At the height of Ebola epidemic, it seemed like the plague would never end. Ebola ravaged the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia with such unforgiving vengeance. I followed closely the news update on different forums. Apart from the depressing news, were the equally depressing comments from citizens who rained abuses on their government.. and on themselves!
If the Ebola figures were up for the day, every one cried to their god, be it God, Allah or A.N. Other, to have mercy on the suffering nation, to punish the wicked, aka the politicians. And help the poor nationals.
I can take the mercy element. But punish the wicked…which we all know is to include heaping suffering on the wicked’s children and their children’s children, for generations everlasting to come, world without end…amen; Now that clearly shows our mindset, and the fact that perhaps we are ourselves are without mercy yet calling on a merciful God!
Next, to help ‘us the poor’. OK, the biased media, have programmed Africans that we are poor, but we sign the dotted lines in indelible ink with our lips. A poor man who continually sees himself as poor, and keeps saying so…will remain poor. This highlights our need to change our mindset, and maybe the educational system in Africa may be in need of a good shake.
Unless we do, is it any surprise why we develop an inferiority complex towards other races besides our own? Any wonder why the scars of slavery or even perhaps colonialism, remain in our blood irrespective of whether we find ourselves in Timbuktu or outer space because of negative programming mindset?
A Jew for example, will never ever teach his kids they are poor whether they were in Jerusalem or on the tip of an iceberg in the Arctic . The home, the synagogue, the schools drum it into those kids’ heads that they are big. And those kids will act big and become big. And these Jews have a history of the Holocaust yet don’t use that as a crutch.
I know some will be reading this and saying the challenges of slavery were worst than the Holocaust. Maybe, maybe not…I am not going to debate any of that. However neither slavery nor Holocaust sounds like a nice cup of tea to me. The point I am making is we, Africans, African descents and alike, need to reprogram our minds that we are VERY worthy beings! If we do not respect ourselves, why would anyone else do?
But back to our Ebola story before I went off on a tangent…If the Ebola figures for the day were optimistically down, then the rant was that the Government was lying to the people. I sometimes wondered if these people were in the secret chambers of the politicians abode or were spies to the government? Why did the glass always have to be half empty, or to be blunt, bone dry? I like an overflowing cup, but I would have settled for the half full edition especially with encouraging figures, man!
As with human nature in general, no human beings really wants to take responsibility for their actions. But lets not make this an art as Africans. The fact that the governments had put guidelines, preventative guidelines to stem Ebola, still could not change the mindset of people to see that halting its deadly trail, was everyone’s collective responsibility.
No, it was the government’s responsibility to wave the magic wand, and make the disease disappear, at no sacrifice to anyone. But how did Nigeria stem it quickly? Because they worked with unity of purpose! So, that proves we can do it.
So, in the meantime, elsewhere, we saw no reason not to continue the unsafe burials, to include washing the dead, going to the medicine man for some potion instead of going to the Ebola clinics. And look on at the masked health professionals as devils sent by the …oh yes…the government…to kill its people. No one wanted to ride the waves of responsibility. Oh no! That would be too much to ask ‘us the poor’. The thinking was… (and I read this!)…was that the government wanted this disease prolonged as possible in order to line their silk pockets, and kill its people.
As Africans, we have some task in changing the mindset of its people to that of trust. African governments may for a long time continue however to bear brunt of any calamity because of the legacy of corruption that has been entrenched in society since the colonial masters left.
From what I learnt in Sunday School, a nation that is divided amongst itself cannot stand. So therein lies the problem and the solution of Africa, or should I say Africans. As long as accusing fingers are waved and pointed, African nations will remain divided…and sadly even in times of calamity, as seen by the Ebola issue.
Compared to an Englishman who can have a heated debate in parliament with an opposing party member without resorting to putting pins in his 6 year old daughter rag doll in order to bring the demise of the opposition, the said Englishman can set off with his opposing member for a jolly game of golf afterwards. Africans seem to have a hard time reconciling their differences. Or just agreeing to disagree. This is what we need to teach our kids. It is OK to have differing views without plucking feathers in a hut, if you know what I mean!
Should there always be mistrust in the agenda? If WHO decide to give a loan, should we always immediately think that parliamentarian eyes are spinning with the cash, and their relatives are celebrating in some back and beyond village because some big house is to be erected? Are Africans always guilty until proven innocent?
Is that the programming, the code in the African DNA? Can we continue to have such a mindset, generation after generation? What I learnt in from the Good Book was the heart of man was desperately wicked. I did not specifically read it as the heart of Africans was desperately wicked! Do we not think corruption exists in other nations too?
So do we always have to have a victim mentality, suspecting one another, living in discord and only trusting someone that has a different skin colour to ourselves?
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel; I get encouraged by the many, many African entrepreneurs, even very young and bright geniuses rising up in the continent breaking the concrete moulds of negative thinking, and changing society. In the Diaspora, Africans are empowering others. So many are rising every day. “Chai, There is God oh!”
Yes, we can. We can change our mindset! In schools, in the market place, everyone at their own level. And it takes our individual responsibilities to do so, and it takes patience. Else negative mindset births negative talking which keeps the corruption and poverty cogs spinning…all this ‘law of attraction’ stuff! We can certainly live in peace, even with our differences. We can think big of ourselves instead of thinking poor. We can give the government the benefit of the doubt, can’t we?
Or maybe the latter would be too much to ask?