Sunday, October 3, 2010

Changing How We Practice Solidarity

If Africans had to pick a Western political ideology prior to colonialism and the pressures that colonial powers placed on modern African states, by default, they would have likely chosen socialism. Pan-Africanists such as Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure couldn't have made it any clearer during their time.

Our Home-Made Safety Net
As Africans, without the need for extremely large centralized states, we do have a sense of social responsibility to one another by which all members of the direct and extended family form a social safety net.

In the region of Guinea where my parents come from, indeed there is much poverty, yet, no such thing as homelessness. Everyone can count on a relative or neighbor to take them in. In fact, this assurance has gone beyond an expectation, and has evolved into a societal norm. I do not wish to generalize for the entire continent, as the media has done, nor to deny the harsh reality that presents itself in conflict and humanitarian crisis areas; nonetheless, in Guinea and neighboring countries (Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast), turning away a relative or neighbor who wants to join in for dinner could earn someone the scorn of the entire town.