BY Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Political/Social Analyst
There’s an urgent need for government to craft certain mechanisms which will ‘excite’ the youth to ignite our own version of the Renaissance as it occurred in Europe in the 14th century. According to the Inside History Newsletter, the Renaissance was a fervent period of European cultural, artistic, political and economic “rebirth” following the Middle Ages. It promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature and art. Some of the greatest thinkers, authors, statesmen, scientists and artists in human history thrived during this era namely among them – Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, William Shakespeare, Michelangelo etc.
The newsletter further reveals that art, architecture and science were closely linked during the Renaissance. In fact, it was a unique time when these fields of study fused together seamlessly. For instance, artists like da Vinci incorporated scientific principles, such as anatomy into their work, so they could recreate the human body with extraordinary precision. Architects such as Filippo Brunelleschi studied mathematics to accurately engineer and design immense buildings with expansive domes. Why are we saying all this?
The government has encouraged citizens to form cooperatives in order to create wealth for themselves and the nation as a whole. However, we haven’t taken much time to educate the masses on how this concept can easily be turned into a reality without any glitches. We will share the agony and frustrations of a person who happens to be a member of a cooperative. Membership is drawn from diverse backgrounds – traders, farmers, hustlers, business executives, timber merchants, and stone dealers. They were dreaming big when they just started, of course. They were going to claim a fair share of the black mountain, try their luck in the transport sector and venture into food production and processing, among others.
Before long, the union started developing cracks….. Whenever meetings were called, everyone seemed to be busy with their own things – the stone dealer was in Mwinilunga looking for gold, the hustler was at the Black mountain scavenging for chrome, the business executive was busy with ZRA, the trader had traveled to Samfya to get fish while the timber man was in North western trying to harvest rosewood. This seemed to be the trend until the chairman simply stopped calling for meetings! How many cooperatives have suffered a similar fate? This is what happens when you mobilize individuals with different interests or ideologies and expect them to perform miracles! As Diffikoti observed the other day, this is a good idea but might fail to yield the desired results if we are not careful.
The president might need to either establish some kind of a commission of cooperatives or indeed create a specific department in one of the ministries. Greatest thinkers, authors, statesmen, scientists, artists, etc can then be mobilized and mandated to help bring the best out of our citizens. We see no point in why Copperbelt youth must be focusing on the black mountain; what happens once the ore is depleted? Young people must instead be motivated to set up factories that will churn out finished products – copper wires, batteries for our mobile phones, and refrigeration and electronic gadgets.
And instead of our artists singing “kangulu wele, kangulu wele” or putting up the worst performances on TV, let’s identify ways and means to help them come up with products that will easily be acclaimed internationally.
It’s quite shocking that Angola has to import chickens and eggs all the way from Brazil or Portugal while the market for farm products remains wide open in Congo DR, and yet we are still dillydallying. Are we waiting for the Chinese to come and grab the opportunity using our own resources and then we start complaining?
After Independence, Kaunda set up industries in each province taking into consideration locally available. North western had the pineapple canning factory, Western had the Cashew nut project, Luapula had Mansa Batteries, Northern had the Mununshi banana scheme, and Eastern had the bicycle factory whereas Livingstone had the motor assembly plant.
We are not suggesting government must revive these projects but rather should create an enabling environment for citizens to revise these or better still come up with other innovations to create wealth.