It’s time to leave the Africa museum


 

Let’s say you are a proud African-American, you know of leaders including Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah and my namesake Jomo Kenyatta. So let’s have a pop quiz. How many leaders of present day African nations do you know? What do you know of how this person came to power? Was it through election, military coup or other violent means? What is the status of HIV and AIDS? For instance, what about the percentage of people between 16 and 60 who are living with HIV or AIDS? Is it on the increase or decrease? What is happening in terms of violence? We know that America is a very violent nation but is that also true of Gabon, Angola, Zimbabwe or Egypt?

Do you know that there are serious people who get paid to know these things and will swear that the presence of fewer than 500 terrorists in Mali poses an imminent threat to the United States and therefore we must intervene? Most people couldn’t find Mali on a map and yet it is the latest pawn in game of international politics.

How many African nations have American bases on their soil? If you are a free and independent nation, why is some foreign power using you as a launching pad for an enemy you don’t know and could care less about?

Africa is a vast and varied continent facing many difficult challenges. As we watch the Olympics, we can see the uneven bars and the balance beams and we ask ourselves, where are the African swimmers? We can marvel at the beauty and strength of Gabby Douglass yet also wish that there was a sister from Algeria on the podium with her.

Africa is not a museum to be worshiped and studied for its past glory. We can salute Lucy, the first ancestor, but we need to pay attention to her descendants in the Congo. I am speaking as one who once admired Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who has long outlived his usefulness as an African freedom fighter. It is time for a new generation of Africans to arise and they need the help of those of us in the Diaspora. Let us light the way for our brown brothers and sisters.

 

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