If only Africans could believe in themselves

Editor, Reference is made to Kenneth Agutamba’s article, “Beware of faulty elevators!” (Sunday Times, July 13).


Reference is made to Kenneth Agutamba’s article, “Beware of faulty elevators!” (Sunday Times, July 13).

A really sad story, well illustrated with only a few anecdotes. And sadly enough, each reader of this commentary can come up with tonnes of more similar anecdotes, some more dramatic than others. Indeed, not only elevators are everywhere in Africa faulty.

The entire borrowed system, both from West and now more and more from East, is just faulty. The origin of the defect is that, thus far, nothing into our so-called “modern” life system in Africa has been conceived with African users in mind.

Africa has just been a dumping ground for western and eastern technology, a “market” conquered and inundated with “products” made elsewhere and initially for foreign populations.

Not merely “consumers”, i.e. those buying or enjoying charity handouts. Like anywhere else, in Africa there are people, individuals in flesh and blood, practically using the outputs of those alien technologies.

And the sad end result is that we Africans, in our daily lives we are surrounded and constantly interacting with those things we know very little about. Thus ending up not only with faulty artifacts, but often with entire faulty livelihoods, jeopardised by artifacts (products) we simply don’t know to select, acquire, fit, and use as tools to properly run our daily lives.

Most of them are dangerous, deleterious, uncomfortable, whether or not we are aware of it, and in spite of the fact that we keep deluding ourselves that they are “modern”, therefore better fit.

The “modernist” ideology even entices us to force those faulty artifacts into our lives, and force us to pretend that we fully enjoy their possession.

Only possession, however, but not reaping any benefit, at best very little, from their use! Rather, just enduring the odds, some time paying the ultimate price of our life and health, just for the sake of enjoying “modernity”!

On another occasion, I too will relate my numerous daily anecdotes, of a system made of so many elements, many times faulty to death!

François-Xavier Nziyonsenga, Rwanda