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Our new Africa, how strange?

By Victor Agi

Ubuntu, loosely translated as humanity, is a Bantu term among the Zulu speaking people in Southern African that encapsulated the African notion of existence which is the universal bond of sharing that connects humanity, irrespective of their origin. This was the identity of the African man and represented a sharp contrast from the Western philosophical foundation of “I-exist”, that is, the notion of individualism.

This ontological explanation of how the African man interrelates with his community is the basis for the philosophical belief of “we –existence” or ubuntu. It is a humanist ideology meaning: “I am, because, we are”; a belief in a universal bond sharing that connects all humanity, that is, humanity towards others.

The foregoing explications offer dual understanding of the traditional African man: he is a man that attributes his ‘beingness’ and achievements to the direct and indirect contributions of his neighbours and the community at large. The community has a moral obligation to empathise and sympathise with the “African man” towards the realization of individual and communal goal, hence, humanity is a quality we owe each other. The twin side of this belief is the commonality of interest on how the African man lives with each other; community dwellers all have vested interest in collective development of the community and how they relate with strangers alike because of common humanity.

The imperative of this background information is to present a clear picture of the extent of deviation and the mismatch that has now become of present-day African society in many respects.

Xenophobic attacks and sheer disregard for common humanity in many African countries have been a source of major concern. Before presenting instances of cases of xenophobic attacks in African countries that has resulted in a sharp shift in Africa’s ontological foundation to a system that is now alien, by every standard, certain imperatives must be pointed out in order to adequately understand where things began to fall apart.

One major imperative that the world has come to embrace for greater interconnectivity is globalization. Globalisation, in the simplest term is the economic, information, knowledge, socio-political, cultural, digital exchanges between countries of the world, which is primarily facilitated by developments in information technologies (internet), the consequent of which is today the “global family”.

The importance of globalisation to world trade/economies and peaceful exchange between countries, inter alia, cannot be overemphasized. However, one consequential impact of globalization in an heterogeneous global community is actual and perceived fear of cultural homogeneity. Cross cultural exchange or what is commonly known as transfer of culture between nations of the world must necessarily mean that the ‘weaker’ cultures suffer imposition and gradual extinction. Today, the popular belief is that the United States of America has become the police of the world, as it is held that it directly or indirectly dictates what others should think, believe and act.

While this may not be absolute, we cannot deny a fact that some dominant cultures among traditional Africa society have been lost to the forces of globalization, among which is the ubuntu philosophy.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in their report of the World’s Unemployment and Social Outlook puts it that the 2018 unemployment rate in Africa is expected to be at the region of 7.2 percent, while the numbers of unemployed are projected to increase due to the region’s high level of labour force growth. Of great concern too, the report also notes that more than one in three workers is living in conditions of extreme poverty, while almost three out of four workers are in vulnerable employment. These conditions are expected to worsen if positive growth are not recorded in successive years.

“…we cannot deny a fact that some dominant cultures among traditional Africa society have been lost to the forces of globalization, among which is the ubuntu philosophy.”

The above submissions by ILO depict the unemployment scenarios in many African countries. In the two biggest economies in Africa (South Africa and Nigeria), the unemployment figures in the last quarter of 2018 were put at 27.1 % and 23.1% respectively according to expert figures, and this resonates in majority of African countries. It’s therefore a natural phenomenon and not surprising to see a surge in human movement between nations in Africa and beyond, where it is presumed that life’s expectancy will be relatively better.

When the pressure on the receiving nation becomes unbearable, is it possible that anything that defines humanity and the traditional African man will be jettisoned?

More so, the continent today is projected as the fastest growing in population. This mounts a significant pressure on available resources which in most cases cannot cater for indigenous habitat.

In a staggering 2015 UN population projection for African, the continent is projected to double its figure by the year 2050; from the current estimated figure of 1.2 billion to around 2.5 billion people, representing a growth of current 16% to 25% by 2050 as a result of inexorable population growth indicators.

The population boom which is not met by corresponding economic growth and development continues to put weight on the continent. The far-reaching implication of this uncontrolled population growth is that future generation of Africa will more than ever compete endlessly for survival amidst lean resources, or rather untapped human and natural resource. Whether this will change remains a quagmire that we will all get to know in years to come.

