Africa, Africa, Africa. If there is one continent that is a living, breathing paradox; an offence to logic; a defiant land that still stands in the face of timeless adversities – this is it. She is an epitome of hope and despair, silence and sound, progression and regression, but most of all – uncertainty.
Pardon my ramblings, but this state of mind is a result of opposing emotions that I was in the grip of recently, those being depression and elation. Irony at its best, I tell you.
There is a myriad of reasons for the Libyan crisis, ranging from a leadership disconnected to its people, to external interests playing a role in exacerbating the growing crisis in the country.
Many have been left bereft at the fall of this great nation, others are excited at the prospects of a new Libya, and some are mostly likely filled with dread wondering if the same fate will befall their countries.
For me, watching these events unfolding in the latest country under the Arab Spring culminated in a state of depression. I began to have the onset of fatalistic thinking that indeed; no good can last of Africa. Be it railway lines, democracy, natural water bodies – nothing positive seems permanent.
It is almost like there is an invisible blanket over the continent that ensures a perpetual cycle of unrest. While some were watching the uprisings across Northern Africa with glee that tyranny had ended, I was watching these uprisings with the notion that misfortune’s vice-like grip on mother Africa was tightening.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I tuned in to the news (of which I’d had enough) and speechlessly watched the proxy and economic wars being waged between South and North Sudan.
South Sudan was a country whose nationhood the world had just recently celebrated, and now this?
I don’t know. Maybe it has to do with August generally being a slump month of the year. Or maybe there have just been a bit too many clips of starving Africans, fighting Africans and diseased Africans in the news of late.
In any case, the depression didn’t take long to sink in.
Someone once said, “The real Africa is never the one they show you.” How apt. Some of the real Africa they never show you is the indomitable spirit of its people.
While wallowing in the funk I had gotten into, I had the privilege of meeting some youth in August who were remarkable not only in the things they were doing, but their commitment to transforming this continent completely.
It was actually a bit intimidating watching them. From Rwanda, to Kenya to Nigeria, this is a breed of African youth who do not wait for things to happen, they go out and make these things happen.
These are young people who have had turned down offers from Google to stay in their countries and effect amazing change.
These are young Africans who have succinctly and without hesitation told African leaders that if they do not take care of the youth today, the youth will clearly not take care of these leaders tomorrow.
To top it all off, there’s some sort of fuel they run on. At first I thought it was anger. But I later came to find out that it was impatience with those not ‘switched on’ or as fierce in their belief of changing Africa’s problems as they were.
Two days in such company was enough to make me stop mentally wailing at my continent’s seemingly monumental challenges, and instead do something about it.
It is only Africa that can do that to you. Have you despair and hope at the same time, depressed and elated at the same time.
In any case, it is always rewarding to try and discover for oneself the Africa they never show. She is much more than all that.