It’s not often that you hear people remark about how proud they are to be African! Most of the time, we think there’s really not all that much to celebrate on the continent, what with recurring wars, drought and famine.
Given the incessant media coverage of all things wrong in Africa, can people really be blamed for feeling despair, hopelessness and sometimes even shame, when it comes to Africa?
Of course, there’re others, including various international celebrities, who’re doing their best to change negative perceptions about the continent. But even at the heart of some of these good intentions lies the assumption that Africans cannot help themselves. There’s often an undercurrent that suggests that, without hand-outs and political guidance from those ‘more developed’ than us, we’re completely incapable of creating a formidable future.
But beyond the wildlife and safaris, is there anything that Africans can be proud of? Where does our greatest contribution to humanity lie?
I actually believe that one of Africa’s greatest treasures lies in the people themselves! Of course, there’re stereotypes being peddled, of Africans being lazy, corrupt and sometimes even brutal. That’s why they butcher each other over natural resources; and plunder their states’ wealth to the detriment of their fellow Africans, or so the story goes.
Setting this senseless rhetoric aside, I think it’s important to remind ourselves of why Africans are worthy of being great, the same as anyone else.
I believe that it’s precisely because the continent has experienced so much suffering that it has a unique and wonderful contribution to make to the world. Out of the greatest setbacks often come the greatest achievements!
Africa has no shortage of dramatic and compelling examples of things we do not want. Now, if only we could use that to bring what we do desire into sharper focus; and work on it until we achieve it, we’d produce remarkable results. Remember; if we can conceive and believe it, we can achieve it. Nothing is impossible.
If you still need convincing that you, as an African, are destined for great things; and that they can materialise right here on this continent, then I encourage you to reflect on the name A-F-R-I-C-A itself. What does it stand for?
A- ALLOW goodness to flow into your life. Because of the struggle and strife that many of us are surrounded with, it’s rare to find people who know that they’re born worthy; and that when they ask, it is always given. We need to let go of our resistance to the good that can flow into our lives; and realise that well-being is our natural way of being.
Further, APPRECIATE the good that already exists in your life. There’re plenty of amazing things in Africa, the problem is our predominantly negative focus. If we want to change our lives for the better, we need to change our beliefs, one positive thought at a time. When we look for the good around us, it will start to multiply.
Also, be AUTHENTIC; and proud of who you are. Don’t look up or down on people because of their social status. See everyone around you as worthy. Practice ‘botho;’ or the ‘humanity’ that Africans are so famed for.
F ÔÇô Be FORWARD LOOKING ÔÇô while we can’t do anything about our past, we can determine our future. Albert Einstein said; “logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Don’t waste time regretting how much we could have been. Mine your imagination for ideas of how much more we still could be, and do; and create a brighter future from that positive standpoint.
R- Africans are RESILIENT. Every African has scintillating stories of how they’ve managed to bounce back from setbacks. No matter how many times life knocks us down, we have an incredible knack for survival; and an insatiable appetite for life. We never, ever, give up!
I – INNOVATIVE leadership is abundant on the continent. We’ve been blessed with visionary leaders who fought for our independence and freedom from foreign rule. We have icons like Nelson Mandela and Sir Ketumile Masire who embody peace. They lead by example and inspire through their character, passion and ability foster democratic rule.
They also remind us that as Africans, while we should seek peaceful co-existence and co-creation with others, also have the ability to structure sustainable solutions to our own problems.
C- We CREATE our own reality. If we don’t like the reality that we’ve been living, it’s up to us to change it by choosing more positive thoughts. We are the ‘visionaries’ and ‘action-aries’ of our own lives. We must fixate on our dreams and watch the Universe bring them to manifestation, as we help create them through our action.
A – Africa ARISE! “Shine for your light has come.” Isaiah 60:1. The good news is: the world is not getting worse, it’s getting better! We cannot regress, or become less than we already are. Our natural human trajectory is growth and improvement.
No challenge is EVER too great to overcome. Remember: God lives within each one of us; and if we have challenges, we also have the means to overcome them.
We should use any obstacle as a platform to help us identify what we do not want; turn the other cheek, as Jesus said; and focus our attention and efforts on what we do want.
That’s the great opportunity in obstacles ÔÇô they allow us to demonstrate not only that they can be overcome, but that they can be used to create beautiful works.
Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” The time for us to shine has come, so what are we waiting for?
Make it a great week!
*Primrose Oteng is a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) and the Founder of the Positive Peace Project, an organization dedicated to creating positive change through personal empowerment. For more information on how we can assist you or your company, please visit: www.positivepeaceproject.co.bw