In Search of Africa’s Beautiful Ones

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | January 30, 2014

Africa makes me mad.

No matter how much I try to root for it, it always finds cause to fall short. And it does so in a myriad of ways that inject a sense of hopelessness in every part of my being.

All my life I have rejected being pessimistic about the fate of Africa but, now, I feel rather worn out – shredded, as it were, by the gazillion misfortunes bedeviling the continent, from war to disease.

Echoing famed Ghanaian write Ama Ata Aido’s refrain, seriously, when will the beautiful ones of Africa be born? For how long shall we continue to be deaf, blind and numb to all the bedraggled state of the continent.

While I accept that my continent has endured many evils, many not of its own making, I feel thoroughly frustrated at how we cannot find the agency to define a new path. Why do the same old problems continue to plague the motherland? The truth is I am tired of pointing fingers. Because at the end of all the finger-pointing, the African is implicated, I am implicated.

The concept of ubuntu or humanness is widely acknowledge in many communities in Africa but as the evidence continues to prove, there seems to be very little value placed on human beings. The collective is superseded by individual quest for well being and material accumulation. Life is disposable.

Everyday I am bombarded with stories of Africans killing each other with utter disdain. It appears to me that there just isn’t enough disgust at the blood spilling. Bloodshed seems to the only way to resolve conflict. Why is it that we keep going through these cycles? And, most importantly, will it ever end.

These questions come to me more and more everyday, and I feel benumbed that I do not have any answers. I know some people are keen to gloss over the African story, like, forget the killings, the despair and the poverty and focus on the high rise buildings and cosmopolitan elites pandering to the tastes of the developed world.

Of course, there are many ways to tell a story just as there are many ways to get round an anthill but whitewashing the evils that dog the continent is antithetical to finding solutions.

In seeking these solutions, no amount of foreign aid will change anything in Africa. The real change will have to come from Africans themselves. It’s an inside job. As Africans, we have to define the kind of continent that we want to live in and hold ourselves accountable to building it.

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