People from Africa and those resident in the beautiful continent will testify to the fact that the friendliness of Africa supersedes any other. However, there is more to the continent than meets the eye. As spotted on Quora, check out the top 7 lessons that can be learnt from Africa.
1. That mineral wealth and natural beauty do not equal prosperity
Africa as a continent probably has more mineral wealth, natural beauty and resources than any other continent; most of the world’s diamonds, gold and platinum, home to some of the world’s most amazing wildlife destinations, massive oil and gas reserves and yet it is the poorest continent in the world. Partly due to years of exploitation and colonisation, and others raping and robbing the continent for their own gain. And partly due to years of mismanagement, poor government, corrupt leadership and bad education.
2. That lack of prosperity does not equal unhappiness
Africa is full of happy, beautiful, amazing people. To quote Ernest Hemingway: “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy.” Yes, there are problems in Africa but Africans always choose happiness. Africans love to sing and dance and some wedding feasts can last up to 7 days. Africa has some of the most friendly and happy people on the planet.
3. That hard work alone does not make you rich
Nobody works harder than Africa’s manual labourers, mine workers and mothers who carry firewood and water every day to cook food for their families. Hard work is important, but so are education, opportunities and infrastructure.
4. That it takes a village to raise someone
The west is known to be individual focused; individual success, individual rights, looking after yourself first. In Africa, there is a much stronger sense of community. Extended families are huge, and often help each other. Sometimes, there is one breadwinner supporting up to 10 or 15 people. Caring for the elderly is up to the adult children. It is uncommon to see elderly people in care homes in Africa because everyone is responsible for everyone in Africa, strengthening the sense of community is strong. Life is not all about you.
5. That power without checks and balances corrupts people and ruins nations
Unfortunately, Africa has had more than its share of power-hungry dictators and despots. In many countries, sudden decolonization and independence after years of exploitation often left a vacuum that was filled either by puppet regimes, or by opportunistic dictators in waiting. Coups have overthrown many a moderate government and replaced them with military dictatorships. Without strong democratic institutions, separation of powers, independent judiciary, a solid constitution and fair electoral system, and other checks and balances, the greedy and power-hungry politicians who sometimes take control of African governments have been the downfall of these countries. Like the pigs ruling George’s Orwell’s Animal Farm, they become self-serving instead of serving and building their nation. There are exceptions of course. But many failed states in Africa are a lesson on how not to run a country.
6. How to succeed in the face of hardship
Africa is full of amazing success stories. Creative people who succeed against all odds. Entrepreneurs who have the resilience, fortitude and creativity to build a prospering business in a tough environment, with limited resources, high risks and a volatile market. It’s not easy to make money in Africa. And yet where others would have given up, many people are doing an amazing job with a terrible starting hand and no chips in front of them.
7. That God made an amazingly beautiful world
If you’re stuck in a grey and boring city, come to Africa. If you want to see the beauty of creation, wildlife, scenery, people, waterfalls, stunning coastlines, come to Africa. The beauty of Africa far outweighs the problems, crime, poverty and hardship. The people are friendly and welcoming. The wildlife is amazing. You will want to visit again and again. Ask anyone who has been to Africa. But be warned - you can leave Africa, but Africa will never leave you!