Thu, Jul 28, 2016
The peasants sell wealth such as cows and land, to have their children enjoy the quasi-privilege of University education only to resort to the same wealth that supported their education, to also support their post-university life.
One evening, a look at the prevailing implementation mechanics of the parochial, ad hominem, misguided and money-wasting government wealth-creating program in my home country, Uganda, not only left me appalled but inspired me to transmute my anger and rage to a more developmental idea of teaching Africans how to create wealth using this platform at my exposure.
The pathetic repertoire by Africans to indulge in wastage, especially spear headed by the self-inerrant leaders whose existence in office is globally contested, could not let my ingenuity rest without synthesizing a solution to this predicament which many Africans have, paradoxically speaking, found enjoyable. That evening was one of those rare moments where one ought to see the positive aspects in their negative surroundings.
Mother nature knows that, for any cycle of abundance to continuously yield mutual benefits, the constituent participants in the cycle ought to feed each other. This is even true starting with the most trivial but crucial cycles of your well-being in your very body, in which you live. If you don’t take care of your body by feeding appropriately, you shouldn’t complain if you are not getting creative and industrious thoughts that are in turn meant to nurture the body in one way or another, and the cycle continues.
In Africa, there is an overwhelming asymmetry in not only the wealth distribution patterns but also the wealth creation avenues. Much as the pathetic asymmetry in wealth distribution patterns is not endemic to Africa alone, the asymmetry in the wealth creation avenues is solely and profoundly an African predicament. It is considerably and arguably an African trade mark!
When it comes to the wealth distribution patterns, the asymmetry is skewed towards the self-centered few, especially self-aggrandized power wielders. When it comes to wealth creation avenues, Africa has successfully and abundantly consumed its innate wealth predisposition of minerals, of course with some “stolen” by the west, yet we have pervasively failed to create more wealth creation avenues like nurturing and harnessing the intrinsic creativity of the human resource.
The mundane and trivial fact that an “uneducated”, African villager can learn how to ride a bicycle without knowing the laws of motion and aerodynamics, is an often missed (probably because it is trivial) powerful message from mother nature about our intrinsic, godsend creativity that is buried in the throes of rote learning at college and or university. The retarding, practical consequences of our education reveal the endemic, theoretical deficiencies of our education curricula.
This is where one wonders whether education is the key to open our capabilities or to lock them, or whether the original padlocks have been changed! This is where one wonders whether going to university is more or less a social, modern ritual, inspired by our inescapable need to belong, to fit in and or dance to the tunes of bandwagon-ism. This is where one wonders what the essence of research in African universities is.
From a more intricate perspective, the peasants sell off their inherited wealth such as cows and land in order to have their children enjoy the quasi-privilege of University education and or any other education service only to be disappointed in the end, when they have to go back to the same wealth that supported their education, to also support their post-university livelihood. As if that’s not enough, on a more exploded level of the governance in countries themselves, governments sell off national treasures like oil, gold and other minerals to invest in university education infrastructure.
Instead of creating avenues for wealth creation, such parochial and often misguided investments only end up creating avenues for rote learning, short-sighted ineffectual research that is mainly aimed at fortifying the curricula-vitae of the perpetrators, creating profusely egoistic, economically insignificant, unenlightened elites, outlandish governance policies among other loathsome returns a bad investment would yield.
This over dependence on our innate endowment of wealth without a counter creation of more wealth, is not only arguably the reason Africa is still under developed (if we consider development to mean having a wealth creating human resource) but also why we need a paradigm shift in that regard.
A skeptic or an ad hominem pundit could ask me about what wealth I’ve created for Africa and or my country, Uganda. My first rebuttal to such a naïve, ego encapsulated inquiry, would be to show the skeptic that the answer is right under their nose. By writing this article, I am already stirring up a wealth-creating, global awareness and since change always begins in our awareness, and our lives are a product of our awareness, this article is potentially poised to trigger awakening in an intentional, objective reader out there. Since skeptics are often intransigent when it comes to their opinions and they love the comfort of their short-sightedness, so would not fall for the first rebuttal, I would give a second one that we could partner and I show them how to embody the notion of creatively creating wealth.
When you study the American community, the wealthiest on the planet, you actually realize that wealth creation doesn’t take super-physical predilections, wealth creation programs and meta ideas among the citizenry. Much as they also face the predicament of asymmetrical wealth distribution, the Americans have a citizenry that has managed to harness the power of one-pointed, intentional, unwavering thinking.
They have quintessentially shown the difference between thinking and doing. An American will think of how to create, and therefore create an un-impenetrable i-phone body and software, afterwards taking the assembly process of doing, to China and or Europe, thereby blinding the gullible African to the reality of subtle American Ingenuity. Of course we may not have every African engaging in creative thinking but the problem is we are largely inclined to do than to think. We need to start thinking creatively. That is the essence of my call.
To liken it to a fable, an American would rather take nine hours sharpening the axe so as to cut the tree in one hour than to take one hour sharpening the axe so as to cut the tree in nine hours. This temperament to endure and sustain formidable, fruitful thinking is the only asset the United States of America citizenry have more of than any other nation except Israel. All the other materialistic things such as gold, oil, coal, timber are in Africa, just as they are in the USA.
I know there is a right argument that America is a gadfly, pervasive imperialistic nation, but I would counter-argue that instead of us Africans succumbing to such fear-laden, quasi-superiority, we should be inspired and motivated by it to use our education institutions to nurture unbiased, morally upright pan-African thinkers, who are able to counter this feared-for-nothing imperialism, in a cunning and smart way (after all that is what thinkers do), so that we escape the throes of the predicament I talked about. It is more or less like how the fire benefits from the wind’s movement.
So, dear Africans, let us be an inextinguishable fire that benefits from the wind of imperialism but not a candle that gets blown off by it. You might want to join me in the realm of thinkers. Go Africa!
Edrine Habasa is an autodidact bridge engineer, dialectician and knowledge enthusiast. He's also a debunker of falsehoods as he champions the truth.