MBARARA – Africa’s population is vividly one of the World’s youngest. With nearly 60% of the Africans being under the age of 25, the poor continent continues to face challenges of containing her children active and productive.
There is a difficulty of deciding what cultures we have to take to be truly African. Do we, for example, take the Islamic North Africa to be on par with Africa south of the Sahara? How about the various cultures in the whole of Africa? Historically, whom do we consider to be African? How far above History do we go? In Africa, we have underlying similarities which are discernible in the cultures and thought systems of African peoples. This underlying cultural identity, experience, and orientation should provide justification for referring to ideas produced by thinkers from various African nations and communities as African. These ideas need not to be shared by all Africans for them to be African, they need only to be reflective, analytical and give response to basic conceptual issues in the African cultural experience.
The question of language in Africa is a salient issue to discuss. Often, analysis is carried out in foreign language, a language both structurally different from the African language in which our concepts originally occur, and that is rooted in the life of a different culture. The Europeans emphasized the primitive and non- logical nature of African thinking. For example, Immanuel Kant, in his Theory of Magnificent, stated that there are four races of people of whom the blacks/ Negroes (Africans) are spiritually inferior and not intelligent.
Most young Africans have been breastfed on false beliefs that the continent has got nothing good to offer to her children. This has prompted many to search for greener pastures in other parts of the world. A good number has been fled and at times trafficked to the Middle East. Another group has gone an extra mile to risk their lives through the great Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea into Europe in anticipation of better jobs.
The challenge comes as a result of having an education that defines its graduands as black Europeans in Africa. It gives them European theories on white-collar jobs instead of the practical part of blue collar jobs that are widely manifested in Africa’s economy. Like this, the colonialist objective that Africans hate their own is passed onto each generation. The youth perceive such great opportunities like agriculture as punishments. They continue to see the West as a centre of all the best. Yet our own are only one step back because of being neglected.
However, Africa has got it all to see that young people live their dreams without escaping from their motherland. The continent has a diversity of opportunities. For example, the fertile soils for Agriculture and the various cultures that shape different talents in unique ways.
Investing in an education that really defines us as Africans but also keeping us fit for the global village, can help us apply today’s science and technology to our immediate environment for a better Africa. The new technology is needed to boost Africa’s strengths like agriculture and talents such as music for efficiency in production. In that way we also offer back to Africa. Our health becomes paramount and ought to be kept in good conditions for proper production. Knowledge and skills that apply to the immediate African environment are a prerequisite for development. This is the human capital that is principal for economic development.
Julius Domba is a second-year student at Mbarara University and Aloysius Kayita is a seminarian at Katigondo major national seminary