Saturday, August 27, 2011

Musings (20 Feb 2008)

It's been quite a while since I blogged in my sense of the word- bugging out and just expressing my thoughts, fears, aspirations, wackiness, hopes...whatever and putting it in writing. I guess it's a more modern way of interactive journaling, which is good coz I was never good at keeping journals. Maybe that's why there is so much mayhem in my head...if I expressed those thoughs externally, I might have peace of mind and piece of mind coz mine is all cluttered, buttered, placated, dissolved- see where I am going with this?

I guess the outstanding theme of my life lately is darkness and confusion... As a passionate Pan- African and one that loves her patria deeply, the darkness that has rolled itself comfortably into my world is quite alarming- it has really shaken me and I am now questioning the very core of my faith in this lovely continent of ours. Being in Kenya over Christmas 2007 and New Year 2008 opened my eyes to what African can be with a lot of hard work and greasing of palms. I literally fell in love with that country and its people...literally. For the first time in a long time I felt like I was in Africa in all her beauty and splendor; a land alive with opportunities. From the hustle and bustle of the markets to the serene beauty of the Rift Valley...I was enthralled. As quickly as I was lifted to the clouds the images of ordinary citizens running for their lives as they ducked live bullets jolted me back to reality and reminded me TIA (this is Africa) in a very harsh way.

I am very critical of those who choose to blast African countries for their lack of resources or "first world convenience" because really, if you want those luxuries, you don't belong here! In my humble opinion, Africa is for those who are committed to working hard in order to realise something so magnificent and so REAL that one cannot help it but be excited. Yes, it's been over forty years since Independence for many African states. Yes, many African nations are plagued by kleptocracy and disregard for the Rule of Law. Yes, many African countries are the poster children of corruption. Yes, our land is characterised by dependency, poverty, disease, and internal strife. All of this has been stated, now what? I might be an Idealist and very Utopian in my outlook on life but it has rained and poured in Africa, there are still snow storms ahead but when that sunshine comes blazing through, the rainbow is going to be this ethereal myriad of colour and Afro-pessimists can have their field days- that day will come, albeit (as it always is on this continent) running way behind schedule.

So I'm excited about the future and look forward to Africa being portrayed as beautiful and lush as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and not as pitiful as the desert before manna floated down from the sky. I sometimes think that there is only one picture in the big news networks' archives of Africa and that's of a child with an extended belly, calmly swatting flies from his sticky face and looking into the camera with big, soulful eyes and they just flash it on the scene every time Africa is mentioned. That picture makes me bawl everytime I see it because to the rest of the world that is what Africa is: helpless and hopeless. I want that to change because it's an image that is not wholly representative of who I am and what my experience has been on this continent. I can proudly say that I have experienced Africa the "African way" and I've also eked out a "first world" experience on this very soil- I know both sides of the coin and there is beauty in being Afropolitan. That's what I want my compatriots from Cape to Cairo and Cabo Verde and to Mauritius to experience- first class Afrolivity.

BUT the recent events in Kenya and load-shedding in South Africa has clouded my dream a little. Here are two beacons of African success that are slowly losing face in the international community, among fellow members of the African community and most importantly to their own people. Both the Kibaki and Mbeki administrations catapulted their respective countries into the limelight of African economic and governance success. Investor confindence hit all time highs and the middle class expanded creating a feeling of euphoria for the tangibility of success. Not to say that either country is doomed at this stage because I believe in the tenacity of both but it will take great effort to unmangled what has been tangled and to build public trust in the regimes.

It's time for Africans to be innovative and to start being part of the solution. The heyday of ethic conflict is long gone, there is no more time for finger-pointing, blame shifting and throwing hands in the air in exasperation- it is really crunch time and those that choose to remain Kenyan and South African will stay on and fight for normality (as warped as it is) to be restored.

The facts are all there- both countries are making globabl headliness- in Kenya almost every prominent leader of the free world has come, gone, and put in their two cents worth but ultimately it is up to Kenyans to forgive and forget and to move on. 2010 is sitting on our couch and beyond that, the responsibility that South Africa has to millions of its people that have never switched on an electical lights is still hanging over our heads. Let's not forget that charity begins at home because if you ignore those voices that are in the majority...things just might fall apart.

I think my mind has worked overtime because I'm struggling to string sentences together...but this is just what it is. We need to claim our own lives back- we can't wait for the George Bushes and Bonos of this world to tell us how to clean our own pots. We must listen to all the advice and the regroup and find solutions that will work for us- sanctions or no sanctions.

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