Lastly on this note is what many have considered as the fundamental issue of African underdevelopment; failed government. The continent has been most unfortunate in terms of its political leadership. Although it has been proven that the continent is well endowed and positioned to be the prosperity capital of the world, successive governments and seat tight leaders alike in Africa have failed to harness her rich heritages to better the lots of the masses. There is, largely, a leadership model and narrative that is inept and lack the foresights to redirect the abysmal failures of the continent.

Today, concerned by the continued and most embarrassing situation that has brought the continent under perpetual state of destitution in many regards, we have seen uprisings in some countries in Africa forcing a change in government. In Algeria, an ailing President, Abelaziz Bourteflika was only forced out of office after twenty years with really no tangible contribution to the per capital of a richly endowed country. A similar scenario played out days ago in Sudan where what began as an unrest over economic instability and stunted growth resulted in the toppling of Omar al-Bashir nearly thirty years rule by the military.

The recurrent explanation for these power thirsty shows across the continent as reported in BBC News is aptly captured in the words of Awad Ibn Auf, the defence minister of Sudan, who in a state broadcast attributed Bashir’s ouster to “poor management, corruption, and an absence of justice”. The vast of the population are largely cut off from the dividends of their common heritages, while clueless and selfish political office holders and their cronies feast on the collective endowment.

The above causative factors, among others, are responsible for the disappearance of the African value systems, which has resulted in many vices that are hitherto not known to the continent and betrayed the very essence of the African man and the very principles ubuntu.

Xenophobic attacks in South Africa have now become the new normal for a couple of years. There has been an upsurge of cases of lynching of other African nationals in the most despicable and inhumane fashion and clearly shows the heights of Africans’ cruelty to fellow Africans for reasons not unconnected to ethnic/national based discrimination and competition for available resources. Since the high-level xenophobic attack in 2008, South Africa has seen successful successive attacks against other African nationals, either as a result of continued local and regional governments’ negligence and their lack of political will to address the situation or the sheer resolve by these “unafrican” breeds to continue their irrational dislike and fear for people of other descent.

Also, in Ghana, there were also media reports of intolerance and discrimination against Nigerian traders at Kumasi market. This particular occurrence was unprecedented giving the role of ECOWAS in the region, especially the push for common currency and unilateral trade arrangement aimed at streamlining commercial activities in the region for greater productivity.

The aforementioned cases, in the estimation of some people, are only a microcosm of the scourge of inter-ethnic/interracial intolerance and/or xenophobia that characterized the new Africa, and indeed, the rest of humanity.

From earlier submissions, globalization which has resulted in the influx of cultures originally not known to the local people; increased unemployment rate that has left the largely “lazy” indigenous people in abject penury; population growth which has render greater number competing for infinitesimal opportunities, and then the ultimate failure of governments of these countries, all fuel these irrational fear and dislike for fellow human.

Unfortunately, this is our new Africa. Whether it is possible to regain the values and ideals of the African man remains an herculean task going by the current standard and scale of assimilation of outlandish and preposterous cultures.

What cannot be denied however is our common humanity. Insomuch that it’s justifiable to pressure Africa governments to fix the continent, and there is no gainsaying rhetoric in this regard to address fundamental problems ravaging the continent, the ultimate remedy lies with humanity; until Africans begin to see their brother as one of them, we have just begun the journey to this strange and new Africa that is doomed.

“…the ultimate remedy lies with humanity; until Africans begin to see their brother as one of them, we have just begun the journey to this strange and new Africa that is doomed.”

The writer, Victor Agi is an Abuja based Public Relations & Communication practitioner, a content developer and a researcher.

 

 

Do Africans Learn?

