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Who will tell Africa's story? - lessons from the All Futures Forum

by Ruth Aine - 28 May 2014

programme-coverHappening at Wits University in South Africa is the All Africa Futures Conference. Yesterday started with a rich discussion but also with a lot of questions being asked on what Africa has got to do and needs to do.

There are so many narratives about our dear and lovely continent. But we have no method of qualifying what goes out and what doesn’t. We have no common stand and no common voice to date. And as such, there are so many different point of views being expressed. We have let the elite lead because they have the power and the influence, and maybe so get the opportunity to tell ‘our’ story as a continent, as noted by Dr Rasigan Maharajh. So: who do we want to tell our story to and how do we want to tell it?

Africa has got diverse cultures, due to its 54 countries. But there is a need to look for the very many common points which we share and use them to unite us. And I realize that as time goes on, we all actually have a lot of those and I am optimistic that they could usurp the differences.

“The EU, China and others have a 50-year plan for Africa. Who is driving our plan for development,” said a participant. We have heard about Africa’s Agenda 2063. Does anyone know how it came to be? Or is it a ‘copy and paste’ from somewhere? [I say this because apparently Uganda’s Vision 2040 is a ‘copy and paste’ of Malaysia’s National Plan of Action]. Who spoke on the youth’s behalf? Who spoke on the economists’ behalf? Who spoke on the women’s behalf? Who designed, wrote and breathed life into the Agenda 2063? How inclusive is the agenda? There are more questions than there are answers. But that questions are being asked means that there is a need to have them answered.

What we envision for the future should be what we are comfortable with and what we want for ourselves, and the good thing about that is that there are no limitations. There are no facts in the future. We are able to create what we want to see, that is great, but is also a lot of hard work. History can be a trap but the future can be a safe space, as Aidan Ayekuze shared. The future allows for dreams but then we still have to wake up and make these dreams a reality.

As we wait on Africa to keep rising [Is that not what we are all doing?], we need to take charge of what we want our future to become. This means that we have to take stock on what works for us and what is not working. That requires a lot of honesty too. Our development has got to be planned not stumbled into. And as Dr Alioune Sall, Head of African Futures Institute said: “We need a long term perspective; development cannot take place overnight!” This can only mean that we need to take charge of our affairs: Dream big, work hard and create the Africa we want to see. Only then will we have succeeded in telling our story.

Read some of the tweets fromm the All Africa Futures Forum


Ruth Aine Tindyebwa
Blogger/Online Communications

Read her personal blog; IN DEPTH which is at www.ruthaine.com

Read more about the author and her view on being a futurist.



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