May 25th, 2012 marked the 49th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (now known as the African Union) and Africa Liberation Day (more commonly known as Africa Day); however, Africa is still in dire need of liberation from things such as poverty, systemic corruption, ethnic tensions and conflicts, etc.
The Organization of African Unity’s 1963 founding charter stated that it would “promote understanding among African peoples and cooperation among African states in response to the aspirations of African people for solidarity, in a larger unity transcending ethnic and national differences.” We are yet to attain these aspirations, but as an observer, I think that the present generation of Africans is more aware of them and more inclined to see forward movement in these different areas.
For one, many Western educated Africans have began returning to the Motherland to settle down or to more actively engage in the development of their countries. This is a good sign, especially as they collaborate with their African educated counterparts to hammer out custom-made solutions for the different problems plaguing the continent. When we finally are able to make as much progress in the political spheres, both domestically and internationally, the continent will be well on its way to being a force to reckon with in the world. And why not? As the second largest continent in the world in both land mass and population, why should Africa not be one of the main actors on the world stage?
As I have pointed out previously here and here, our progress and development is directly influenced by how we view ourselves. We must regain a healthy sense of self-worth. We must realize that we are powerful voices–individually and collectively. A wise person once said that if you speak as though you have something important to tell the world, the world will pay attention to what you have to say. Africa must believe in itself before other people can believe in it. It is actually far more important that we believe in ourselves, than that others believe in us.
I am excited to see this self-confidence emerging in ever stronger waves in music, the arts, fashion and technology. As this cultural renaissance spreads to other spheres of African society and we are no longer afraid of being different, of standing up for our traditions, ideas and preferences, no longer intimidated into submission by the dictates of our creditors, no longer haunted by debt, we will be able to truly celebrate Africa’s liberation. Until then, let us continue to work towards this restoration of self-confidence in all aspects of African life.