The danger of assuming distant threats: The reality of the present social problems in Africa.

It has been a great and exciting journey reading through Daniel Goleman’s book- FOCUS – the hidden  driver of excellence. I will start this article with the words of Steven Wolf “we have a strong  cognitive biases towards the present and we are weak thinkers about the long way future”. as quoted  by Goleman. This words led me into thinking about the problems we are facing here in our continent -Africa. It led me probing why exactly poverty is always synonymous with us, it forced me to think why we are the laughing stock of the world when it comes to corruption and impunity.

To me, the only reason remains,the founders of our nations who fought against imperialism  and liberated us from  colonialism were blinded from the reality of the future and its progeny or may  they were just concerned about themselves.  This can be proved by the current social status of most of those families that had contact with the colonial rulers -they are considerably rich. I have noted from different  literature i have read and stories i have heard that  after the Mzungu (white man) left, they went scrambling for what was surrendered. They grabbed enough of what they could and  the rest was either given to their relatives, friends or cronies.

This is the reason why,especially in Kenya we have constant complains about land grabbing, community conflicts and rampant unemployment and i guess terrorism activities.

In sharp contrast with Singapore, the founding father Lee Kuan Yew resisted corruption, favoritism from the word go. He set higher standards for his government officials. He had a dream for his country. That is the reason he emphasized on educating young people. He made it compulsory for some subjects like Social Emotional Learning ( SEL) – one of the key driver of social intelligence- to be taught in schools . In deed he had a vision for his nation and his legacy. Now Singapore is a first world country competing with the US and other developed nations of the world.

As young Africans are our hopes buried? NO! we still have a future, that future is to work toward making our fingerprints cover our footprints ( Developing more solution than the mess that has been caused) as Goleman observes. Paul Polman CEO Unilever says “We have to focus on the social needs which can foster innovation combining it with an expanded field of attention to what people need – conscious capitalism” . It is doable

After working with my fellow young people in Africa, I am impressed by their indomitable spirit towards making lives better. Many are not dreaming of amassing enormous wealth at the expense of the well being of the society. They are more considerate. They are mindful of their brothers and sisters . This we have to guard so that we are not contaminated by the questionable character that has been exhibited the generation before us. However i should say that we need to be open to their advice. But we don’t need to take what they tell us blindly rather we should thoroughly examine their intentions direct or insinuated . We should be conscious of their previous dangerous deeds that have denied  us peace, economic and social freedom by  them clinging  to power for several decades .Then we stand together as social innovators.  stand and say no to their insatiable hunger for power.

We should read the signs of a great revolution. Just like Martin Luther King JR brought out a new perspective of non violent demonstration in  fight against discrimination and  injustice during the civil rights movement in America, social innovation is a new way we can  use to fight against  economic marginalization,  social injustices, corruption and terrorism. Let us immerse ourselves in learning the system and acquire information, develop a strategy and stand to be counted in the third liberation from the messes and super- wicked problems in our continent Africa..


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