Using Our Words to Build

Africa has a problem. There are too many people complaining about the state of things and not enough people rolling up their sleeves to get busy with problem-solving.

As an African living in the diaspora, I’m never too far from one conversation or the other about the state of affairs in Africa. Whether it is the recent developments of the ‘missing’ Nigerian President to the anti-migrant protests in South Africa. But I’ve noticed that often times these conversations end up being focused more on the issue and less about how to solve the issue.

Let’s not fool ourselves, we have real problems in Africa. That goes without saying, but the issues faced by the collective African states are not new to any developing economy, they are not synonymous with Africa. I’ve found that most developed countries have at some point in their history, experienced the same.

There needs to be a shift in the conversation from extensive complaining to progressive and proactive troubleshooting.

Recently, the UN announced that there is a famine in South Sudan with millions of lives at risk of dying from malnutrition but in true African style the response from other African Nations has been weak. So what can we as a people going to do to help our South Sudanese brothers, sisters and children? I can tell you one thing, sitting around and discussing how this happened and blaming the government or current civil war is definitely not going to solve this problem.

We, the African collective, can and must form and empower local community focused groups and organisations independent of local, regional, state or federal government to address particular problems at the grassroots level. We need to move away from complete dependence on government to co-dependence on one another. Local groups need to explore strategic partnerships with the diaspora; partnerships that will enhance cooperation in delivering targeted and pragmatic solutions.

We in the diaspora need to start applying more pressure on both government and non-governmental organisations such as the African Development Bank to do more particularly when it comes to creating the space for more engagement and cooperation at the grassroots level.

I don’t have all the solutions but I am tired of hearing people complain. I told a group of friends the other day that a man who complains is a man who lacks imagination, creativity and the propensity for innovation. Instead he ‘comes plain’ with no ideas for progress and the rhetoric of a loser.

We must fight in words and progressive actions so that Africa does not become the vagrant continent of the 21st century.