I HAVE A DREAM ABOUT THIS CONTINENT.
I wasn’t much exposed to American history when growing up as a lad in Samreboi. I wasn’t introduced to the dreams of Martin Luther King Junior, who even in the midst of sweltering racial injustice and segregation still dreamt that “one day his four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” Now this extraordinary experience would have served as a mountain of encouragement to me if I had read it as a child. But even in the absence of such an inspiring history, I still had a dream haunting my inexperienced mind. It was a dream emanating from the hills and valleys of the African continent. It was a dream that was hanging and rising like the morning mist but soon to vanish when the sun rose. It was a dream that came from the intricate rhythms and dances of our ancestors, the dream from shattered hopes and unsung melodies.
Growing up in a small town located in the western region of Ghana. A place which wasn’t big and being a farming community with Timber and Plywood Company, one could not expect that growing in such an environment will trigger in me much of an expectation greater than what I was born into. Somehow, I felt that I was living in a big city with great magnificence and glory. While walking past mud walls of houses and falling thatched roofs, I still believed that one day my society will be in full bloom like a garden of blossoms in the rainy season. I wasn’t oblivious of the circumstances surrounding me and the people whom I dwelt with. I saw the genuine problems in my society and in my imaginations I saw them as barricades to our progress.
What are some of these problems? Now this is a question that has myriad answers that are even beyond me if I am to list them all. However I find these very ones to be pertinent and must be given close attention. There is lack of integrity in our society. This problem has a plethora of spillover effects on other aspect of our lives as Africans. In the absence of integrity corruption will thrive and the fruit thereof will be the suffering of the vulnerable in our society.
Lack of integrity breeds greed and a situation where an individual only thinks about himself and his family. So a person gets what is needed for him and the rest can go to hell or wherever. We are not ready to build our society for everyone to enjoy from it. We care less about our environment and we exploit it for our personal gains forgetting about the next generation. There are sufferings, diseases, poverty, hopelessness, homelessness, war, and other forms of ills in our society. Is that supposed to be the true nature of our society?
When the founder of our republic gave his independence speech on the podium of the new freedom gained, he articulated that “the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.” Yes we are capable! And that is why I have a dream. I have a dream that one day this continent will rise above its length and height and do what is right for development to occur. I have a dream that one day this continent will eschew evil and all forms of corrupt practices and uphold integrity as the highest code of conduct. I have a dream that there will be revolution in minds and spirits, the foundations of our belief systems will be sieved and shaken, the residue of bad values will be thrown away.
I have dream today that the new generation will know how much to love their nation, and how that love will cost them if they are to fight and make significant changes in their world system. They will stand tall and look forward to that promise given to them by their forefathers; they will rise like mountains and crush all ills and wrongs in their society.
For Africa to be a great nation this must become true, the youth of the Continent must see the poor situation in which they find themselves in, and make conscious effort to bring developments to their land. The young must be taught that the continent need to grow and flourish like the trees planted by the riverside. They must be taught that to love this continent is to sacrifice their most personal desires for this continent. They must be nurtured with hopes and aspirations of this land.
This must be true if Africa will shine and develop and take up the responsibility for its development. I have taken a step today and that is why I am sharing my dream, a change in our attitude and perspective of life will be a milestone in our progress. I have a dream, yes, a dream of freedom to development sent to me from above and beyond the blues. I have dream and I know you have a dream too, so come and join with me so we can become a great force for realization of this dream.
Joshua Nkoom is a final year student at the University of Ghana studying Economics (major)
He is also a spoken word artist, connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org