• A demeanor without interest, two ultimate realities vie for our approval

    In Africa, of late, it is easy to be apathetic because it does not require any kind of reasoning and or analysis. Apathy is not a thoughtful evaluation that says, “I really don’t think that this is worth pursuing.” It is vividly defined as a fortified “Do not disturb!” to anything around you ranging from people to opportunities. It is an emotional, Saturday afternoon nap. Apathy is a break up text from your desires to your world view. Call it the “I don’t care attitude” if you want. In Africa, issues of marriage, economics & finance, spirituality, politics, church, culture among others have been met with a severely interest-lacking attitude by the Africans. The reading culture is wanting, the debating and deliberation culture is wanting, no wonder sayings such as “if you want to hide anything from an African, put it in writing” were concocted. Africans, especially youths aged between 18 and 35 years are torn between the prongs of two realities. The reality of solving the above mentioned issues and the reality of discovering themselves better in life. This battle between these prevailing realities has birthed in the Africans an attitude of surrender and or give up.

    I engaged in a self-initiative to discover how willing the youths in Makerere University (in Kampala, Uganda) were to take part in nation building and solution formulation. My ears were met with remarks revealing a sense of apathy. The students were only interested in leaving the campus after graduation to go and do what some called “sketching a life”. The students could not justify their refusal to indulge in nation building. Those who attempted to justify owed their behavior to self-centered management of the university and nation at large. This syndrome is further seen among many other Ugandans who have given up taking part in any kind of activity aimed at yielding ideas for the nation. A glance at Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sudan, reveals how the citizens in these countries have unanimously decided to either get rebellious towards any reform or succumb to the prevailing adversaries there. This kind of detachment from thought before action is eating up thousands of Africans hence the continent at large.

    Altruistic leaders are needed to end this sense of apathy

    Just like philanthropy, altruism is too elusive for many leaders in Africa to practice. One cannot really see the benefit in this highly praised virtue of a leader. If only leaders in Africa could lead with a sense of selflessness, it would give the subordinates a great challenge to emulate their leaders hence a chain link of great virtues would be created. By leaders, I mean all leaders starting from the small institutions in Africa such as universities. A leader is as influential as a habit. So there is a significant chance of the masses emulating his character. For example, in the United States of America, people emulate Barrack Obama’s eloquence and articulation skills. Bad vices can be emulated too! For example, some Africans believe in Robert Mugabe’s arrogance as a way to end the disguised colonialism in our midst.

    So, if we have well dedicated and altruistic leaders, the masses will have a contact with the prevailing issues hence apathy will be minimized. More still, the education policies in Africa need to be enhanced with rather strict, enticing and involving curricula. This can be through introducing essay-writing competitions about issues at hand, tabloids for schools from the grass roots especially starting with primary schools to universities among other rich programs. This will strengthen the resolve and interest of the students who will later carry on the promising attitude leading to a nurturing of prodigies who will have transformative ideas for the continent instead of withdrawing from society, hidden in their apathy cocoons.


    (Image credit: Reuters)