MMD President Dr Nevers Mumba says it is time that Africa printed her own business cards and wrote her own books.
Dr Mumba observed that Africa’s challenge has been that someone has written its introduction and painted the world and made the continent buy into it and has limited it for generations.
Dr Mumba was speaking on Friday at the Global Business Roundtable annual conference, Sandton convention centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.
He said Africans have been conformed to the vision its ‘masters’ had carved out for it.
Dr Mumba said Africans need to re-orient itself and re-educate themselves and re-write the educational and history books.
Below is Dr Mumba’s full speech.
SPEECH BY DR. NEVERS SEKWILA MUMBA AT THE 5TH GLOBAL BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE ANNUAL CONFERENCE, SANDTON CONVENTION CENTRE, JOHANNESBURG
REPAINTING A CONTINENT
Africa is a piece of art pinned on the minds and consciences of art lovers.
Those with money and capacity to buy the paint and pay the painters are the ones who have presented today’s image of Africa to the world.
The way Africa is perceived by both the world and ourselves dictates how Africa performs in the next few years. My assignment today is to highlight the effect of perception on development of a people group. We need to ask the necessary questions. Who painted the current picture of Africa and what was the intent of the resultant piece of art? In whose interest is this picture?
John 19:17-22 defines my point. “… And Pilate wrote a title (introduction) also, and put it on the cross. And there was written, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
Whosever writes your introduction defines you and limits you according to the introduction; Africa has been introduced by others. It is time that Africa printed her own business cards. It is time Africa wrote her own books. It is time for Africa to sing her own songs and paint her own picture.
The Jews did not like the inscription on the cross but Pilate had written it and they could not put it down. Two thousand years later, we still declare that, not only is Jesus the King of the Jews, but he is also the King of Kings. This is the power of introduction.
To subjugate a people, you first have to distort or steal their identity. You have to mess with their introduction. The type of education you are given determines your ultimate identity. To introduce apartheid here in South Africa and to sustain it for as long as it was sustained, the focus of perpetrators was to hand down the type of education that was intended to keep the black man perpetually oppressed and disadvantaged.
The Minister of Native affairs at the time, the architect of apartheid Hendrik Verwoerd stated that;
“There is no place for the Bantu in the European Community above the level of certain forms of labour… What is the use of teaching the Bantu Child mathematics when he cannot use it in practice?”
They used camera and film to repeatedly distort and brain wash our view of ourselves.
They allowed a few amongst us to stick out like middle fingers in order to divide us into thinking those who had failed to attain those heights were lazy.
Our Challenge: Some one has written our introduction and painted our world and made us buy into it and has limited us for generations. We have been conformed to the vision our ‘masters’ had carved out for us.
How do we correct this?
Re-orient ourselves. Re-educate ourselves. Re-write our educational and history books. Re-think our theology and ideologies. Take responsibility for our future. Re-paint Africa.
We must be free to make our mistakes as we work our way up. We cannot be free until we can experiment ourselves out of this trap.
The apartheid regime began to indoctrinate South African oppressed people by telling them that they were better than the independent states up north in terms of goods and services. It is better to mess up in your efforts to improve yourself than to remain under perpetual control of another!
This is time to initiate Africa’s most ambitious educational project which should include all villages, compounds, suburbs and entire nation states. An educational system which high lights our values as a people.
An educational system which is original and directly responsive to Africa’s unique challenges. An educational system which does not exhort the Queen of England above our own Zulu King. An Education which does not glorify everything done by western powers and rubbishes the efforts being made by our people. An education which does not segregate based on who has an American accent and who doesn’t.
We must deliberately work towards these goals if indeed Africa is the New Frontier. We must change our curricula and teach more about the Chirundu and Beit bridges than the famous London Bridge.
This project is long term, but must start now. The strategy must be clear and the African Union must incorporate this aspect in their 50 year strategic plan. We must scientifically strategize that the type of Education we offer, the type of religion we teach, the type of films we watch and make of ourselves are shaping a new mindset which shall effectively restore our dignity as a people.
Money poured on paralyzed minds will continue to be wasted in Africa. We must re- paint the continent. We must introduce ourselves to ourselves and to the world.
We must have a goal to score. We may have some of the best players on the pitch, but without a goal we shall not record any victory. When students go to a medical school, we expect to produce Doctors. This is because the studies are specially designed to produce a pre-determined product. Africa must package for itself an educational culture that shall ultimately produce an enviable African, an African of our corporate dream, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the best brains in the world.
Each one of us in this room today, in this generation, have been handed a paint brush and paint, an opportunity to re-paint the pictures of our individual countries to make up the full piece of art of a new Africa. An Africa which shall be the envy to the world, an Africa free from the stereo-type image of violent ethnic and political conflict, poverty, AIDS and now Ebola, hunger, corruption, bad governance and under-development.
We must re-paint Africa.
We should each ask ourselves the question, now that I have an opportunity in my generation, what picture shall I paint of my country, what shall I do to help birth this new image of my country and contribute to the full beautiful art piece of a new Africa?
In these last few moments, kindly allow me now to paint the picture I have of my own nation of Zambia.
For the investor who is searching for high returns, Zambia offers one of the most liberal economic policies in the SADC region. Zambia offers a 50 year culture of political and social stability.
It is a nation whose borders could only have been designed by a supreme being as the bible says. A nation with only 14.5 million people known the world over for their warmth, a country carved out from the centre of the Southern African region, a natural hub land-linked by eight sovereign nations with their combined populations presenting a huge market for any business, such as motor assembly plants, setting up its headquarters in Zambia.
It is a country of rare beauty, perched on a high plateau of moderate average annual temperatures of 21 Celsius and annual average rainfall of 1,270 millimeter and one of the most beautiful country-sides of a typical savanna country with breath-taking rivers and waterfalls like the Victoria Falls, abundant un-spoilt wildlife.
It is a country with an abundance of most known mineral deposits, the world’s fourth largest producer of copper and holds six percent of the world’s known reserves thereof. It is also the world’s second largest producer of cobalt and holds the reserves of about 350,000 tonnes. Furthermore, Zambia is also famous for the abundance of other mineral deposits, including lead, zinc and gemstones such as emeralds, aquamarine, topaz, opal, agate and amethysts.
It is a country of abundant water resource, with 45 percent of the total water resources of the entire southern African sub-region.
It is a country of large expanses of fertile uncultivated land, a potential bread-basket to feed the entire Southern African region and beyond.
It is a country waiting to be re-painted into one of the most developed nations not only in Africa but in the world, currently undergoing massive transformation ignited by major infrastructure investment into the roads and bridges to unlock the massive potential of this great Central Southern African country.
I ask the question, what picture do you have of your country, of Africa? The brush and the paint are now in your hands.
I thank you.
Nevers Sekwila Mumba