Photo credit: EducationCounsel

By Orodiran Oluwatosin

Learning is one of the cognitive factors that aid societal development. Psychologists have proved several times that the major key to both intra and inter personal development is learning. This world is wired on what and how well people can learn to better themselves. Tracing the biblical account of creation, we can quickly discover that the genesis of this world was brilliantly primitive. The man and other creations were in their basic elementary forms. Nothing better could be seen as compared to our present beautiful universe. We must agree that in the account of creation, there is a mandatory responsibility that gives men access to make a new desired world. In the inference, we know that men are naturally made to work on themselves and their society; hence we are where we are today. Yet, this shows that we need to improve on the structure we have today in order to leave a more conducive universe for generations to come.

When we check across some advanced continents, we can discover that they give their society to constant learning. All these continents (Europe, Asia, North America etc.) understand that human beings can’t manifest their full potential without learning. They give more attention to education both in formal and informal settings. However, it does not seem to work like this in Africa where we put so much energy into celebrating mediocrity. We give ourselves to hard work more than we do to learning, believing that’s the most imperative thing about life. This is obvious in the kind of attention that our government pays on education. The school settings, curriculum, environment, and academic motivations are very low. Therefore, we can draw this sad conclusion that we are not really learning.

However, it does not seem to work like this in Africa where we put so much energy into celebrating mediocrity.

ARE WE REALLY LEARNING?

There are logical focuses of learning. One of them is aimed at settling the problem of illiteracy. This affords people the ability to read and write alone. This learning process gives people access to world of books. We can communicate using encoded signs and symbols (language). This has helped this world in many cases. It helps to

have proper documentation of events and occurrences.  All of us have access to the past, cultures of other people, languages and accounts of so many events because we have proper method of documentation. We can say this phase of learning opens door to other aspects.

But as good as this sounds, there are many things that this process of learning will not offer if we don’t step it up. Knowing how to read and write will not liberate us and our society unless we make conscious efforts to inflame what literacy offers. Africa has been termed as a dark continent because it’s believed that Africans don’t really learn. We just focus on how to read and write but we don’t put our consecration on developmental learning i.e. learning that influences all facets of our life. We could wonder how our institutions continue to produce graduates who cannot give new look to themselves and their society. This is why the African society has been suffering retardation. There are no obvious technological innovations, scientific inventories, political facelifts and moral developments. We trust ourselves to common knowledge of living, whereas, the real learning should be centered on developing people’s mental capacity, increasing the mode and ways of thinking of the people and interlink these to better our day to day affairs. The sincere truth of this is that there is no personal and inter personal development without these engagements. Now, how do we enter into this phase of learning?

The first thing is that people have to come to the understanding that there is more to learning than literacy. We have to grow in the area of personal learning that will be targeted at self-discovery, self-growth and self-development. The capacity of any society is measured by the intellectual capacity of the people in such society.

The government should also help to provide an advantageous method, mode and environment of learning. The academic curriculum should be revised to accommodate more practical-scientific-oriented programs and courses that will develop people’s mental power.

In addition, all of us should come to the realization that there many opportunities to learn every day. The Internet is one major place of learning, we can visit Google to get any information we want, download and read as many materials we like and share our ideas for other people to access. We can visit bookstores and local libraries to turn some pages. When we read, we give ourselves a better advantage to power our knowledge.

Above all, we should go out each day with the mindset to learn a new thing, develop ourselves, get a new way of doing things, give sound opinions that can change our world and a mindset to have access to adequate information. We are always at a great disadvantage when we refuse to learn more. Ask yourself “Have I learned anything new today?”

 

INTERVIEW: Why being a female in Nigerian Music Industry is not easy- Amarachi, Afro Pop Artiste

Hers is a truism of Oprah Winfrey’s assertion: “The greatest adventure you can ever make is living the life of your dreams.” Born in Awka Etiti, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State; she had one major dream: To change the world through music.

Meet Amachukwu Amarachi Mercy, 21, a final-student of Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), in Enugu State.

In this chat with CRISPNG.COM, the talented artiste talks about her foray into music, achievements, challenges and dreams for years ahead.

Excerpts:

CRISPNG: What inspires your music career?

My major inspiration comes from my desire to make an impact in the Nigerian Music Industry.

I have always loved singing so, I want to make an impact in the Music Industry through Afro pop style of music. My voice was never pleasant from the scratch but through perseverance and determination to get over who discouraged me about my voice, I was able to create and fine-tune my voice which makes it pleasant. 

