Elites and social responsibility

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There is a Yoruba proverb that in English translation says “not all fingers are of the same length”. In the context of life in the UK, there is a class system. Similar networks exist in other countries. I have been involved in debates with peers in recent times about the role of elites in providing vision and leadership to make conditions improve for everyone within their communities. Some people disagree with this notion, because they think that leadership qualities and vision can emerge from folks of any background. I agree with this idea, except that I think anyone who has the wherewithal to utilise means, breeding or ambition to get a decent education has become socially upwardly mobile.

Are African elites doing their utmost to make things better for their people? I wouldn’t want to give a categorical answer to this question, simply because I am aware of many folks who constantly circulate video clips and other nuggets of information on social media platforms, aiming to draw attention to things that need to be transformed in their countries of origin.

It is good to know that some privileged Africans have consciences about the parlous living conditions faced many people on our continent. Are their concerns being supported by practical measures?  In some cases they are, but in many others they are not.

Making a contribution towards progress needn’t take over our individual lives. Sometimes, small gestures can make a difference in ways that might not be immediately apparent. I’m not suggesting that people who are not involved in politics or governance should take on the jobs of politicians or public servants.

Are there ways of combining direct action that aims for communal progress with the urge to socialise and “have fun” that seems to attract many African elites?