Thursday, June 23, 2005

Developed and underdeveloped?

Am still grappling with words that have become the norm when describing, discussing and analysing Africa. Words like, 'black continent, continent in the dark, underdeveloped, information poor... These are but a few of the words that have come to represent my nation and continet over the various decades in society.
But is there such a thing as developed? what is developed?
Are African nations waiting for some 'revolution"?

I think we need to look at ourselves. and define for ourselves what we want. Is it to be like the west.. I sure hope not!! but at the same time , is there anything we can learn from them?
What do we want?

Here is part of a speech by Proffesor Wangari Mathaai during her Nobel ceremony:

"....Initially, the work was difficult because historically our people have been persuaded to believe that because they are poor, they lack not only capital, but also knowledge and skills to address their challenges. Instead they are conditioned to believe that solutions to their problems must come from ‘outside’. Further, ...... They were also unaware that a degraded environment leads to a scramble for scarce resources and may culminate in poverty and even conflict. They were also unaware of the injustices of international economic arrangements.

.....In the process, the participants discover that they must be part of the solutions. They realize their hidden potential and are empowered to overcome inertia and take action. They come to recognize that they are the primary custodians and beneficiaries of the environment that sustains them.

Entire communities also come to understand that while it is necessary to hold their governments accountable, it is equally important that in their own relationships with each other, they exemplify the leadership values they wish to see in their own leaders, namely justice, integrity and trust"

I hope this challanges me and you into doing something for our communities.