“South Africa will mark Africa Month and Africa Day in May 2020, along with the rest of the continent. The month is an opportunity to promote African unity, deeper regional integration and recommit Africa to a common destiny. Planned activities over the month will culminate with Africa Day celebrations on 25 May 2019.” This is what one will find written in www.gov.za.
Nice. I would have loved to have every day to be an Africa Day and not just one day out of 365 days. If my logic is correct the other 364 days are Europe Days! The way we dress (I am guilty as charged), the way we do things, the way we think and the way we speak. Government is doing its part to promote Africa and its efforts are commendable. However, the impact will not be as great as when individual Africans play their part. Government, however good their intentions are, will not be able to do it alone. Change will come from our individual efforts as Africans.
The question is: what are you doing as an individual African to better Africa? Let me use Bob Marley’s description of an African – whether your complexion is high or low, as long as you are a black man, you are an African. Well, I think those who are in the know like Prof Lumumba should start teaching us proper African history. Where do we come from as a people? What is our culture, our nature, our value system? Prof has a good grasp of the problem and I would want him, respectfully, to start concentrating on solutions and not only criticising African leaders. I would like him to concentrate on educating and informing us instead of criticising us. Enough of criticism now Prof. We need to improve.
Let me help identify some of the small things that we can do that are within our means – firstly, let us start teaching our children and speaking to them in our different African languages. Twanging and speaking good English and unable to say a sentence in one’s African language is an unforgivable sin. Secondly, learn to greet. I am always amazed by Africans who do not greet – Dumela, Sawubona, Avhusheni, Nda, etc. I actually get upset. Greet a person even if you don’t know them. Greeting is an acknowledgement of the person’s presence. I love the Hindu greeting “Namaste” which means “I bow to the divine in you”. Yes, there is a divine in all of us. Thirdly, share. When I grew up, there were extra four permanent plates that were dished out by my grandmother. They were our neighbour’s – an uncle and an aunt who were siblings and the aunt’s two children. Fourthly, help. This is not necessarily monetary. Help with what you can. Cleaning a granny’s house who has no helper or children will pass as being helpful.
Fifthly, let us teach our children to work for things. This thing of going cup in hand with everything is killing our nation. If they don’t have money and need pocket money, let them learn to say, mom, dad, uncle, I need R100 to buy myself a toy, can I wash your car and you pay me. Or can I clean the garage and you pay me? My father taught me to be financially independent. Africans were never hungry. They farmed in their own backyards. I know we had a vegetable garden that my grandfather taught me to tender. Harvest time, my granny would ask me to take spinach to another granny who would in turn give me potatoes to give to my granny. I am worried about able bodied men and women who demand that government give them grants.
My grandfather, a true African, taught me that good manners are better than having lots of money. What is society teaching today? He taught me that when I have power, I must use it to protect rather than to harm. What is society teaching today? He taught me to use money wisely. What is society teaching today? – spend money that you do not have to buy things that you do not need in order to impress people who do not know you. By the way this is a grandfather who did not know how a classroom looked like – never went to school!
What am I doing to advance the African child? I am doing all of the above. Over and above that, I run my own coaching practice and I concentrate on coaching Africans who must drop a victim mentality and embrace a victor mentality. I am asking them to ask the question “why is this happening FOR me” instead of “why is this happening TO me”. I have written and self-published three books specifically with an African in mind. First one entitled “Black man, get off the white man’s back”, second one entitled “Black man, you are bigger than the problem” the third one entitled “Defence Technology Made Easy”
The first book is to help the African realise the danger of blaming the white man. I help them realise that it is important to look ahead if you want to go forward. Looking at the rear-view mirror is good but it cannot be a permanent posture because one will never move forward. The second one is to help the African realise that UMUNTU (God), abbreviated UMU, has endowed him with so much good to be able to be an asset to the world and not a liability. The third one, probably my favourite, is to show the African child that the defence-related industry that is said to be meant for a few, is also for them. It is an easy to read book that shows them how the big machines were made from observing every day natural occurrences. Parents are encouraged to read the book as well.
My fourth book, hopefully publishing it by the end of this year, is for my two children born of me and for all the children of Africa not born of me but are my children nevertheless. It is a book I promised myself to write for my children and present it to them when they were 12. I have since changed my mind that I will present them the book whey they leave home. I am presenting it to them before then end of 2020. It is a charge I am giving them to go out there and live their lives the best way they know how. It was good raising them and knowing them. I am happy to send them to the world because they will do the world a lot of good than harm.
So, for me, while I celebrate Africa Day, every day is an Africa Day. I pray and hope that it be so for you.