CRISPNG: What do you intend achieving with your music? 

I want to change the world by bringing music to the grassroots; reawakening Africa’s fading cultures, values, norms and the blacks generally. Also, through music, I want to give back to the society by building a charity foundation for the less privilege in the society. I will also love to build schools so as to increase the chances of people going to school in Nigeria and Africa as a whole so as to eliminate the level of illiteracy.

CRISPNG: Who are your favourite artistes in Nigeria? 

Yemi Alade (Mama Africa), Tiwa Savage, Wizkid and Tekno 

CRISPNG: What are your dreams in the next 10 years? 

I want to be among top five musician in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. I also want to be known internationally and worldwide, with determination and hardwork. 

CRISPNG: What’s your assessment of music generally in Nigeria…are they making impact? 

Well, music now is basically rock and roll music. It is either Shaku Shaku or Gwara Gwara song dance, which is actually good but then the likes of Fela Kuti, Osondu Owendu, among others have been going down slowly so my duty as a musician is to modify and restructure those patterns of music into a modern style and refer people back to the old through creativity.

CRISPNG: What are your achievements so far and what are you working on now?

Actually, I won Mass Communication Got Talent organized by the department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 2017. I also won UN VOICE Enugu State in 2017. I have also produced 4 singles but by next year I intended making my first album. Am currently working on my latest song titled TONIGHT.

CRISPNG: What are the challenges so far? 

My major challenge as an upcoming artiste comes from the producers. This is because they always demand one thing or the other, different from our major aim of working together. Most of them do bring up relationship issues. So, being a lady or woman in Nigerian Music Industry is not really easy. For one to get there, she has to muster the courage to defy the odds to be able to rise to lime light in the Music Industry. 

Most of them do bring up relationship issues. So, being a lady or woman in Nigerian Music Industry is not really easy.

CRISPNG: Finally, what’s your advise to Nigerian youths? 

Be strong, fight till you achieve your goal. Do not give up. Live the life of your dreams because that is the only thing that will make you happy in life. Do not be discouraged. Always remember to believe in what you can do and how you will do it to get to the top because the truth is no one actually care about you. It depends on you to prove people wrong by being the best in everything you put your hands on. Thanks

 

 

When fashion goes crazy

Photo Ceedit: Hot Naija Gossip

By Ikenna Amadi

The whole conference hall was gulfed with classy beings as all eyes gazed at an eloquent speaker, who adorned a well fitted suit which exuded panache and bliss, as his well body glued his outfit.  All eyes focused on him, largely because of his unique dress sense, and then came the bomb, a young lady was introduced to share the podium with this fashionista.

Her elegant steps betrayed her lewd outfit, her grace was in stark contrast of her evoking presence. Every step she took to the podium evoked murmurs from the seated guests, while I stayed in my corner, eyes popped open at this fashion terrorism being thrown at everyone.

I could feel the lustful eyes of some youths, scavenging her cleavages, which were in full glare, her short gown, which were slightly below her inner thighs, her gown so tightly fitted that it brought out all her contours, with her well-shaped buttocks, giving her backside a luscious shape.

Her gown was painfully too short!

I had to pinch myself to be sure that I was still in a networking business conference and not a hip-hop music video or a clubhouse. As the young lady continued her sexual terrorism on an audience that were sadly in a blissful rendition, my mind began to wander at how moral decadence has become a norm in our society today.

When the great Socrates prophesied that a time would come in the lives of humanity, when men would walk like gods, he was never projecting his mirrored thoughts on the future evolution of humans showing animalistic tendencies with their dressings. The world has evolved, gone are those days, when the coverage of the body was a fascinating sight, these days they are mere redundant and symbols of mockery as fashion has gone crazy.

The African society whose richness in morality has gradually turned into a mimetic history due to the imperialism of the western world, has seen the African norm, defaced with a luscious crudity redefined as fashion and Nigeria has been a pinnacle for this harvest of moral mishap.

The Nigerian society has been filled with so many dressings that has shown our misguided projection of the western way of life, stemming from outfits that reveal sensitive parts of our bodies and disfigured clothes which is in stark comparisons to what beings of insanity wear.

