“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” -Malcolm X
TIA. This is Africa. We hear this phrase constantly, usually coupled with a shrug of the shoulders. TIA has become an excuse for substandard everything. For patching up the streets as though a quilt, for drivers not respecting zebra crossings and understanding that where sidewalks do exist, they exist for pedestrians and not for four wheeled cars. TIA is no excuse for government officials to be too busy playing computer games or speaking on the phone to attend to people waiting patiently in line. TIA is no excuse for horrible or non-existent customer service. TIA is no excuse.
I’ve had enough. Enough of outsiders and even more so, of us Africans settling for sub-standard when it comes to Africa. Do we not deserve better? Should we forever be condemned to remain stagnant? I critique only because of my love for this continent, for my desire to see it reach its potential. To see it be the best it can be. To see African citizens persistently and consistently giving it their all, no matter what they are doing. To have such pride in their communities, countries and continent that they will think twice before they litter the streets without a thought, or before they decide to urinate in any which place. That they will treat their mothers and sisters and daughters and loved ones with the respect and care they deserve. That they will innovate and conserve ingeniously. That they deserve more responsive service, answers to unanswered questions. That their suffering isn’t any less so because they experience it everyday.
I’m sick of politicians using TIA as an excuse to pocket all the profits. I’m tired of TIA used as an excuse to rule rather than lead. I’m sick and tired of bullets preceding ballots. Of bullets being more widely and more freely available than bread.
There are ingenious, innovative, progressive initiatives taking place in every corner of our continent. There is no doubt about that. However, as long as TIA continues to be used as a sorry ass excuse for not achieving or for not performing, we won’t progress. I hope to see a day where we use TIA with pride to say that because this is Africa, because Africa is precious to us, that we will reduce our consumption of trees, that we will ensure our streets are clean, water is potable and available, that businesses need to be accountable and efficient. TIA will no longer be an excuse for undelivered services and untapped potential.
TIA will be a call for the best of the best. Because Africa deserves nothing less.