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The 21st Century African

By Hazel Queen Makiseni

Africa has always been labelled as the “dark continent”. Was it because of our dark skin since black is always associated with evil or was it because we are thought as unremarkable? I have always wondered Being African in the 21 st century starts in our mind, there is a need for mind renewal. It starts by acknowledging our background and not dwelling on it but accepts the change that is along the way. It begins by knowing that the future of Africa is in our hands. We should look beyond the labels we were given for instance the “Dark Continent”. Yes, our past was dark but our future as Africa is bright. As Africans, we should be optimistic. Our optimism should come from engaging the good times and surviving the bad times. Through optimism, Africa can never lose hope that in its own time and in its own way it will have a bright future.
Embracing our culture and traditions is what makes an African in the 21 st century. We should participate in our vibrant traditions and cultures. Being proud of who we are and our background as we move towards the betterment of Africa. We should be proud of our dark skin and stop using bleaching chemicals as we try to have the skin colour of the whites. As Africans, we should be able to stand before other continents and showcase what we have. In embracing who we are other continents will embrace us also and the development will African will evolve.

It is good and advisable to know other nation’s languages so that we connect with the rest of the world. As the 21 st century Africans we should love and speak our mother language. It is beautiful and it will complete our cultural personality. Our mother languages define who we are. Being African in the 21 st century means putting our economies on the move. It means working together as a team in reviving our economy. As Africans, we should cooperate in building infrastructures in our continents. A heart of volunteerism should emerge in us. In volunteering, we will work together supporting our government in making Africa a better home. As Africans of the 21 st century, we should create our economic future. We should encourage small businesses and manufacturers to thrive and create jobs. Rebuilding African leadership is what makes Africans in the 21 st century. We should be able to step down on leadership positions if we are not able to give fruitful ideas anymore. The current leaders should have the ears to hear the ideas of the new generation. As Africans, we should stop blaming the government and start doing something that will change the political climates in most African countries. We should start trusting in our governments. We should start imposing sanctions on each other and unite to become one. The alliances between African countries should be renewed.

As Africans, we should stop looking down upon women but rather help them rise to the top in leadership positions. The only female president that we have ever heard of in Africa is Joyce Banda. A lot of times I come across articles saying, “As so and so country, we are not ready for a female president.” I wonder when we are going to be ready as Africans. When we will stop having sexist mindsets? A wise woman once said, “No country will ever flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contribution of half of its citizens.” It is time to change as Africans of the 21 st century. If anyone has the qualities of a good leader, we should give them the chance to lead despite their sex. In the 21 st century, as Africans, we should stop seeing the girl-child as a source of income. Why should we keep on destroying the future of our girl-child? Why not educate her as how we are educating the boy child? Why kill the future of a potential leader by marrying her off to a man thrice as much as her age as? A wise man said, “If you educate a woman, you educate the whole world.” It is now time for us Africans to do away with child marriages and educate our girl children. Education is the key for our girls to achieve economic independence. Let us empower our girls and see how far we will go as Africa.

Being African means perfecting our union as Africans. Acts like xenophobia should stop. We should be able to strengthen our families. Unity does not start on a big scale. It starts among the family members and then spreads to the whole of Africa. We should be able to fight crime and corruption. Promoting public safety is needed in Africa. Above all, we should intercede for our continent. Quoting the former president of America, Barack Obama, “Yes we can!” If we work together as Africans with the power of our beliefs guiding us, we as Africans of the 21 st century we will reach greater heights.