This is a response to Ibe’s “Is Africa and Africans cursed?” It was too long to be a comment, so I put it up as a post.
by Ntang Eland
This hits home in many ways,,gloomy sometimes but truthful and real. I think Africa’s hope lies in the collective rethinking of its best and brightest. When those of us in diaspora start applying ourselves to making sure our homes are once again more as comfortable for us as our “guest homes” then this hope will further brighten. I personally have been in the US a little over ten years and I am now working to make a transition to Africa as seamless as possible. I have to confess that its not purely for Africa’s sake that I’m doing this but also for my own,,but then again,,if one was to reflect further I think we would find that these two notions are almost interchangeable. Yes Africa has its issues but it is only when you sit on your couch at home and feel the discomfort of its sagging cushions that the urgency of buying a new one hits you. If Africans in diaspora acquire a transferable skill, and go back home at some point it serves two purposes.
First and foremost is that of personal fulfillment. The feeling that your efforts are contributing to a tangible result,, since the machinery is simple enough where you can see exactly where your efforts are headed.Secondly there is a feeling of recognition when you serve a clientele that knows you,,a few generations back( father ,grandfather etc) Also for me, I have for a while had that “fish out of water ” feeling. Although I have immersed myself in the culture of my current surroundings, as I mature in this land, I am ever more aware of the fact that a people are more likely to strive in their “natural habitat”. African-Americans after two centuries and change are still not fully adapted to this concrete jungle,,so the immigrant who has a love for his roots has an uphill task. Navigating the rules of the land and appreciating the rationale behind them is its own challenge. You ever tried to find a wireless connection on a laptop and see how many signals are “password protected”. I made a comment the other day that if one man had wifi in my neighborhood, in Cameroon, then the whole neighborhood is set. As a kid, when people first started getting ‘parabolic antennas’ I remember a man running a wire from his house to his friends’ house about half a mile away. To come from that and live a life where I don’t even know my neighbors is by any standards a misplacement. I am sticking deliberately to those aspects of Africa’s plight that we can control from a choice angle, disease politics and some others need solutions too but I am not qualified to offer even suggestions in those areas. i just think that if we foster some ideas that make home ,,home we will now be able to approach our problems, not from a distance but as a thorn in our own butt. Now I am Cameroonian and I speak for my own circumstances, Cameroon has not been ravaged by war,,Thank God and although our problems are plenty,,one can envision relocating back home. If this idea of making Africa a home before retirement was more widespread, it might make a huge impact in rejuvenating life in the continent.
To end on a positive note, I always hear people say God will help Africa and I hope he does cos we could use it but how will he do it? Could it be that in the search of say,,alternative fuels, a source will be found which will put Africa back on the economic map. If a botanical solution is found to replace crude oil, Africa’s huge forest and many virgin lands would undoubtedly be a lucrative arena synonymous to what oil fields are today. Hopefully African leaders, having seen more about how the world works,will be able to make better deals that will benefit the people they represent. Just a suggestion,,who knows,,we wait,,we hope and we pray
Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition,,it asks too little of yourself,,because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you can reach your true potential,,,Barack Obama.