Nothing new under the sun

It is every human being’s desire to learn something new. New ideas, new innovations, new lessons seem to be every being’s desire in order to succeed.
 It actually makes sense to think that the only way African countries can overcome most of their diverse problems is for new solutions to be put on the table.
However, that might not be what Africa needs.
The maxim “African solutions for African problems” may seem like it has two sides. Ideally, one side has completely new and out of the box solutions while the other has old ideas that are looked at once in a while, particularly in desperate times.
Technically, there is only one side to the coin and there will always be one side to the coin in this regard.
In retrospect, seemingly new ideas and concepts such as the use of social media, regional integration, innovation, renewable energy, and investment from African countries within other Africa are not new solutions.
For instance, resource nationalism is not a solution but a repeat of already existing concepts in different capsules. It is only a repeat of what is known and in this case the fight for the Independence and sovereignty of African countries.
The use of social media to develop Africa, if closely looked at, is based on Pan-Africanism at the grassroots level, while significant investment from African countries in Africa and renewable energy are basically rooted in the African Renaissance that informed the ideologies of Marcus Garvey and other luminaries so many decades ago.
A lack of understanding of this truth has led to Africa and Africans losing focus and to some extent veering from real solutions while focusing only on the problems.
Imperialists are really on a mission to make African countries think that there are new solutions available and making them believe that there are other untapped ways of thinking around existing problems.
This is done by them providing “solutions” for us that in a way accommodates their power hunger and thirst to control our resources for their own benefit.
If we look closer we will start to realise that this is just a ploy to divert our attention from the founding principles we already know.
The Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) that were championed by the IMF and World Bank aer among examples of how Africa’s attention has been diverted, as is the Washington Consensus and many other high-sounding nothings that have been foisted – and continue being foisted – on Africa over the years.
Instead of being tricked into thinking that there is a new, never-been-done solution, Africans should realise that there is nothing new under the sun.
 If you want to kill a man’s vision, give him two. Once leaders are deceived into thinking there is a “new solution” their attention and focus is likely to be spread over a larger area thus dwindling their efficiency.
Thus there should be an acknowledgment of the core African principles and core values that informed our liberation struggle and can act as a major source of inspiration for our development.
One contemporary leader who has remained steadfast to the founding ideologies that spurred Africa forward from colonialism to independence is Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Maybe it is because he has been there from the start that he is able to be in tune with these core principals, while newer leaders could be divorced from our origins because of generational gaps.
President Mugabe appreciates that there is nothing new under the sun, and as Kwame Nrumah declared more than 50 years ago that “the only good imperialist is a dead one”, the Zimbabwean leader still appreciates that truism and lives by it.
Appreciating the simple truths will help us realise that our problems do not need complex solutions. We need to ground ourselves in the Pan Africanism that liberated Africa and use it to develop our economies, our politics and our societies.
Principles should not change just because someone has come up with something supposedly new. Rather, they should be reinforced and given new life every now and again.
What this means is that we should be aware of changes in the world around us and then fit our principles and ideas into the appropriate “capsules”, “containers” and/or “vessels” to ensure that our ultimate objective of developing Africa remains the same.
Africa’s founding fathers already laid the foundations through the core values of Pan-Africanism, integration for development and emancipation (this entails political, economic and cultural freedom) and we should thus be building on this instead of jumping onto whatever “new” fad the West throws our way.

June 2013
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