The current global pandemic which has forced many countries, including in Africa, to enforce lockdowns that have harmed the economy has had many negative effects. Added to that, for most, if not all, African countries, the pandemic has exposed for all to see the inefficiencies, lack of infrastructure, and effects of decades of bad governance as many are worried about an income (most African states do not have enough funds to support citizens financially during a time of crisis) and in some cases, their health should they need hospitalization.
However, I would also argue that this pandemic has also presented us, especially in Africa, with several opportunities. One of those great opportunities is reimagining our future and putting in place the infrastructure and measures to rebuild our nations (let’s be brutally honest, it’s not like most African states were functioning well especially for the benefit of citizens).
I don’t want to digress and labor on about examples of how great some African nations were before colonization, with a little research you can learn about Benin City’s great architecture, mathematics in Egypt, and in more recent history, the volumes of literature in Sesotho (fiction and non-fiction) that all demonstrate that the skills and knowledge have always existed among Africans.
What is tempting to do is blame “the colonizers”, rightfully so, but we also have to ask, as I asked earlier this week: what are we doing after gaining independence?
Given that COVID-19 has exposed some of our problems and laid them bare, it is time we take responsibility and start building better societies. Take education for example, especially in South Africa. If plans for the roll-out of broadband Internet were long carried out as planned to disadvantaged parts of the country, we wouldn’t be needing to rush to re-opening schools as most school children could have Internet access at home and be able to access the school content and be taught remotely.
Currently, this is a privilege of a few.
What we need to do is use this period to re-imagine a better Africa and start rebuilding from there.
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