Here’s something my friend Dipo Adetuyi sent in, and it spoke some of the thoughts I’ve had recently. Hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to check out his new in the market product, Bolero (read about it here https://tlsplace.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/bolero-ad1.jpg ). Fingers crossed on Rekiya’s Tale, and lookout for tomorrow’s Friday Tot from me on Demola Rewaju’s blog.
Africa is blessed with immense natural resources! This statement has become a banner for the average African who still wants to believe in the ‘’African Dream’’ it’s unfortunate that the reality of this dream is a nightmare from which many cannot be woken.
The African epidemic is a plethora of ailments and disease states, some acute and most very chronic. The maladies that plague us as a people are innumerable, however we still strive on and try to latch on to the utopian belief that it will all get better some day.
Well it might and it might not, our crystal ball is murky with lost dreams and severed hopes, we cannot have a clear look see into what the future exactly holds for us. When we read western magazines like Forbes or the economist, we have some succour. Figures that tell us that in 2020, Africa will rise to gain dominance in the FMCG or retail sector and we are overjoyed. The same article does not remind us that Africa has little or nothing to add to this ever growing retail sector.
Many of our FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) are imported or distributed by conglomerates whose parent companies are not African born. The Bournvita, Indomie, Nutri-c, Hobnobs, Kellogs etc aren’t African products. So we are still being colonized by the west and yet we claim to be an independent continent.
Africa is a cheap imitation of the west and like most attempts at plagiarism, the culprit always fails. We teach our children the western way, we dress, eat and have even adopted western illnesses. Our music is very westernized and yet even though it has given us some wide acclaim internationally, we cannot say it belongs to us.
I had the opportunity to play some Nigerian music for an Arab friend sometime last year and he scoffed at its similarity to American hip-hop, where is the integrity? And the uniqueness he said. Where are the Fela’s and the Yossou N’Dour’s of our time, where are the pace-setters?
No doubt the western way of life brings its own inherent comforts and blessings but at what cost? Like selling our birthright for a bowl of porridge, we have sold our identity our culture and our heritage. In Europe, the skies are blazoned with cathedrals and the roads are filled with history. The amazing ability to preserve history is uncanny and yet we haven’t adopted this very important aspect of their lives. The fashion brand FENDI spent $2.2million to restore the Fontana De Trevi (Trevi Fountain) in Rome just so the legacy is maintained; yes they may have gotten tax cuts and all but it all about leaving the legacy. The Eiffel tower attracts 4millionm visitors per year and it has been maintained every since it was built, the rivets are still in place, all the bolts and nuts and screws are intact.
Where are our cathedrals? In 20 years what history will we tell our children? The stories of Sango and Obatala are hardly taught in schools. The allegories of Awolowo and Azikwe are all but lost in the dark shadows of western education. Our schools have lost their way, I’m 29years old and I know more about the American civil war and World War 2 than I do about the Nigerian civil war. Yes you could argue that Google and Wikipedia are available but what stories will I tell my children? What historical landmark has been preserved for them to visit and experience?
Where is the legacy? We spend billions of dollars to build bridges but our museums are derelict and our history is being eroded, a people without a history are an empty race. Let’s learn from the czars and kings of old, let’s preserve our monuments, let’s make our history relevant again. Let’s learn so we can avoid past mistakes, let’s rebuild our cathedrals, let’s regain our relevance!