The common perception of Africa is of a "dark continent" where corruption, war, bloodshed, and poverty are rife. It is the continent where different entities strive for the destruction of one another ' entities that might very well look like brothers to foreigners even on the same continent. It is the house divided against itself. Having been born and raised in this 'dark continent' I can sadly attest to the fact that all of this is true. I can also attest to the fact that there is a different side to Africa that foreigners do not know or do not want to know about. Africa has been deemed the continent with no future. One could argue that Africa has only gotten worse since its nations received independence from the European colonists. This perception is understandable and even expected. But there is hope for Africa yet.
A person only needs to look to history, even the last decade, to bolster his argument that Africa is facilitating its own destruction and has reached the point of no return. I was fortunate enough not to grow up in a war torn state. Despite the fact I saw crude violence and brutality that people failed to realize was the populace venting their frustrations at their hopeless situation. Even Nigeria, arguably one of the most stable and most successful countries on the continent, suffered through oppressive military rule just ten years ago and only thirty years after a bloody civil war. South Africa, the country with the best economy in Sub Saharan Africa, still suffers from incredible racism and more recently xenophobia. It seems for every step taken forward in Africa there are two steps taken backwards, and this is the case in the democratic stable nations! In addition to this we are haunted by the memories of Rwanda and scared to the point of hopelessness by what we see in Darfur. The worst thing that could happen in Africa and would justify all the misconceptions of Africa would be for the people of Africa to surrender to the overwhelming odds and accept them as our destiny, but I know we will not. Most importantly who is going to save Africa?
Several great men have been birthed out of Africa ' Nelson Mandela, Chinua Achebe, Kofi Annan to name a few, but the odds men like them face are incredibly daunting. It appears the 'evil' in Africa overshadows the 'good.' But imagine if thousands upon thousands of Nelson Mandelas and Kofi Annans were to descend upon Africa to be the voices of reason in a sea of confusion. On that glorious day people will realize that there is hope for Africa. Will there ever be such a day?
There is an up and coming generation of Africans like the world has never seen. When I lived in Nigeria I saw people that were intelligent by any standards. After leaving Nigeria and meeting people from other nations on the continent, I found that it was a widespread phenomenon. The thing that separates this generation from any other is the scale at which they are receiving the best possible education. I grew up with people who are now studying in the best schools in the United States, Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, and South Africa to name a few. This fact by itself is insignificant. The remarkable complement to it is that all the Africans abroad that I have met still hold Africa as their first love. We grew up in a world that needs vast reconstruction. We are smart enough to see the bleak future that our world is cruising to, but more importantly we have sought the resources that will make us smart enough to facilitate the change required to achieve the best possible results. What man will, after getting rescued from destruction, not return to save his brothers and sisters? Despite what some might want to think, the African man will not.
I hope to continue to prepare myself to be a part of this generation that will shake the continent. It is my dream that Africa will never see another Rwanda or Darfur genocide; that brother will cease to kill brother; that the riches of Africa will be dedicated to bettering the African not European; that AIDS will stop to orphan innocent children. My dream and the dream of many. It is our dream, our purpose, our life.