Happy New Year!
Finally, we are in February, also known as The Month of Love. I am of the school of thought which believes that February was created as a gift to mankind. After a 31-day-long month immediately after throwing all caution to the wind during the Christmas holidays, a 28-day-long month comes your way to calm your nerves. Well, maybe.
This first day of February I choose to tackle one thing that has been on my mind since some time mid-January. The president of what is deemed as the most powerful country in the world, America, used a particularly non-pleasant word in reference to Africa and Haiti. Sure, there were reports that he ‘didn’t’ say it but you and I know better right?
So, let’s say he did say it. One evening while having a discussion with friends at a bus terminus, this came up. There were those who were in full agreement that yes, we do live in a ‘shithole‘ country, in a continent falling within the same category. Then there were others like me who had dissenting opinions.
Let me try to break this down. When that statement was made in reference to Africa and Haiti, it encapsulated the people living there. The people who trace their origins to these places. This, coming from a man who happens to be the epitome of privilege. A man. A man of Caucasian descent. A Caucasian man from a well-off family. A filthy rich Caucasian man from a well-off family.
Now, let’s not go all the way, crossing deserts and oceans and seas to get to the land of the brave and free. Let us talk about these people who bought into that view, themselves being a part of this continent, country and community. The country I know is one that has been built off of the backs of ordinary hardworking individuals. People who work hard from sun up to sun down, extending to the late hours of the night. These people, pay taxes, these people pay school fees, these people provide for their families.
You and I make up part of an age group that should seek to change the rhetoric. We are in University to grow and learn how to find local solutions to local problems. Local problems will not be solved by us talking about how yes, we are in a ‘shithole‘ country because that makes us part of this problem. Solutions to local problems will come from within ourselves, finding that voice and championing for change. As Valentine’s Day approaches, think about this, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Happy New Year.