There is a reason why it is called culture shock. It is like a needle that bursts your bubble, opening your eyes to a world beyond what you have always known as reality. It’s like your world is absolutely turned upside-down-inside-out in a split of a second and recovery is done along the way.
I always used to wonder why countries have to be categorized – first world, second world, developing, developed, industrialized – but now I wonder no more. Where a country’s transport system is effective, efficient and always on time and you can walk at 3am in the morning (or night) without fearing for your safety;
where the streets are clean and traffic lights are not just there for decoration; where Mercedes Benz are used as taxis and the buses are spacious enough to carry your bike; where the air you breath is clean and shoes don’t need to be polished after every 5 hours, well such country is definitely on its own lane.
From my travels, I have discovered how close-minded I can be and how different the world truly is. Travelling has removed me from my comfort zone and opened my mind and eyes to a whole different world and every time I come back home, I wonder where have we gone wrong as a country. Sometimes I actually wish I didn’t have to come back, but the alternative of being declared an illegal alien isn’t that pleasing either.
Travelling helps one learn how struggles and victories of others have different definitions and meanings in other places of the world. So where are we going wrong as a country and a continent? No country woke up and become a super power. Rome wasn’t built in a day and growth and development takes time.
And with time, we need to be Consistent. Committed. Focused. Discipline.
Between the years of 1960-1965, a spring of liberation was happening within Africa. The Africans realized that it was time they took charge over their soil and that the White man was holding them back. The strong smell of independence was irresistible. At the same time, miles away, Asian countries were also gaining independence from their colonial masters.
If there is a country that has put its name on the development map for all good reasons is the island of Singapore. Singapore gained its independence in 1963, roughly the same time as many African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, and Rwanda amongst others.
The country’s first Prime Minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew is credited with transforming Singapore from a Third World to First. Singapore is recognised as being able to provide basic human needs to its citizens that amount to 5 Million. Services such as health, education and shelter are easily accessible and majority of citizens can proudly boast of being house owners. Infant mortality rate has greatly reduced.
Is it that the Prime Minister had super powers that helped him achieve this greatness in such a relatively short time, development wise? No. It is because the late Lee Kuan Yew was committed, focused, consistent and disciplined.
He knew where he wanted to take his country to and he knew that he could not do it alone. He surrounded himself with individuals who shared the vision with him and were exceptional in their field.
Every country has had its share of catastrophe and pandemic. USA had the Civil War, Germany had the holocaust, Japan had the bombings during the World War II and the tsunami in 2011 and Africa had colonialism. Development and growth takes time. It might take 50 years, 100 years or even 200 years.
Case in point is the United States, which got its independence in 1776, that’s over 200 years ago. Abortion only became legal in the 1970s while inter racial marriages become recognised in the 1960s. AIDS became recognised as disease that can be caught by any human being in the 1980s and it wasn’t until 2015 that LGBT rights were given a nod by the Supreme Court.
There was time when the economy of Kenya and Ghana was at per with Singapore where did we go wrong? Where did we as Africa go wrong? .
I dare not speak for Africa but Kenya is a country of 40Million people but only a handful of people enjoy luxuries which are basic needs and rights. A country’s wealth and potential of development is not determined by its population or size.
A country does not need to have 100 Million citizens for it to prosper nor does it need to be a big size to be great. What is it that a country has that can be maximised to its potential being able to make use of the resources that are readily available.
I find hope in being categorized as a developing country. For me it means that we have a chance to learn from developed countries and to avoid their past mistakes. It means that we can make improvements from what have been started by those ahead of us and make them even better.
Leaders need to understand that running a country is not a hobby but a job. That running any part or sector of a government is a duty and service to the people and the country. Leaders need to surround themselves with a tremendous, experienced team. If we are to move forward as a continent, it’s time we stopped blaming the colonial masters and own up to the fact that we have failed our country, its citizens and the continent.
It cannot be denied that colonialism has played a big part in the development of most African countries, with post-colonial agreements and heavy taxes for African products. But it will be wrong for us to turn a blind eye to the leaders that we have today and those individuals who have also played a part in robbing Africa of its success story.
We need leaders who are committed to equal development opportunities for Africa. Leaders who are consistent in their speech and actions. Leaders who are focused enough to give jobs objectively to those qualified for the positions. Leaders who are disciplined enough to realize that corruption is a disease that is slowly by slowly reaping Africa from harvesting its benefits.
Is it not ironic how African leaders steal public funds in millions and billions of dollars and invest the same in European economies. How many leaders in other continents steal public funds and invest in Africa? Greed for money cannot develop a country and death guarantees that no one leaves with anything that he found on mother Earth.
“Whether you have a Maruti or a BMW, the road remains the same. Whether you travel economy class or business, your destination doesn’t change. Whether you have a Titan or a Rolex, the time is the same. Whether you have an Apple or Samsung, people who call you remain the same.
There is nothing wrong in demanding a luxurious life. What needs to be taken care of is to not let the NEED become GREED cause the needs can always be met….but greed can never be fulfilled”~ Rajinikanth
By Elavisa Maureen