The term “Third world” is not a product of rules and regulations imposed on us but a mentality, it’s a way of thinking that reflects how people live and govern themselves. You can give them a first world country to live in and in a matter of time they will bring that country down to a third world status.
– Kelvin Namwanza-
As we all know, most African countries were under the western colonial rule. Their mission was to settle In Africa, enjoy some of our wealth and transport some to Great Britain, France etc, so as to enrich themselves.
Part of the agenda as well, was to transform these African countries into being a replica of their colonial masters’ place of origin. Colonized countries were taught to master a particular colonial language, in fact the more you sounded like them the better. Until today Africans do judge each other based on the accents they have, in fact it’s a shame not to know how to speak English if you were colonized by the British, but it’s acceptable in some of the elite African circles for one not to know how to speak their mother tongue. Anyway this is another topic for another day, for now let’s move to the heart of this article.
Those colonized by the British were taught, the so called “English manners”, to speak in a certain way, behave and dress like the them, because wearing African clothes was seen as unprofessional, but all these were deliberate attempts to dissociate us from anything that truly represents us.
I have learnt that, in leadership, any person who tries to diminish your identity, values and beliefs as secondary to his/hers has a hidden agenda that might not be to your advantage. Thus it is imperative to know who you are and what you stand for and never give up your uniqueness.
It’s also quite a sad state of affairs that institutions, such as churches, schools and our family units have failed to play a significant role in transforming individuals and propagating ideals that can aid in unleashing the greatness of Africans. Our education systems are not deliberate enough; our governments have no vision of what kind of citizens they would want to produce from schools. If the continent is to move forward, we have to come to the realization that the mere achievement of degrees are not enough in transforming the backward mentality that exists amongst us.
The Education System
Most African leaders especially those entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the education systems and structures, often only have a vision for students to get good results, and that’s all. But until schools are structured with a vision to produce a certain type of African, who thinks differently and with a mentality good enough to change his/her world for the better, we will not see any real lasting change. How can students be great when the educators themselves possess a “second class” world mentality and the reason some of them are teachers in the first place, is because that’s the only job they could find and not really that they have a passion to impart knowledge. Sadly enough the governments in most African countries have not placed a premium on the kind of teachers they want, yet they expect that someday their countries will rise from ashes to glory.
Most churches in Africa do not serve a purpose that enriches their members but have rather become oppressive, divisive and in my view the next form of oppression is “Spiritualization”. The church that was supposed to play a key role in awakening the potential that lies dormant in most Africans and preach the true gospel that liberates, has failed dismally.
I guess most African preachers have not self–actualized. A lot of them still function with a “second class” mentality, hence are unable to share teachings that are capable of liberating others but rather thrive in demeaning congregants and especially those who refuse to accept their teachings that are not based on biblical truth, as they are then labelled as rebellious. I pity most African Christians today, as many are being enslaved in the name of Spirituality, I guess colonization also impacted our ability to reason and question. One of the downfalls of having a “second class” mentality is the propensity of those who have it to seek short cuts rather than undergoing the process necessary that enables one to master the system for sustained prosperity. No wonder most Africans have been lured to having an unhealthy dependence on spiritual leaders who promise quick fixes. I am afraid that if the church does not change in Africa, secularism will be the religion of the continent and I hope the Church in Africa, will one day realise its role in determining the future of our Continent.