I guess it is the ‘question-mark’ sign of this great continent that makes Africa prone to so many questions – asked and unasked….
To answer the question, “Can Africa lead again?” we must first ask ourselves, “Was Africa leading before?” Or more pointedly, “Has Africa led before?”
Our answers, and the reasons for these answers, will be varied.
Africa as at the early 15th/16th century was growing at a pace equal with its growth and civilization. Perhaps this growth might have differed greatly from that of the Western world, but no two civilizations are ever alike. Similar. But not alike. And Africa on its own was progressing effectively.
Until, colonization and the mad scramble for African territories began and countries in Africa were forced to assimilate and adapt to civilizations foreign from its own. And so began Africa’s decent and decline, a state we have been in ever since.
And now, the topic posed questions the ability of this falling continent to rise to the place it once was several years ago.
I have provided three propositions with which to answer this;
First, yes, Africa can lead again. Because logic demands that a state once attained and lost is more likely to be reached again than not.
Yes, because if as Africans living in Africa we have no hope to rise up from the ash heap we have fallen into, then we should have no hope to live at all.
And yes, because prejudice aside, Africa has everything it takes and it will take to bring itself back to the position it once attained.
But then again, no, Africa can’t lead again. Because everyone knows it is nearly impossible to gain that which has been lost. For it is easier to tear down than it is to build.
No, because the idea of Africa leading the world again can seem like a dream especially when successful leadership in countries within Africa still seems farfetched.
And no, because after years of suffering through slavery, oppression, colonization and mental degradation, the African mentality has suffered a shift grossly different from that which our forefathers had that caused them to rule effectively and helped place Africa on the map in the first place.
We have been tainted with the poison that comes from Westernization and the bondage of colonization, and these are bad combinations for a people trying to get back to a state they once were that had been void of these things.
And finally, maybe. Because who knows if our shortcomings might just turn into our strengths? Then all the things wrong with Africa leading again might just be what we need to take back our place on the world stage.
Maybe, because our leaders might just get it right and serve as an example even for leaders worldwide.
And maybe, the fact that what was once built so grand has now been torn down, is just what we need to build again and even more impressive than before because we have experience on our side now.
And so, whichever you choose, one thing is clear. It’s going to be a long road to recovery. One that has to be a gradual, deliberate progression to reclaim our heritage.
It’ll begin with a belief in ourselves. A mental reorientation and freedom from inferiority to the Western world and from hopelessness in the Africa continent. A belief in the power we yield as Africans and pride in being black-skinned and kinky-haired individuals.
It begins with a dependence on our natural resources and strengths rather than our societal or individual weaknesses. And a closer look at and appreciation for our natural resources and way of life, which in all honesty has always been the envy of the Western world and those that don’t have them.
It will be a slow, painful process and there is no guarantee we will succeed. But like climbers facing the steep slopes of dangerous mountain, the aim is to take it one step at a time with the top of the mountain as the goal and motivation.
And eventually, maybe, we can begin to see the cloudy peaks of possibility of our Africa leading the world again.