I recently attended a meet and greet event for an organisation that functions as a global hub for people of African descent. It was interesting to hear the story of the institution’s journey, from the point of view of people who have only recently been part of that. Being someone who spent a lot of time there back in the day, it was encouraging to know that there is still life in the concept. Interpretations of what should be regarded as progressive are varied, which is fair enough since there are fifty four nations who identify as being part of the continent.
Perhaps it is too restrictive to accumulate all the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the people of those nations and those from Diaspora communities under one umbrella. It is probably banal to say that Africa is a continent, not a country, but it always seems like aesthetics from that part of the world are regarded as simply alien and unfathomable to many who make decisions about the ideas that gain access to the global cultural discourse.
There are moments when Africans should identify themselves as part of an important group within the global culture, but at this stage of the journey it feels more important to make the rest of the world know more about the diverse range of traditions and outlooks to be found within that subculture.
Independent thinking and ways of doing things ought to be encouraged a lot more within those diverse cultures. It will be wonderful to live to see a time when innovations and inventions from that part of the world are noticed and acknowledged for what they are.
Perceptions have changed considerably in the last couple of decades, but probably not enough for some of us. Individualism is regarded with suspicion when it involves folks of African descent, but it is in the cumulative impact of many individuals feeling able to express ideas and do new things that Africa will see a brighter future.