My fellow African,
Do you know how amazing you are?
We as Africans don’t get a lot of words of encouragement. We are just not used to it. That needs to change. Now.
The past several weeks, I have really tried to listen to the comments I hear around me about Senegal (and the African continent in general) from both Africans and non-Africans. What I hear saddens me. I hear criticism that isn’t constructive, refusal to believe in development, and inability to break free from the mental bondages of colonialism.
When I asked my Senegalese compadres why they had such negative comments about our beloved country and continent they simply replied “Daara dokhoul” (meaning nothing is going right) or “Senegal dou dem” (meaning Senegal isn’t going to go anywhere). The latter is something that many Senegalese say and unfortunately they do not realize how dangerous this statement can be.
Let’s say you wake up every day and tell yourself “You are never going to amount to anything.” If you keep that mindset, do you really think you will be able to accomplish your goals? I highly doubt it. The same thing goes for us Africans. If we keep telling ourselves that our countries suck, that we will never have a bright future, and that we will never develop our country then we never will get anywhere. You have to believe to achieve. You can’t just expect things to occur magically. You have to put in hard work to get where you want.
But I understand how we have become this way. Let’s face it, we have had some hard blows. Colonialism has really left its mark. Sadly, we still argue about skin color, hair texture, tribes and social status. When we should be focusing on economics, education, self-sufficiency, and diminishing poverty.
So how about we change our mindset. Let’s be proud Africans. This doesn’t mean saying “We are perfect” or “We are the best” (although if you want to, by all means). This means loving ourselves, loving our continent, accepting our faults, identifying our issues, being unapologetically African, and believing that we can get better. We know that we are not perfect and there is major room for improvement. But we shouldn’t let this stop us from being champions. We need to stop looking at our problems as obstacles and start seeing them as opportunities.
I wanted to do my part so I started a facebook page called “#SenegalDeyDem” (meaning “Senegal WILL go somewhere”) to counter the ever-so-popular “Senegal dou dem”. I know that it is a small act but sometimes it’s the small things that grow into huge movements. Someone else can see this page and want to start something similar and the movement can keep growing.
I believe in the future of our continent. I know that I am just one person. I also know that there are thousands of other Africans who are trying to do amazing things for their countries but who also think that they are just “one person.” Together, we can be a pretty strong group. I can already see a new generation of entrepreneurs and leaders rising. Let us encourage and help each other because, in the end, this beautiful land is ours and we are all in this together.