The celebrated late Ghanaian poet Kofi Awonoor, whose books include ‘The African Predicament’,’The Promise of Hope’, ‘Comes The Voyager At Last’, ‘Ride Me, Memory’, ‘Until the morning after’, ‘Guardians of the Sacred Word: Ewe Poetry’ to name but a few; once wrote in his more famous book ‘This Earth, My Brother’: “What has Africa to contribute to the world? asked the learned professor. If you have no history create one, if you have no culture invent one, for the question is being asked, and brother, you must come forth with an answer, pronto.”
This is just another opportunity for Africa to define itself beyond the definitions and expectations that the world has of us. If we are Healers where are we now, if we are endowed with spiritual, intellectual, mineral-resources and other powers, why are we relying on the International Monetary Funds, World Banks, the United Nations and the WHO for information, guardians and funds? Have we not yet learned that whoever pays the piper calls the tune? Have we not learned that without determining our present our children will have no safer future than the children of the rest of the ailing world?
As much of the world is undergoing involuntary ‘House Arrest’ these days due to the prevailing Covid-19 virus; many are having a chance to reevaluate many things in our lives. This global phenomenon where a “novel” flu-like disease is ravaging most of the world has also evoked a wide ranging and divergent number of opinions.
While the responses to what this virus means to various peoples rages on, much of the so called Third World appears rather unprepared to face the soon coming winter months. Experts and opinion makers are predicting and anticipating some devastating effects in Afrika in particular for the approaching weeks.
Many Afrikans are rather divided as mainstream news agents and governments are pushing for the orthodox messaging of social distancing, self isolation and hand-washing as measures for preventing the virus from spreading like a bush-fire. In fact these measures have are currently being enforced without any negotiation. Ordinary people have no say, we must simply obey.
Although countries such as South Afrika/Azania have deployed their national defence forces and police officers in communities, there are various challenges in implementing these measures. There have already been some deaths as this clamp-down/lock-down is being enforced. As much as it is understandable that governments should act quickly and with conscientious caution in addressing this pandemic, there are so many undercurrents to just how this virus can be effectively responded to. The heavy-handedness and brutality of law-enforcers is not being dealt with adequately.
There was a recent report to the effect that some sectors such as the Indigenous knowledge practitioners feel left out of the conversation. The argument is that the national response has not adequately involved traditional leaders and traditional medicine practitioners. One would argue that they too have not properly asserted themselves. We simply do not see or hear their response. This simply means that like everyone else they are following the instructions of the governments which are a trickle-down from the measures suggested by the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and the industrially developed world.
In an ongoing discussion with a friend of mine who happens to be a very socially conscious doctor, we are seeking to locate the sources of Afrikan readiness and responsiveness to this and other health related matters. Rafiki sent me a voice message yesterday, telling me how the Chinese medical fraternity has through time effectively included alternative or traditional medical practices in their mainstream approaches from childbirth to surgery and chemistry. I reminded him that Southern Afrikan universities as well as civil society has also done extensive work towards regulating and streamlining traditional medicine and ritual practices into the contemporary world, yet in the news – all we hear about is how hospitals are inadequately equipped to deal with this new kind of flu that is devastating the world. My friend and I simply agreed that we Afrikan traditional healers should simply rise to the occassion. They do not have to ask for anyone’s permission. As much as many dealt with relative success with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, so can they offer some solutions to the Covid-19 debacle.
The medical sector is far from being the only aspect of life affected by this disease and government’s responses and reactions to it, whole livelihoods and economies are at stake. Entrepreneurs of all sorts could lose their works, house-holds are being disrupted and the mental health of many survivors is at stake. We won’t even look into the lives of the homeless and indigent, the unemployed and those who other underlying diseases for now, but one can just imagine the pending destruction.
If only Afrikans had a unified purpose with regards to determining our survival as a people, we would be speaking about how we can collectively prosper again after the epidemic has passed. That ‘if only’ is a potential space that can be readily filled with solutions. We are being prepared to Create a new reality, new economies and new ways of being. The Afrikological/Afrocentric worldview is already being considered on many levels of leadership, intercultural and health communications as well as government levels, but WHO WILL take it to its necessary Inclusion and Conclusion?
The People …