Why Africa Must Practice Agency

Published on 22nd April 2014

Creating agency and wealth for self will not happen by the click of a ‘like button’ but by having people who are sensitive and integrated into an understanding of economics and its applications in community. Abstract theory and rhetoric to this point have created zero wealth and more dependency, this is a fact, and as Owen 'Alik Shahadah says: “Do not get so comfortable in someone else’s house that you forget to build your own.”

Practicing economic agency means, African people must also recognize how we have allowed others to profit while numbing our reality and rewriting our history for future generations. As African people, it is important that we objectively analyse every aspect of our current condition and address our own deficit as well as that of current so-called leadership of our communities. How can we build for self when our very own African leaders hand over our wealth on a platinum and diamond encrusted platter to others? In Senegal, Wade gave $28 million to Korea to build an African monument while the Zulu paid R3 million to a Boer to build a statue of the warrior, Shaka Zulu. And when they felt that the first statue was made to look weak…they let him try again!

How is it, with all of the talented African artists we still find a way to make someone else richer? Our leadership and methodologies are old-time and out of tune, preferring to cling to the belief that overhead projectors are a revolutionary form of information delivery system; all the while failing to engage the next generation who are techno savvy but lacking in content and direction.” (Shahadah)

We can shout all we want and be closet revolutionaries on YouTube and in blogs, but what does that do if we do not have the power to make things real? “Pan-Africanism challenges this powerlessness by fostering African agency. When Africans own and control land, resources, and images of self; then all other problems start to dissolve. We cannot in one hand complain about the lack of positive images of African people and lament over opportunist media houses like CNN if we refuse to go into our pockets and support the few independent films we have. We either understand the power created via unity and the processes that go into unity, or die in unmarked graves forgotten to time.

Make no mistake, the reason for the on-going demise of Africa is not because of the Arab slave trade, the destructive European slave trade, or colonialism. These are all symptoms of a greater dilemma; the inability of Africans to build constructive spheres of self-interest around common challenges. Our fates are intertwined and our destinies are inter-dependent on us realizing that.

We are not the 60’s generation that could only talk about Garvey. We are not the 30’s generation that could only talk about Booker T. We are a generation with the gift of hindsight. We have Malcolm, Garvey, Dubois, Nkrumah and Biko as examples. Given our current condition, working together can no longer be treated as a luxury.

It is madness to be quick to see the flaw in others, yet only have excuses for our own failures.

By Tasha Davis
Courtesy: African Holocaust (Excerpts)

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