Monday, April 13, 2009

The Challenge for Africa

In her new book "The Challenge for Africa", Wangari Maathai offers a refreshing perspective on the challenges facing Africa. She calls for a moral revolution among Africans themselves, who, she argues, are culturally deracinated, adrift between worlds. She sheds light the complex and dynamic nature of the continent, and offers “hardheaded hope” and “realistic options” for change and improvement. She analyzes some of the most critical bottlenecks to development in Africa occurring at the international, national, and individual levels (including cultural upheaval and enduring poverty) and describes what Africans can and need to do for themselves using culture, nature and self-belief, while also stressing responsibility and accountability. Ultimately what Africa needs is a revolution in leadership, but this cannot be ushered in by western governments, well-meaning NGOs - or even Bono and Sharon Stone - it must happen within African societies and individuals themselves: "At both the top and the bottom, all Africans must believe in themselves again; that they are capable of walking their own path and forging their own identity, that they have a right to be governed with justice, accountability and transparency, that they can honor and practice their cultures and make them relevant to today's needs, and that they no longer need to be indebted—financially, intellectually, and spiritually—to those who once governed them. They must rise up and walk." I really enjoyed reading Wangari Maathai's autobiography "Unbowed", so this new one is now on top of my reading list.

Also note that on April 15th, 18th, 19th and 20th, CNN International will present a special programme entitled "Revealed: Wangari Maathai". Click here for more information & local times where you are. It can also be seen in full on the CNN Revealed website from April 15th. A short promo is available now.


Cee said...

I feel ashamed that I still haven't read through Unbowed, but I will definitely make an effort and read both books before end of this year.
Thanx Rafiki, you challenge me to read more....

Mama Shujaa said...

Unbowed was inspiring. Next on my list is The Challenge For Africa.

Thanks Rafiki.

Rafiki said...

@ Cee: Let me get back to you in December then.

@ Mama Shujaa: Inspiring is the right word indeed.