Africa has come a long way with many notable, but often forgotten leaders. Léopold Senghor was one such leader, one of Africa’s finest statesmen. Senghor was the first president of Senegal. He became president after education and service in France, both as an educator and a politician. As part of the African liberation struggle, one of the things Senghor strongly believed in was education before liberation. He argued that it didn’t make sense for a group of people to become liberated and self-governing, yet have no idea how to govern the land. This was the same rationale applied by the former European “parent nations” in taking their own sweet time with the liberation of the continent. Whether their intention was pure, or completely evil, the principle still made sense. This is why you now have African countries without the necessary structures in place to handle the corrupted human temperament. Europeans and Americans are just as corrupt and greedy as Africans, yet they have developed the structures to mitigate this human nature. They’re not perfect (as evidenced by the financial crisis), but they are still a long way ahead.Frequently, we hear on the news or read in the newspaper that another black rights activist is complaining that black professionals do not have enough representation in industry. Frequently we hear about protests and mass marches because blacks aren’t advancing as fast as their white counterparts. I’m not ruling out the possibility of actual racism, but maybe there could be another factor at play, which could be the fault of the black mass themselves. A store I enjoy frequenting is Exclusive Books and an observation I make whenever I visit is how the majority of the customers seem to be white. In the Business section, the majority are white. Even in the African History section, the majority are white. This is far from a representation of the demographics of the country, but a nearer representation of the demographics of industry leaders. Could there be a correlation? It seems we as black people want financial liberation without the education. A huge misconception is that a university degree is all the education that’s needed, and it’s common to find that the last time a person ever read an informative book, was when studying for their final exam in university. Living in a global market, in which just about every company deals with a similar company somewhere else on this planet, being street smart is not enough. You can be street smart where you are, but unfortunately your street only exists where you are. We need to broaden our minds beyond what we see on E-Entertainment and SABC News (the government bulletin) and develop Africa with more than just street protests and university degrees used as a poor measure of intellect and knowledge. Make it your mission this week to buy at least one informative book to learn about something you didn’t know, but maybe should know.
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