Saturday, March 23, 2013

Those who don't know where the rain began to beat them . . .

My 1965 year group at Achimota Secondary School was probably the first to be assigned Chinua Achebe's 1958 novel, Things Fall Apart as one of the books for the O Level English Literature course. 

On Thursday March 21, 2013 this Nigerian writer who has been called the "founding father of African literature in English" died at age 82. Achebe's works, taken as a whole, focus on the pathologies of Africa. He was a very wise man.

It has been well over 50 years since the publication of Things Fall Apart.  These days, when I arrive in Abuja international airport on my way to teach at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja (AUST), the car that takes me through downtown to the campus travels on a new freeway being constructed by a German company. The future campus of AUST will be designed by an Italian architectural firm. Just this week, there was an official ceremony where the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana handed over the keys to the new headquarters of Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, designed and constructed by Chinese companies.

You wonder, why after 5 decades of independence, have so many African countries not yet found ways to seriously involve their own scientists and engineers in infrastructural development?

This question reminds me of one of Achebe's proverbs in Things Fall Apart: "Those who do not know where the rain began to beat them cannot say where they dried their bodies."

19 comments:

SpadeFungi said...

Thank you for your very interesting and wise words, which really resonated with us. My auntie and I stumbled on your blog via your wife's whilst looking food recipes. A lot of what was said above in your post reiterated the somewhat regressive path some African leaders are taking their countries on. Their actions always give an impression that Africans themselves are incapable, which is sad. However you have given me hope and clarity that there is a wealth knowledge amongst its people and in some ways they should be the main resource. As a young African I hope one day I will be a part of this cure and not a part of the disease.

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gamelmag said...

This post is insightful, prof. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don't know what has been attempted in the past but we need to approach integration of science into society strategically. I don't feel there's a plan in place to develop home-based solutions to our challenges. We need to renew mindsets, especially those of the younger generation, through generation. Leaders are likelier to deploy scientific ideas if scientific thinking is pervasive in society. We need to have the conviction to experiment and fine-tune based on observed results.

Oluwaseun Layade said...

Africa needs to truly come of age; this is the only way we can meet the needs of our growing and aspirational global-village, internet-age, informationa-on-your-smartphone population. The consequences of anything less will make the Arab Spring look like a walk in the park - Change will come whether we like it or not; it's only a matter of time.

Ruhul Quddus said...

This article is efficient. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am visiting this blog on a daily basis and I am finding so much helpful article each time. Keep working on this and thank you once again. xnxx

Ruhul Quddus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Funmi Joseph said...

Uhm Prof, these are indeed wise words and food for thought. Thanks for introducing me to your blog. I will certainly visit it often. It is our hope as Africans that one day, things will turn around for the better and we can together make our continent worth living in. I must also commend the beautiful work you did at IC-LGO 2015. I was proud of you as an African. It also boosted in me courage and confidence that Africans can make useful impact anywhere in the world.

Lois Afua said...

Interestingly true talk, well the ball is in our court and we have to play accordingly by the rules. It's high time we make things work for our good and realise that we can solve our own problems.
Nice blog PROF,really inspiring

Kwame Marfo said...

In places where we do not believe in ourselves but in others, all we can can expect is stagnating our own abilities while others develop. It is about time we wake up.
Thanks for creating such awareness Prof.

Nnaemeka Eluagu said...

This raises a fundamental question which every well-meaning African ought to consider. In my opinion, I feel that we did not fully understand what the attainment of INDEPENDENCE really meant. That said, there's a need for us eschew greed and narcissism in order to build our great continent.
Thanks Prof. for reminding us of this.

Fred Ocloo said...

Outstandingly, this is an eyeopener and vice versa - more or less - to most people.

Probably the limitations induced on African's from history's point of view, might be a cause.
Where in one way or another, might have rippled through time to our present day.


This is more than a reminder; to go back to our roots to reset our mindsets, develop good attributes, turn our backs to negativity and believe in ourselves.

Thanks Prof. for the enlightenment and these words of wisdom.

Nii Amarkai Amartey said...

Thanks very much for this article.
This shows clearly slavery coming back to the 'Black man'. We just are inviting control over us from the white man.
We only need correct leadership that considers the human resources of its nation and not on that of western aids

Elijah Agyenim Boateng said...

It's a whole lot, Africa and it's intricacy of issues. Partly blamed on poor leadership, and partly on we the indigenous people of Africa. Very selfish leadership is doubtfully very uncommon in Africa, and bad attitude of Africans too. We have to change for the better! I always say this, "I don't believe the white man is any better than the black", it's about the attitude towards our own development. But there's hope, this generation will certainly make a difference, you know why? cos am already changing my ways and thinking concerning Africa. You also change (this younger generation), and let's make Africa better. God bless you Professor!

Theophilus Akwasi said...

True talk. Africa needs to rise up and manage its own affairs. Enough of this attitude of engaging foreigners in all that we do.Africa must work. thanks Prof

Emmanuel Aboagye said...

It is very sad the way we Africans don't believe in ourselves and politicise every important project..... I always say that, developed countries are developed because of science and technology...developed countries use sophisticated technological equipments in their farms....Our attitudes must change now.... people must be held responsible.......
We can make it with good attitudes

TAKYI GABRIEL KWAME SIPI said...

Although Africans are still depending on the whites. We can do do ourself if we conscientious ourself.

Adom Aikins said...

I think the problem with we Africans is that we do not believe in ourselves, which is not entirely our fault tho. Another point worthy of note is that we do not love ourselves enough. I believe in Africa and I am glad others do too, its time to rise up and fight for a good cause instead of trying to bring a person down when he/she begins to do something innovating.

buffie said...

if eminent african scientist and engineers were to return to africa from europe and america and work in africa full time, i am sure things will change. no disrespect intended . but too many african professionals are in the west not contributing full time to africa.

Adedotun Afolayan said...

when africa fail to believe in her children... and she delights in developing other nation's children ...


... in old age... hope there will be someone to hold her walking stick...

Food for thought.

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