Independence is not just political freedom or a new identity, its a mindset and adherence to a system that facilitates complete self-realization. The very definition of independence entails the assumption of a state where an individual, party or society is able to determine their present and control the outcome of their future.
The mistake we often make is to think that independence is merely an external manifestation characterised by reclaiming land, taking companies and penning favourable laws. These may grant justification for people to take up arms and may sway the direction of a people’s vote, but if the protagonists don’t understand the concept of independence, then in the end we’re fighting against ourselves.
Its easy to fight a neighbor but it hurts to shoot a brother, when the perpetrator of your oppression takes a kindred face, the fight for freedom becomes an act to remove one’s own eye. The point to be made here is that if independence is wrongly perpetuated then the latter condition of the people becomes worse than the former. It results in a people with dashed hopes who feel robbed of the experience their kindred fought to give them. Africa today faces a new breed of enemy, the enemy within.
The key then lies in establishing a shared concept of independence, that is enshrined in the minds of every African. We must know that independence is not land, its not free politics, its about making a people realize that ‘they can’ and that ‘they have the power and ability to become’.
Independence is the place where we break free from the psychological walls that have long hindered the realization of African supremacy. Its where we let go of the inferiority complex that says everything African is backward, that says we could never have made it without colonization, and that says ‘we’ can never influence ‘them’.
Independence is the time when we tell our children that they can overcome the world, when we tell young people about the Africans who made innovations that dominate the world today.
Independence is the freedom to think, to express what you think, to associate with those who think the way you think, and to make what you think change the way other people think.
Independence is a belief system that breeds innovation in creativity. Its the substance that influences the development of culture, that makes a people belong and gives them a shared hope.
On the 4th of July, Americans celebrate their independence. Their celebrations are not just the commemoration of a day, they are a point of reflection on the fruits of a liberated mindset. A mindset that has made them the largest and most influential country in the world; churning out billionaires and inventions and leading trends in global culture.
A truly independent Africa would not be crying of poverty, engaged in armed conflict or struggling under the brunt of disease. A truly independent Africa would not have to rely on foreign aid for local sustenance, or to send hordes of educated youths to furnish economies in the more ‘developed’ world.
Africa must set aside the pettiness of searching for things that can be reclaimed from former colonizers and face up to the challenges that colonize us today. It must all start in the mind, when we change the way we think, our associations change, our actions change and our reality changes. We must realize that the great Uhuru wasn’t birthed from the need to own land or political power, it was birthed in the minds of men and women who believed they had the power to change their present and influence future generations.
I call upon an Africa with the inherent ability to live today and control their future. I call upon a continent that rises above expectations and sets new standards for development. I call upon a generation of African children who refuse to listen to words of limitation uttered by their fathers and mothers, and choose instead to create a new reality, an independent Africa.
Taking a step at a time to create the ultimate developmental journey.