During Obama's inaugration, the whole world and particularly Africa celebrated his being elected the president to the most powerful office on earth. Alot has been said about his abilities with some African leaders making statements like "Obama has shown us the way, now lets follow his path." As these leaders continue to give powerful statements, it is difficult to forget that Africa has been ravaged and literary torn apart from bad leadership. The question is, are these leaders serious when they claim that Obama has opened their eyes or is it just the same old big talks.

In Africa today, we as the inhabitants of this continent should be fighting with realities to determine the destiny of our lives instead of engaging in senseless wars and amassing personal wealth through unscrupulous means. No doubt wealth is important but love of country must come first. I cannot love my country, neither can I have any love for my fellow men/women if I always selfishly think of myself first. It is unfortunate but, at the present moment of our development, far too many of us in Africa are in hunger queues. In order to have a different reflection; we must aim at social orientation. Africa cannot transform us into men/women of proper standing, on the contrary, we as men/women can transform Africa into what we ourselves wish her to be. The attitute of the child looking up to its mother, in days of old has long gone. Today as men/women we have to shape the destiny of our own lives. To do this effectively, we have to change our present ways of thinking and also the way we look at life. Selfishness is a disease which most of us inherit because of circumstances, it is also a disease, which can be curered.

Corruption which is now the fashion of the day in almost all African governments, and which plays a big part is creating conflicts, should be strongly abhorred by every African state because realistically speaking, such behaviour is extremely unfair to the taxpayers and the peasant population who process the bulk of the country's revenue. It is infuriating at the way people are unequally treated. Africa can only begin to heal if its leaders, apart from being nationalists and patriotic, could generally speaking be described as strongly decadence. The leaders should demand the qualities they see in themselves, for example, dedication and selfless service in the society of which they form a part. Their view of morality should embrace modesty, quiet efficiency and non-indulgence in both private and office life.

Particularly worrying and indefensible is the inability of politicians and political leaders in Africa to introduce probity, even a little probity, into their public and private lives. We have yet to see the politician whose supreme interest and supreme love is that of the state; who will not indulge in personal rule and encourage personal glorification, which only engenders sycophancy; who will not indulge in corruption himself and will discourage it in others; who will set the example in honest and decent behavior, who will step down voluntarily when his time is up or when it becomes evident that he is no longer wanted. Those politicians who have been able to steer clear of the major vices are still in their seats. What Africa needs therefore, is a complete set of new leaders who will pay heed and put a stop to these kind of rule and be role models as national saviours.

Political consciousness and national pride should go beyond the boundaries of tribal or clannish orientation. However, to achieve this, every individual within a country must be made aware of the importance of the social forces that operate to bind a people together. When I look at the present trend of African's luck of development, I am forced to ask myself what part I play in its formation? Actually I have to question myself because I believe it is impossible to live in a world, which is supposed to be mine but in reality not mine. How can the individual be himself when his society bears no relationship in form of culture and civilization to himself. Indeed Africa today, because of past and present mistakes is very difficult to describe.

We in Africa must realize the importance of identity. When I as an individual express the opinion that I am an African, what do I mean? To an individual, it means a sense of pride, love, affection and attachment to a particular race; in this case the African or black race to which I am a part. It also means that without the fulfillment of Africa and her people, I, as an individual, have neithter cultural roots nor civilization.

Maria Sururu
Nairobi, Kenya

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