1405 - Morality and Africa's Development

The  African  continent  has  fought  mighty  battles  championing the  cause  of  freedom,  refusing  to  accept  a  position of subservience  to  those who,  bent  on  subjugating  its  people to  the  level of labourers,  have  wielded  political  power  over it. So  by  virtue  of  our  morally  driven  victories, there should be at the heart of the African agenda and all our work a moral  consciousness  and  power  that  leads to justice and righteousness. Yet Africans continue to suffer even at the hands of their  own  kith  and  kin,  who  should  be  leading  them  to a better life. Africa’s  leaders  should refrain from blaming the past for our ills and accept unequivocally  the  responsibility  of  changing  the  social landscape  of  Africa.  This  is  not  meant  to  excuse  those  global  forces  that  continue to buffet the continent, seeing it as a prey to be devoured.


Perhaps  the  problem  of  Africa  is  Africa’s  moral  capacity to  do  right  by  Africa.  Future and contemporary Church leaders need to be asked if Christianity has anything to  offer  to  resolve  this  moral  impasse. What moral power must pervade Africa for Africa to find its life?  The challenge is to give Jesus the voice and personhood that is recognisable as bringing salvation to Africa. In Him we have to see God incarnate in Africa.  We have tended to make  the  Church  more  acceptable  to  Africa (adaptation of liturgy)  without equally  trying  to  address  the  question  of  Christ’s incarnation  in Africa effectively. It is as He engages in our struggles and faces us with tough life choices that incarnation begins to take root. Can Africa echo Christ’s words “I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil”? The  hungry  and  the poor  in  Africa  are  asking,  “Did  you  come  for us  too?” Otherwise  why  are  the  powerful  so  exulting  in  the  wealth  of our land that they even display it in our faces with such disdain and impunity?


The crisis of Africa is the decline of moral consciousness that renders accountability moribund.  At  the  heart  of  the  call  for  the  African  renaissance  is  the conviction  that  the  renewal  of  Africa  is  interlinked  with  the renewal  of its  people,  its  institutions  and  its  self-esteem. This  renewal  must be  effected  by Africa’s own  children;  it  cannot  be  imported  from  other  nations.  It is linked to the new affirming self-understanding by Africans. It calls on Christians to say whether the empowering  Holy  Spirit is available to Africans in a different way to other peoples of the world.


Stephen  Bantu  Biko  maintained  up  to his last breath that Africa has something beautiful that the world  is  waiting  for  expectantly.  And that gift is UBUNTU, a unique appreciation of what it means to be human, which also inspired Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Truthfulness  to  this  gift  demands  that  we  reject  man-made classifications  of  different  races  and  ethnic  groupings and embrace and assert the fact of the unity of the human race. It is  from  this  reality  that  the  social  goal  of  the  ‘common  good’ makes sense. Africa  has  to  assert  that  “true  abiding  happiness  cannot exist  while  others  suffer;  it  comes  only  from  serving others, living  in  harmony  with  nature.” This  has  to  be  the  mantra  of  Christian  witness  in  Africa.


Perhaps even more challenging is the rigidity with which the continent locks itself behind the status of “sovereignty” of nations and countries, even when it knows that its people are dying within their sovereignty and are crying for help. If indeed we have  a  potential  to  find  new  meaning  to  what  it  means  to  be human together in the ideal of UBUNTU, should this not form the  centre  of  conversation  between  us  all,  no  matter  what our religious affiliation, so that we can craft a moral base to which we can hold  each  other  morally  accountable  for  our  common life? Africa and its individual nations, will not overcome its problems without nurturing a moral power that will be at the core of Africa’s being and embedded in her myriad faiths.


Read the source from ‘Morality and Africa's Development’ by Rev. Dr. Mvume Dandala












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