let’s make use of the respect that Royalty are naturally given, and channel that into laying the ground work for meaningful dialogue on trade, the environment, national development plans and so on.

There is nothing wrong with allowing our minds to dream the fairy tale we grow up learning about Princes and Princesses in big palaces and castles. There is nothing wrong with allowing the Royalty we have to endorse these day dreams, and give us something to smile about when we see the parades and get to enjoy the excitement of a Royal Affair. It is part of our humanity in finding hope through the dreams and aspirations we all have growing up. Every girl wants to be a princess and every boy wants to be a brave prince, sweeping to the rescue of the damsel in distress.

These are the things that dreams are made of, and our attention flocks to when a fuss is made over them. It certainly wouldn’t hurt Africa to allow its Royalty to build on its profile and enhance their involvement in National Interests in the years to come. Who knows one day we may even be able to say that 4 billion people watched the marriage of an African King and Queen.

Do They Know It’s Christmas – “Of Course We Do!”

I was reading today and came across a tweet that pointed me to this post on the Hayibo.com website, and it made me chuckle a bit, but the overall emphasis on the idea behind the content of the post, is something close to my heart. It’s good to hear it from the mouth of another African person too, and I really hope that the single does well.

Reposted from Hayibo.com

CAPE TOWN. After 28 years of silently tolerating it, a group of unemployed local musicians have joined forces to release a Christmas single, entitled ‘Yes we do,’ in response to the Bob Geldof inspired Band Aid song, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’.

Speaking at the launch of their song, the musicians praised Geldof’s relentless quest for an answer and said they hoped their collaboration would free the Irishman and his friends to start looking for solutions to new and more important questions.
“Like Do they know about climate change in America? Or did Kim Jong-il have time to write down the abort codes for the nukes before he died? Or perhaps he can revert to the time-honoured classic – ‘Tell me why I don’t like Mondays.”

Speaking at the launch of the single, whose proceeds will go towards teaching discipline, literacy and contraception at British schools, composer and singer Boomtown Gundane said that for years he had been irked by Geldof’s assumption that hungry Africans were also stupid.

“Or was he just saying that Africans were stupid? Of course we knew it was Christmas.”

He said despite the poverty and hunger that had inspired Geldof and his friends to create the song back in 1984 that Africans had developed their own ways to remember Christmas.

“Just because we don’t have Boney M or Christmas advertising in September doesn’t mean we are oblivious to it,” said Gundane who went on to suggest that Africans were a lot like the Irish.

“They made it through disasters like the potato blight and the invention of the Protestant church without forgetting Christmas – why did they think we would forget it?”

When asked why the ensemble of African musicians, who have called themselves Plaster Cast, had taken so long to come up with a response to the Band Aid song Gundane said it had taken a while for them to realise that it wasn’t actually an elaborate joke.
“We kept waiting for them to laugh,” he said, “But the punch-line never arrived.”

Gundane said he hoped that his involvement with the song would turn him into an expert on British politics and economics in the same way ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ had turned Geldof and Bono into the world’s leading experts on Africa.

“If I’m not sharing a platform with the Queen and David Cameron by this time next year; or headlining at Glastonbury, then I will have done something very wrong,” said Gundane.

My very best wishes to Gundane and the musicians. I hope you have a blessed Christmas, and a very happy 2012.

Children of Uganda – African Success Story

I love taking time to write about African success stories. The things that are happening in the continent of my birth, the things that remind me that you can achieve anything you like, even in the face of great adversity.

Today I am going to write about an organisation based in Uganda. Uganda is a relatively small country in the heart of central Africa, one that caught the headlines for the notorious actions of its leader Idi Amin Dada in the 1970’s. Having spent much of the 70’s and 80’s caught in the grip of civil war, Uganda was highlighted in the media for its scant regard for Human Rights. During this time it is believed that upwards of half a million people were killed in state sponsored violence.

In 1986 president Yoweri Museveni took control of the embattled nation and turned the fortunes of the country around, introducing economic and democratic reforms, and taking control of the army and police, his government are credited for substantially improving the prospects of life in Uganda.

However as is the case with African nations, the stability has not won complete peace, and rebel movements still cause significant unrest in the rural north of the country. The cult like Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been described by some as one of the most effective guerrilla armies in Africa and is attributed to the displacement of over 1.5 million people in Uganda and the neighbouring countries.

This constant state of flux between war and peace has meant that the relative stability for Uganda has not always meant that its people can enjoy the benefits of economic growth and prosperity. In 2000 Uganda was recognised by the Paris Club as one of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries and was granted debt relief. In 2008 Uganda recorded a 7% growth figure despite the financial insecurities facing the global markets.

Despite this progress, we are well aware that economic growth does not equate to poverty elimination. According to the World Bank 31% of the 32 million people that live in Uganda live in poverty. However consideration should be given to the fact that since 1992 when the figure was at 56% of the population showing a concerted effort by the government to reach the Millennium Development Goal of eradicate extreme poverty.

