I was in the US last month for a couple of weeks. As I was ‘cruising’ the massive malls and the unfamiliar wide highways, I couldn’t quite help but think of the African in the diaspora. As I drove towards the city of Boston, I remember how this very piece evolved from a single thought into the idea I am now sharing with you. I didn’t have to go far away to think too hard. The wide highways and the streams of different coloured motor vehicles drove along side me. As I pondered, I looked at myself and thought about my contact list in my trusted iPhone and wondered how on earth the various African governments could entice the cheetah to return home. Life seems easier out here in the west than way over there in the ‘dark continent’. So I wonder, why would a cheetah return home?
One only needs to watch the news especially the popular news channels to see what I mean? Africa is after all, infected with disease, war and corruption? Why would anyone in their right mind move back or indeed live in that environment? You and I know that this so called picture is far from the truth of course. Africa continues to grow economically year after year and there continues to be great interest from far and wide. You only have to read about the Chinese investment and even how Wal-mart is trying to get in on the act. So why wouldn’t a cheetah return home?
As I continued to drive towards Boston that day I thought about the various reasons to both questions i.e. why a cheetah would and wouldn’t return home. Last week I turned to my trusted facebook and twitter accounts and simply asked the question:
African in diaspora, could you please give me 1 word that describes your concerns about returning home.
I received a plethora of responses from people in various situations all over the world; some were amusing whilst others were honest and heartfelt. Even as I make my own plans to return home later this year I still have my own fears. My one word to describe my own concern is LEADERSHIP. This is the area I feel we definitely need to strengthen at all costs. If I look through the various responses I received, they all centred on leadership or lack of it in some situations. People used words like security, poverty, employment, Chiwokomuhomwe (bribery), stability, impatience, trepidation et al. You see, what I realised from this experience was leadership was required to create and/or improve our African highways into the same massive highways they have in Germany or indeed the US. Leadership will be required to change the mentality within various institutions so that this chiwokomuhomwe that often takes place and other such practices are no longer common occurrences. Leadership and various other changes in policy both politically and socially must be addressed to ensure that the African diaspora ceases to be as concerned as they are now. At this very moment especially with the growth and the changes on the continent we need each other more. Indeed there are many cheetahs at home and together we can accomplish so much.
I leave the first part of this discussion with these two questions: -
- What is the one word that describes your concern about Africa irrespective of whether you live on the continent or not?
- What are your ‘cheetah’ ideas regarding that one word?
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As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!