One day an elderly man in Africa took a young man into a forest and asked him, look around you and tell me what you see. The young man after observation he replied, I notice that all the trees are growing upward from the ground. Excellent, replied the old man, the lesson here is that you must grow. Everything grows upward, there is not one tree in the forest that grows toward another tree, and they are all growing, each one in its kind toward the sky. As African people, we have to grow no matter what has happened to us, and our growth should not be a move toward other people, or to become like other people, but we must grow toward the standard of our own values of Ubuntu. Essentially, we have been trying by all means to ‘develop’ and become like the people who enslaved us, and in that process we have become not like them, but we have turned ourselves into little British, little French and little Portuguese.
The ancestor John Henrik Clarke once said, whenever a people begin to think that their best way to live is to become like other people, they are making themselves prisoners of people they want to imitate. Whether there is a jail or not, that is not important, because the psychological jail of your mind to depend on others is the cruelest jail ever invented.
Actually, the reason why Africans always want to belong to other people’s institutions and identify themselves with others, is not because of the lack of resources, skills or capabilities, but it is indeed because of two fundamental reasons, one is Africans are afraid to go alone, and second is Africans are disorganized. Mostly, we feel like going alone will be destructive thing to do, and yet it is only being alone that people can manage to discover themselves and challenge themselves and grow as people in charge of their own destiny. In fact, there is not one nation in this world that has emerged through multilateral assistance without their own strong internal locus of control. If life began in Africa, and the Africa is the one who gave civilization and science to the world, it means that we emerged alone, in fact, we lived in palaces before Europeans walked out of their holes, wore shoes and lived in house that had a window.
Also, we prefer to belong to others and to be accompanied by others because African by themselves are the only disorganized and disunited group of people on the earth. Truly speaking, other people have also internal conflicts that can even lead to divisions and wars among themselves. However, when it comes to strategic goals that guarantee the survival of those people, they quickly put their differences aside and come together and work or fight. For example, all the European nations who united in Berlin conference (1884-1885) to divide and exploit Africa were not friends, they had conflicts among themselves, but for the sake of their survival they came together and what they did has been successful for all of them until this day. Africans, we must define our own vision of the world we want, and organize ourselves to achieve it, especially in this time period, our survival and that of our children is in line, we must act collectively or the world will collectively act upon us.
Finally, the elderly man gave another lesson to the young man. He told him, you see that every tree in the forest produces fruits not for itself, but for other people to use them, this is another law of life. Every human being has two major responsibilities to fulfil on daily basis, and those are, learning and teaching. If you think about our lives every day, that is exactly what we are supposed to do, if we cannot do both we must at least do one, we must learn and eager to transfer our knowledge to those following us. In a way, the reason why African states are failing is because many people do not live with a question of what they will live for future generations, they do not care and they wish the world could end with them. This is irresponsible egoistic mindset that many African leaders have, it must all be about themselves or nobody else, and that is the reason why many do not want to leave power even when they have reached the end of their presidential terms.
In conclusion, natural laws are valid and true to all people at all time, and nature is our source of inspirations and knowledge. Our ancestors many years before were able to observe the nature and learn about the stars, about the land and societal organization, today we have more than what they had, but we also have many challenges. However, we have the privilege to say that all our challenges have been well articulated in the vision and the structure of ACUP, we believe that our vision and strategies are compatible within the time and challenges we are confronted with as human family generally, and as Africans in particular. It is time for Africans to unite and rebuild or disunite and perish.