The African proverb, “Until the Lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter” aptly sheds insights on the topic of today’s post. Often, when I take some time off my schedule to meet-up with friends, a key topic of interest that springs up is Africa’s narrative. This topic also comes up during networking events. For the most part, I listen and digest information being spewed forth at a rapid rate by participants. Sometimes, it takes a strong focus to keep track of discussions as ideas get exchanged in rapid succession ! I have also arrived at the conclusion that this is a rather passionate topic that tends to leave anger, sadness and frustration in its wake.
From where I stand however, these feelings of anger and disappointment can be channelled towards actions that yield desired results. For, who can confidently name a country underneath the sun that hasn’t had its fair share of trials? Developed countries, as we view them, have slums and inner cities just as they serve as a hub for global economic activity. The main reason why they are viewed in a positive light around the world is mostly because they tell their story in a very beautiful light. I don’t begrudge them that. Actually, it should serve as a guide for us to replicate a line out of their script.
Until we decide to tell our story while working towards improving the standard of living of citizens in Africa, predominantly bleak narratives will keep on being peddled. Fear, disaster and sadness sells just as the sweet nectar of mango sells during the harmattan season. Despite the challenges Africa experiences, it is a warm, vibrant continent with a lot to offer.
Together, we can change the narrative of Africa from doom to the vast opportunities that remain untapped in Africa. As a continent that is bursting with unrivaled opportunities and potential, it is only natural for the African narrative ought to capture the various facets of its reality. Who then, can adeptly shed light on the African narrative? Who is best suited to weave the various tapestries into a coherent piece? Just as the kente weaver creates intricate designs with his/her loom, so must Africans take the mantle in the creation of our narrative. For when we do so, our tales will capture the ever evolving and delightful African reality. After all, the African narrative is a potpourri of diverse cultures and experiences just as the western narrative is a potpourri of opportunities and challenges !
© 2018 Sherita Brace