Many parts of Africa especially Ghana has been stagnant for many decades—in relation to ideas, development and wellbeing and this is simply because we’ve fixed old minds in new bodies.
We talk of generations when in fact we are talking about different layers of ourselves without any gap in thinking, attitude, posture and the way we see things.
My mother’s generation is no major way different to mine, in terms of how we view things and respond to things—despite having been born many years apart.
We so much cherish this thing we call “being an African” which mostly does not mean anything more than, being stuck with archaic mind set, failing to find and embrace the new world order—with tolerance being the most important aspect of this order.
Being tolerant does not mean you have to be what the other person is, in fact or in assumption. All it means is, you have to have a wider perspective to the extent that even though you may disagree with the other person, you respect the person enough to accord him or her enough mileage to operate freely.
It is true that we are most comfortable when with our own people, our own food and the ideas we’ve known and accepted for many years. But if you wouldn’t want to eat a food prepared and kept for 10 years (no matter how delicious it was then), why should you not open yourself to alterations, why can’t you have the ideas you came in contact with many years ago challenged and changed, if possible?
Tribal segregation which dominates activities in many parts of Africa shows how intolerant many of us are today—-we cannot even forget the labeling and embrace each other or give each other enough rope to freely operate.
As of today, it is still an abomination for certain groups of people to marry certain groups in Ghana (don’t tell me you don’t know about this), and you wouldn’t be able to trace the source of this “intolerance” to even a decade, it goes as back as centuries. We live by the same rule which has no real benefit for our today’s well-being, development and general sense of purpose.
In the face of contemporary ideas, women empowerment, human autonomy and liberal views which have become accentuated in the settings of others, many of us protest these values, capable of making us better people for no other reason than relying on outdated mind set, cached in “Being an African”.
Simple things like sex toys are not left to individual preference, but remain a taboo for a woman to keep or be seen with one. And if you poke for the real justification on which this gross intolerance lies, you wouldn’t find anything, perhaps except, it is not part of our culture as Africans. No one can for sure define what this “being an African” means, yet it is evoked every time we want to stand up against liberal ideas which have great tendencies to shake the core of our internal weak structures—and make us better people.
A lot is not part of our culture—-I never knew facebook, twitter, Instagram, television, English were part of the African setting. We seems to be living in a world ruled by a hypocritical dictator who opens the front door to some foreigners but closes the same door to those foreigners who can offer a total shake in the foundation of our buildings.
We keep adding layers to our weak structures and continue to build blockages against those who want to go and be liberated in mind, in spirit and in attitude—even if their actions would not have the slightest effect on us. We sort of hate to see others fly, because we are not interested in flying.
We wouldn’t do it so others should not be allowed to do it—that is a clear definition of “anti-tolerance”.
It is so easy to meet African women and men who throw out phrases such as “I am open minded” and “I am liberal”. But the moment you challenge the core old principles they live by, which are obviously irrelevant today—that is when you begin to see these people for what they are, complete opposite of what they are selling.
Mastering tolerance compromises of; opening up to new ideas, new visions, new ways of doing things, accepting those from far, bridging the gap and more importantly, being ready to see others do what used to upset you most without falling dead on the ground.
Most Africans cannot be part of any discourse—be it political, social, religious, economic or philosophy without insulting one another—just because they all have different views and directions. We are always at conflict with one another on trivial issues all because we do not understand the concept of tolerance.
The years of “RIGHT and WRONG” are no more, we are in an era of equal respect defined by tolerance—and as such, the RIGHT has no elevated rank compared to the WRONG. After all, we define most of the things we put in the RIGHT and WRONG box.
If we would be able to leave poverty behind and create a better world for ourselves as Africans, we must master tolerance—and we must accept that, there is no sense in living in a 21st century with an ultimate determination to “be an African” of the 11th century.
A tolerant person hardly gets offended, even if the punch is very close to home. Let’s embrace the different layers of our differences and be at WILL not to condemn but to tolerate. We can only fight for our betterment when we are together. And with our entrenched differences, we can never come together without mastering tolerance.
The master key to opening any 21st century door is tolerance!