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African Development: A Challenge Of Culture (1)

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By Satguru Maharaj Ji

From one convention to another conference, African leaders move in search of solutions to Africa’s development problems. Agreements aimed at facilitating Africa’s development process have been signed and many more will certainly be drafted for the Heads of State to append their signatures. Beyond the glitz and spotlightings that attend these ceremonies is the fact that decades of traveling to Europe, America, Asia and the Middle-East by African leaders to dialogue, sign agreements and negotiate deals have not stopped Africa from lagging behind in the global development index! This trend has persisted not because Africa is jinxed but because African leaders are still far from embracing the actual fundaments that make for real and profound development!

Culture is the temporal soul of a people’s existence. It contains the copious and diverse substance that identifies, differentiates and nourishes their presence on earth. Separate a people from their culture and they certainly will start failing on the planet. In fact, one of the most potent ways to kill a society is to either pollute their culture or isolate them from it! This follows that a primary step towards real and profound development is cultural renaissance. Late Mahatma Gandhi once stated that for a people to make real progress, they must first re-connect with their ancient civilizations. Look around, assess the world’s progressive countries and find out of any has been growing on account of sacrificing its cultural heritage. Not even the United States of America which is an amalgam of cultures jokes with the relevance of culture to its desired progressions.

The education of the modern African in respect of developing his nation has been at variant with the unique nature and needs of his society. The clearly Eurocentric (and Arabocentric) education of modern black man essentially programmes him to be subservient to Europe i.e. to white man! Same applies to those whose educational systems are fashioned in-line with Arab civilization such as Sudan and Somalia. I call on African leaders to realize that the dream of transforming Africa is inextricably dependent on establishing an Africa-centred cultural order in their respective nations. In other words, the progress they seek for their countries cannot but devolve from re-connecting their respective nations with their indigenous cultural endowments! This is plain and paramount truth! It is a natural fact!

The primordial and universal fact that the spiritual determines the physical should not be viewed through the glass-prism of trivialization. True it is that many regard matters spiritual as abstract, but the fact that the ordinary eyes cannot sight spiritual activities does not and can never erode their power over the fate of the physical world. Deep are spiritual matters, all of which are naturally accessible through the pathway of culture. Every society is made-up of people. Every human is fundamentally a spirit. This follows that society is a collection of spirits. The successful management of a people or society is as such hinged on indepth knowledge of their unique spirituality. This knowledge is ancient and embedded in every culture. In other words, every human-being has his (or her) own unique spiritual ‘signature’ in the eternal and governing cosmic system of the universe. Join people together to form a nation or society and what automatically occurs is the fusion of individual spiritual imprint to form a spiritual matrix that is exclusive to the group! Within the context of the natural and eternal fact that the spiritual determines the physical, the primary focus of man in trying to make society successful should be on mastering the spiritual matrix of his needy nation. This mastery is primarily spiritual, the interpretation of which is intellectual. Application can be both spiritual and physical, depending on the nature of need or on the imperative of circumstance! This goes to say that the real secrets that underpin the success of Japan, China, US, Germany et.al are spiritual. I must add that these knowhow are never put on display in the public domain! Americans will always be open to the idea of availing Africans tons of Ivy League University degrees but certainly not the core spiritual secrets behind the diverse progress that have made their country great! Same applies to China, UK and the other prosperous nations of the modern world. These powerful secrets are present in African cultures. Authentic world history tells that modern-day progressive nations learnt most of the spiritual knowledge they use for driving and protecting their progress from Africa! According to late Kwame Nkrumah, ‘we have lost touch with what our forefathers discovered and knew … due to the (alien) system of education … (which) prepares us for a subservient role to Europe and things European.  It was directed at estranging us from our own cultures … to serve a new and alien interest’.

TO BE CONTINUED …

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