A few weeks ago, I went to Liberia, it was an eye-opening trip, my eyes saw the things I had only heard of on the news. The news of the civil war was everywhere, but it seemed far away. We heard and did nothing either because we couldn’t or because we wouldn’t. That is not the purpose of this article.
We all heard of the civil war and the curiosity in us got us reading but beyond what we read and heard, I was there. Living breathing Liberia. I couldn’t act my awe as I had to remain put together, I was there for work and as we went through customs, immigration and the works, I kept trying to hold myself together. Still, something in me could not but wonder, what is the future of Africa?
Of course, my first instinct was pity. I am an activist and although I am not overly emotional, pity/helplessness gets me. I have been diagnosed by society, the condition is called: saviour complex but what is life without a weird diagnosis?
Africa is suffering.
At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I must say that Africa is suffering, our children are prostitutes and destitute and we are doing nothing about it. Instead, we focus on things that don’t count while the core of who we are decays. I am worried about the future of Africa and I am sure that I am not the only one. We keep chanting mama Africa but of what use is a mother who cannot clothe her children?
I took a taxi to the heart of the city, I wanted to see for myself the after math of war. The aftermath of the power tussle of the “elephants” that left the grass in shambles. All I saw were children begging for alms, men and women who lacked survival skills and would do anything to make ends meet. I saw a naked people, failed by the powers that be. The war has taken its toll on the people and I must say, from what I saw, people were struggling to stay afloat.
I must confess however, I saw a handful of people, young professionals ranging from government workers to private business owners. Like the proverbial candle in the wind, the light was not enough to dispel the darkness that surrounded me.
Per history, Both LURD (a rebel group) and Charles Taylor made extensive use of child soldiers, the use of child soldiers was prolific by both sides, regardless of prohibitions of the practice in the Geneva conventions. The question is, do you need a convention to enshrine the protection of children? Is your mind so clogged, filled with the desire to hold on to power at whatever cost? Do you need a soothsayer to help you understand that children are to be protected and not armed with “shiny toys” which they have not been trained to use?
“What did they say to make you so blind, to your conscience and reason?”
I have a question, who made monsters of us? Were we born with it or did we imbibe it? Where did we get this culture of violence which still plagues us till this day? We commit crimes with impunity and act as though our humanity is lost. We treat human beings with so much disdain backing our lack of humanity up with religion and culture. What kind of monster rapes a TRANS person and proceeds to get her jailed? In what world, do we get to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, gender and disability? What kind of people are we if we cannot see that we are all human beings and our difference is our strength?
I am going to stop rambling and focus on the fact that I saw things in Liberia, they were not pretty things. Everywhere I looked, I saw the aftermath of war, I saw a people trying to rebuild and failing, I saw children engaging in transactional sex to stay afloat, I saw a people drowning in the pond of bad governance and insensitive leadership. I saw a people eating the sour grapes planted by their forefathers, I saw Africa and It was not pretty.
I badly wanted to see the cliché beauty in struggle, a beautiful mess, but I am done being philosophical, I am especially tired of political correctness. Political correctness invented by a people who ravaged Africa with no proverbial chill, the same people who perpetrated slavery and apartheid want to turn around a few decades later and kumbaya through life. They do not just want to hold hands and do it alone, they want to feed us the cool aid so we can forget that it happened. Well, some of us are never going to forget.
I have decided that someone needs to tell Africa the truth and I humbly accept the imaginary offer. Africa needs to get its head out of her derriere and fight for the future we deserve. We must get tired of being second-class citizens and commit to building the Africa of our dreams.
This is not a “feel pity for Africa” post, it is a piece reminding us that even though we have lost our glory and virtue, we must commit to channelling our strengths towards the right direction.