Our women folks have been the one of the major protagonists of this overwhelming insanity that has evaded the fashion world. Every single day, we see the female folks on an explosive craze for fashion. These days, the sight of skimpy dresses, cleavages in full glare and lustful outfits among women has become a general norm,

What baffles my sense, is the way in which this madness has been reared its ugly head in churches. These days, we see woman go to church with short skimpy skirts or gowns, tight clothes that exposes sensitive contours, cleavages plastering their images in our five senses, and one wonders, if this terrorism is aimed at the divinity of God.

The massive craze for body revelation among women as fashion is what has become a culture and its memes continues to exude worry. One wonders what has happened to the sanity of women as every single day, the continued luscious dressings of female celebrities doesn’t help matters at all.

The continued imperialism on every fabric of our society has made our female celebrities appear as sex idols with their sexual provocative outfits, which has been accepted by the society. It is looking crystal clear that if one does not reveal sensitive parts, her talent won’t sell. The height of sexual terrorism in fashion is always a highlight reel in premieres, award galas, social events, clubs or even weddings. It is a huge shame that the latter has turned into a safe haven to this barbaric culture. There have been cases where the bride has revealed so much with her wedding outfit in receptions that one begins to wonder if the matrimonial rites of honeymoon had already begun in full glare of the public. The bride’s cleavages showing is now an iconic malaise in weddings today.

One cannot exhaust the fashion malaise that has invaded our society today, as youths are the biggest culprits. There is no point, pointing out the dress sense of students in tertiary institutions today, because, they have turned our institutions into a charlatan of fashion sodomy.

Our men are not left out in this fashion mishap, as the reigning scissors cut jean is gradually an everyday sight. One wonders, when the drive for a maddened dress sense has suddenly become appealing to the eyes as there is no difference between a mad person who wears a tattered cloth and the irritating scissored jeans seen among guys and also females. Insanity is looking like a norm!

There is no point, pointing out the dress sense of students in tertiary institutions today, because, they have turned our institutions into a charlatan of fashion sodomy.

So many solutions have been postulated by people to eradicate this ill in the society, but one must affirm that the decadence is looking incurable with sophistication and immorality now looking like an enshrined constitution. With cultural imperialism shaping up daily, the fashion dung keeps generating more ills among our people. It is a regeneration process and sadly, we are now fashion mutants in these flawed memes.

So many solutions have been postulated by people to eradicate this ill in the society, but one must affirm that the decadence is looking incurable with sophistication and immorality now looking like an enshrined constitution.

Leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition party,Tvasangirai dies after battle with cancer

By Ifeanyi Onyekere Mandela

The leader of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, Morgan Tvasangirai died in South Africa on Wednesday 14th, after a battle with cancer.

His death came barely eight days after he was diagnosed of colon cancer.

The 65 year old Tvsangirai who founded the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC in 2000 fought against one of the Africa’s most powerful and power sit-tight presidents, Robort Mugabe who was ousted in a dramatic coup in December 2017 after his suspension by his Zanu-PF party over allegations that he wanted to foist his wife, Grace as on the party as his successor.

Mr. Tvsangirai challenged the erstwhile president Mugabe who has been in power since the country’s independent in 1980. Tvsangirai garnered 47.8% above Mugabe who scored 43.2%. He later refused to take part in the second run off claiming that the results had been altered in the months before they were announced. According to BBC reports , “In the 2008 election, Mr Tsvangirai gained the most votes in the first round , but not enough to win outright.” This brought about political stalemate in the politically fragile country adjudged as one of the poorest in the continent.

Following condemnations from different countries and international bodies, a power sharing agreement deal was reached in 2008 in which Tvsangirai would serve as prime minister. His landslide lost to Mugabe in 2013 election further deepened division and uprise against the government.

The father of seven lost his first wife Susan Mhundwa in a road accident which he too was involved in 2009. He married Elizabeth Macheka in 2011.

There have been cracks in the MDC, but the death of it’s leader would pose another challenge especially in this year’s election against the ruling Zanu-Pf party.