he images that define Africa in the minds of many outside the continent are: hunger, disease, famine, malnutrition, civil strife, unpaved roads and general underdevelopment. These images are black Africa's burden and shared threats.
Throughout the 20th century and into the new millennium, a relentless onslaught of natural disasters, famines, pandemics, regional conflicts and despotic regimes has displaced or killed millions of people and wreaked havoc on their nations-these grave threats should drive black Africans to close ranks to combat them as they arise.
When social creatures of any kind are challenged by dangerous conditions, they typically join forces to protect themselves against the common threat. When their very survival is at stake, the need to present a united front becomes a matter of extreme urgency. This kind of unity is needed among black Africans.
An undeniable urgent need is for Africans to pool human and financial resources to promote successful development projects. Naturally, people tend to gravitate toward those with whom they feel a sense of shared experience and common cause. Unfortunately, a tendency toward social fragmentation impedes the efforts of Africans living abroad to improve the lot of their people back home. However, black Africans at home and abroad often reflect the emphasis on tribal affiliation that they have internalized, with all the conflict it engenders. Even if their tribal identity did not serve a central social function for them at home, Africans in diaspora tend to coalesce in groups along ethnic lines, and thus maintain the divisions that have always separated them from most of their fellows on the continent.
The irony is that black Africans used to be proud of their culture and heritage grounded in cooperation and collective effort are unwilling to employ those values to advance African causes. Too many stubbornly adhere to habitual norms of tribalism and ethnic prejudice, which are counter-productive attitudes that can only impede progress. All black Africans should be forced by the magnitude of the challenges they face to accept the responsibility that history has placed on the present generation of Africans.
There are many promising signs that cross-cultural connections are already yielding fruit in the areas of music and entertainment. Adoption of technology is slowly showing its effects, so is cultural cross-fertilization. There is growing evidence that the present generation of young Africans do not feel as limited by the traditions of their national and ethnic groups as their parents did, and are eager to experience a broad range of expressive styles. Internet access offers millennial Africans a powerful medium for self-expression, social-networking and information retrieval, with endless opportunities to reinterpret their traditions and forge a modern cultural awareness. A worthy goal should be the creation of avenues for cultural diffusion across all boundaries, through celebratory social encounters that are driven entirely by innate African creativity and lust for life. Africa has a rich communal history; this sense of harmony should serve as a powerful engine for positive change.
Give this book to a friend this holiday to support the dream of a better Life for the Children of Africa. Visit David Ogula's author page at Amazon.com and learn more about his biography and the movement to unload Africa's burdens.