WORDS: Akinloye Ogundipe, Jr., a son of the landmass known as Africa and the people collectively known as the Africans
IMAGES: Silent Evolution, an Underwater Sculpture Installation by Jason deCaires Taylor (Grenada, West Indies + Mexico)
It would be better to live a life of struggle for our continent than a life of ease in the service of another land. We may debate about the name of our land. Did we choose this name? Is this the name we want? If so, why?
But we cannot deny that the landmass currently known as Africa is the landmass of the people collectively known as the Africans. It is also undeniable that though there are many subcultures within our land, there are common historical, linguistic, and cultural threads that form the unified twine of a shared African culture.
Clearly, our land is filled with many beautiful things; its treasures innumerable (upright people, marvelous intellect, a rich geography, etc.). Yet, it is also clear that disorder permeates our land and, unfortunately, this is not new. Alien ways have masqueraded as the norm for a long time.
Those from among us in positions of heightened responsibility betray us. Those from foreign lands sow seeds of dissension between us for the purpose of exploiting our collective resources. Sadly, the worst of the plague that has befallen our land is our reaction to the disorder in which we are immersed.
In the midst of this chaos many of us have abandoned our land; many of those who have left dream of never having to return to live out the day-to-day grind and many of those that have not left dream of doing so one day. Some of those that stay at home, beat into submission, simply suffer the status quo.
The reason is clear; the conditions in our land have created an environment that is not conducive to achieving the fulfilling lives that Africans could be living if a sense of order and unity prevailed. In turn, we invest high levels of energy in various forms of escape both psychological and physical; from the creation of foreign inspired edifices to the annual trails of death our youth traverse to seek occupations in other lands. In this climate there is only room for one occupation for African youth, an occupation open to all of us, the use of our skills in the loving reclamation of our land.
We must love our homeland. People who love their home and the family members within it do not dream a dream of solitary escape in the face of trouble. Rather, people of honor with a modicum of dignity in this situation seek to stop, repel, and eliminate the things threatening that which they love.
We can be these people. We must be these people. We must not be afraid to set our land right. It is ours and our fate is intricately tied to it. Thomas Sankara informed us that in the face of aggression towards our land and people we had two choices: Homeland or Death.
Though we may have fooled ourselves into believing that we have options other than Thomas Sankara’s stark dichotomy, current events continually reify that this is a delusion: land grabs, foreign militarization (AFRICOM) and environmental degradation. As these occurrences are leading some analysts to posit that we are facing the Second Scramble for Africa it is clear that we are still faced with the options of homeland or death. We are dying senselessly now so we have nothing to lose and only our homeland to gain.
Next correspondence: The Lessons that the Chinese Household Responsibility System Teach Us About the Shortcomings of the Ujamaa System
Akinloye Ogundipe, Jr. / @citizenofafrica
Jason deCaires Taylor / http://www.underwatersculpture.com