In the centre of this success is the fact that Uganda is regarded as something of a prodigy in terms of its response to AIDS in any African country. Since the 1980’s when more than 30% of the population were infected with HIV, Unicef put the current HIV prevalence rate (age 15-19) at 6.5% of the population. The nation still deals with a significantly high number of people living with HIV, but through its openness and a concerted effort at addressing the causes of AIDS among its people, the control of its spread is remarkable success that health authorities in Uganda can be proud of.

The AIDS epidemic may be under management in Uganda, but it has created a new epidemic for Uganda. Uganda has the largest orphan population per capita of any country of the world as a result of the number of deaths from AIDS. In Uganda today, more than 200 people a day die as a result of AIDS, devastating the 25-40 year old segment of the population, leaving behind more than 2.4 million orphans in the country. 63% of this number are living without any natural parents living, and this is where organisations like Children of Uganda step in.

Established from a desire to see the children of Uganda receive an education and become healthy, productive members of the community, Children of Uganda was born in 1995, and since then has achieve remarkable things while working among vulnerable and precious members of Ugandan society.

Twenty two key staff have immunised more than 13.5 million children. Twice yearly the team reach out to more than 4 million children to accelerate Vitamin A Supplementation and catch up immunisations and de-worming programs. 3.7 million girls have benefited from the Girls Education Movement launched in 18 districts across Uganda. Over half a million mothers have been assisted at 91 different sites for Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmissions of AIDS. Over 9000 excluded or disadvantaged children have been reached though 250 non-formal/complementary learning centres. A volunteer program with over 2,300 community health workers reach over 300,000 children in conflict areas with first line treatment.

The list of achievements just goes on and on. From the provision of fresh running water through pump schemes in areas of displacement, to Early Childhood Development sites. From the provision of therapeutic milk and high energy biscuits to severely malnourished children to providing shelter for over 30,000 child night commuters. No matter where it is the Children of Uganda team have made massive strides to touch the lives of children with literally nowhere left to turn.

This remarkable organisation has changed the life of many African children in Uganda. I encourage you to visit their website and see for yourself the impact that they have in reading some of the success stories on the site. One that touches my heart is that of a young boy called Ronald. At 17, he has watched both his mother and father die as a result of AIDS, and now struggles with HIV himself. Having to face the reality that like his mother and father he would himself die, Ronald was taken in at Kiwanga Home in 2002, a Children of Uganda orphanage.

He has a heart warming story of a life transformed. Coming through the tragedy of being alone in the world, the bullying that children with HIV suffer at the hands of other children and the lack of education, Ronald met with his sponsor in 2003, who is himself HIV positive who has survived through the use of ARVS drugs which Ronald now has access to through the kindness of this sponsor.

Through a support network, and a sponsorship program Ronald now has a shot at life. In his story he tell us about the challenges he faces in life, how has come through remarkable difficulties, overcome unreal loss, and still is wonderful young man. A true son of Africa, he shows all of us that when a community are given a chance, a little help and support, and the tools, it can transform itself into a vibrant society.

Uganda is a success story in Africa. It’s not perfect, and faces some tough challenges and much the same difficulties as so many other African nations, but I believe that we can accept that no place on earth is perfect. Crime, corruption, war, famine and strife are part of our way of life, even in the 1st World. It is just warming to see that despite all the odds, there are African countries that are making progress and changing the lives of their people.

European Collapse an African Opportunity!

There have been over 9 Million Refugees and internally displaced people born out of conflict in Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people have been slaughtered from a number of armed conflicts and civil wars. Genocide is a craft that has been used and perfect by multitudes of African combatants that make the killings in European countries seem pale in comparison. Bloodshed and loss of life in Africa since the 1990’s has overshadowed any other theatre of conflict throughout the world, yet it is not something that you hear people talk about. Little is known about the truth behind Africa’s years of strife. Scant consideration is given to the multitudes of lives torn to shreds or impacted by decades of death and destruction.

On a report produced by Virgil Hawkins called Stealth Conflicts, How the World’s Worst Violence is Ignored, he presents the graphic evidence that since 1990 88% of the world wide death toll due to conflict can be found in Africa. Yet on the flip side of that coin, only 2% of the people surveyed in an International survey in 2009 could name any single theatre of conflict in Africa.

It beggars belief that in the 21st Century that a conflict which vast sums of International resources are expended on the Arab/Israeli conflict. A conflict that while has little direct evidence of hard numbers of deaths, has disputed figures around 20,000 casualties since 1948. Compare this to the Congo Conflict were it was estimated casualties at the height of the conflict amounted to 42,000 people a month or the Darfur struggle which has left over 400,000 officially dead, I have to ask where the justice is in this world.

