I wrote About Africa’s Great Lie (Part I) four months ago to expose the lie we have been fed with: “we are the leaders of tomorrow”. The truth is… we are theleaders of today.
This article, Part II, exposes the lie we have been made to believe that ‘corruption’ is the main problem with Africa.
It is unquestionable, however, that corruption is a key inhibitor to Africa’s socio-economic development with the continent housing some of the world’s most corrupt countries. But is that really the root issue? Corruption is only a branchin this problem.
The root of our problem is the culture of instant gratification.
Almost always, we scramble for immediate satisfaction, quick fixes, instant pleasure and so on. In doing this, we are unaware of how these little acts of self-indiscipline ( mostly on an individual scale) negatively impact our continent. In our haste to blame our governments and our leaders for almost everything going wrong with this continent, we become oblivious of our own contribution towards the destruction of the continent.
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”—Hellen Keller
Recently, a couple of classmates and I were having a conversation with Fred Swaniker when he said “We seem to have forgotten our place in history.”Although he said that in a different context, it perfectly explains our situation today.
We now have people leaving the continent in search of greener pastures without contributing to creating one in Africa. Our governments (like Nigeria’s) build the entire economy around just one resource blinded by their lust to reap immediate benefits. Our businesspeople fail to make long-term investments in industries which may not be doing well presently, but have the potential to grow. Our educational institutions fail to invest long-term in training for the teachers who shape the future of the continent. Our politicians embezzle our money to create a perfect life for themselves (at our expense) in their very short lifetimes. It’s all about the NOW! Enjoying ourselves NOW! Living the life NOW! YOLO, we call it. But is that really why we are here?
The point is that our generation has not been called to live in a prosperous Africa; our calling is to build it.
That is our place in history. We are the architects, the masons, the builders; whatever we choose to call ourselves. Because we have forgotten this, we begin to complain endlessly about the things which are not going right with the continent. We compare Africa with the West forgetting that they built what we see today in the course of many centuries. We only just got started a couple decades ago and we want to operate on the same level instantly? It doesn’t work that way.
For Africa to develop as quickly as it should, we should all embrace the mindset of long-term thinking and let go of our craving for instant solutions to our plethora of problems. We need to become comfortable with experiencing ‘slow but steady growth’. As builders we don’t complain; we fix. We must stray from the easier path of mindless complaining, and embark on the more treacherous (but more rewarding) path of creative problem-solving.
Whatever change we expect to see on the continent should begin with us.
We need to emancipate ourselves from the grasp of instant gratification and commit, long-term, towards building the Africa that we would love our grandchildren to grow up in. An acceptance of the fact that we would be long dead by the time the Africa of our dreams materializes is crucial for a total emancipation from the cankerworm of instant gratification—not corruption.