The UNHCR has put official figures on Refugee Migration and Displacement as a result of conflict in Africa at 9 million people. Yet no consideration is given to the impact on the people, nations, lives or economies of the places that take these lost souls in. That is without even stopping to consider the impact on the lives of the refugee’s themselves. I did a quick calculation of eight G8 meetings around the world through Google, looking at the bill that was paid for world leaders to enjoy the luxury lifestyle while people starve as a result of battles of attrition. In excess of US$100 million was spent for G8 leaders to meet in eight locations around the world in the last two years, and what if anything was accomplished as a result.

The world is in worse economic strife than in living memory. International terrorism is still a thorn in the West’s side, and a deal on the environment is more comical than a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Considering the rhetoric to come out of these meetings, we Joe public are sung a merry song of lies, deceit and corruption by a world lost in its own lavish consumerism. As long as it’s ok when I get home, screw the rest of the world. As long as we win the next election, forget the reality of what we can’t fix, and hell if you work for the media, well, frankly let’s just work on making Rupert Murdoch even richer and more powerful at the expense of the truth and reality.

Hawkins undertook a yearlong study in 2000 to see what percentage of the International Media attention fell on stories out of Africa, and not surprisingly, less than 10% of the information available in the mass media in that year were to do with African issues. What is of even more irritation is to find that research carried out by Media Tenor over 2002/3 pointed to media coverage post 9/11 in main stream media channels fell to 0.2% of all international news reports dealing with African Issues.

Africa gets the pity of the world. It is brushed off as a chaotic rabble of warlords and destitute people with little hope of achieving peace or stability. The International corporations see it as a land to rape and pillage, stealing what they can while the masses battle and rage over scraps. Governments see it as a necessary evil, a war torn shred of humanity to call light to when spin is needed to cover up a local transgression.

As African people we do not have the respect of the International Community. We are not regarded as an equal sitting at the table. We have no power over our own destiny. We are bound, yoked and in service to a First World that has nothing but contempt for us. The sad thing that we don’t realise as African people is that it doesn’t matter to the world at large if we are white, black, blue of yellow. They have no care which tribe or ethnic clan we originate from.

I have watched US media channels broadcast World Cup football reports with a map of South America as a back drop to their news room. I have seen British politicians stand by idly as generations are wiped out in a multitude of African conflicts, and raise not a finger to help or challenge the murder and destruction, yet when conflict erupts in Oil Rich Libya fight like hyena’s to get to the aid of the rebels. I have met adults who have no clue that Africa has 52 Independent nations. To them Africa is all South Africa, and we are one, seen with the same eyes, lumped together as one people, branded as incapable and unworthy of equality.

I have seen greed and indifference reduce my amazingly beautiful Africa into a boiling pot of hatred and division. I have watched International Arms merchants become hugely wealthy off the blood of African men, women and children. I have seen nations of people fall to the deception of a better life in the words of war lords.

Africa, my people, we need to wake up. It is high time that African’s become people in our own right. We need to realise that the rule of “divide and conquer” is being used against us even today. The West has no desire to see Africa rise up out of the ashes and prosper. Our leaders have no intention of making a better life for their people. We are bitter and twisted people. We see colour as more important than survival. We define tribe as more critical than progress. We enjoy destitution more than prosperity.

We can sit here and blame every single thing that has worked against us through life as African people, or we can take the future by the horns and shake it from the grasp of our oppressors. Africa wake up. We are not a nation of slaves anymore. We are not a world of single minded selfish cultures. We are individually loyal, educated, resourceful people. We are beautiful. We are richly diverse, uniquely talented, broadly capable, and hugely capable. What we lack is unity. What we need is a common heart, a single desire, and a drive to win.

Democracy is won by blood and persistence. Freedom is taken not given. Respect is won not earned and wealth is owned not distributed. The world have Africa right where they want us. We sit under their thumb, bark when instructed, kill when ordered, hate without reason, distrust without cause and work against each other without consideration. It is too easy for someone like the CIA to manipulate a war on command. It is far too easy for someone like the China National Petroleum Corporation to drain vast resources out of our natural rich economy. It is far to acceptable for our leaders to become fat off the wealth of international aid and hand outs while their people suffer on in poverty and destitution.

The sad fact for Africa to live up to is that we are too ready to squabble among ourselves over insignificant issues. The opportunity of a life time is passing us by as we speak. The financial institutions of the world are on their knees. The global economy is distraught and solutions are scarce. World leaders are at each other’s throats, only too eager to be the one that provides a fix to the problem, waiting in the wings ready to spill blood in a political battle of life or death at the hands of their electorate.

Never before have we heard of mighty economies like Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland fall into bailout territory. This was land that was once hallowed to African nations. Investor confidence is at an all time low. Markets are stagnant with the filth of decadence and over indulgence. This should be Africa’s time to shine. This should be our salvation as we step up to the plate with answers and solutions. We could have so much to offer, if only we would pull our head out of the sand and unite, pull together as African’s and work together to build the power house of tomorrow.

I’ve said it once already, Africa will one day be a world power. It’s just up to us how quickly we get there! Please leave your thoughts and opinions as comments. Your input is needed.

Africa should take a leaf out of the History Book

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.