We start, God finishes. That is the mental disease crippling progress in Africa.
People start things but never finish them. They expect God to finish their work, obeying to their order through prayers, miraculously accomplishing their wishes.
The name of the disease is “noterminutus lazinus”. The cause is unknown, but the main symptom is a mindset characterized by a singular way of thinking and behaving: “we don’t have time for hard work, if only someone else could do things at our place, and we only enjoy the benefits.”
With such a mindset, our people are easily excited by new ideas and projects. They would volunteer or join a project team, but once the excitement of the new idea vanishes, they would also disappear, become idle, move to something shinier, or stop responding to any call to action.
Their involvement and dedication to push the new idea or project to become reality evaporate as fast as the light of thunder in the sky. Excuses and apologies replace actions, and nothing, and I would say nothing will ever succeed again to get them back to contribute, except an invitation to eat, drink and dance at the launch or closure ceremony.
With such a mindset it’s enough to pay lip service to a cause, and then leave it to others to make it reality. We Africans are too busy watching tv, hanging out with friends in bars, managing two or tree mistresses or girlfriends, spending countless hour on Facebook, twitter, sleeping tree times a day, to get involved in anything. We don’t have time. We are busy. We are sick.
We all wish for change, but it’s God responsibility to make it happen. We pray, we wish, we pronounce incantations because we don’t have time for the hard work required for change. Can anyone help us doing all the hard work at our place? You know we are only Africans, poor, miserable. Just do it for us, we will chant and dance at the opening ceremony!
The disease pervades the public administration, the private sector, associations, nonprofits.
For our leaders, it’s enough for them to make loud speeches and send begging letters for humanitarian help or the IMF/World Bank.
After the speeches, it’s up to NGOs, Chinese, and whoever wish to make things a reality. Our schools are built by NGOs, our public toilets are donations from the European Union, our airports are built by foreigners, our seaports are managed by foreigners, our softwares are built and maintained by foreigners, our roads are built by foreigners, our critical infrastructures are all in hand of foreigners.
We want all these things, but you know what we don’t have time for doing it ourselves. Too much work, too much trouble, too much thinking. Let’s the foreigners do that, while we enjoy life.
In our public administrations, new buildings or equipments will be delivered but it’s up to God to do the maintenance, do the regular checkup, plan for obliteration and provision budget for renewal or new purchase. Anything which crashes or stop working is left to rot. Maintenance is a foreign mindset.
In the private sector if the work is complex, they call in the white man or some external savior. They don’t have time to think, plan and go through the pain for building something great themselves. The solution to any problem is to buy, not build, create, innovate.
In the nonprofit sector, the main competency of the leaders is to write grants request projects, and then steal 80% of any fund received, fabricate false reports and invoicing papers, then buy local journalist for fake or dubious reportage about results.
Of course, this is a large brush painting, but one can’t help but noticed abandoned building where people are still working, unmaintained materials while they people who need them are sitting next to them with tons of excuses to convince themselves it’s not their responsibility to make things change.
I surveyed my city area recently. Old building are not maintained, repainted regularly, or refurbished. Only new building shines. if you’d wait few years later these new buildings will be no different from those unmaintained ones. Kids inherit the houses from parents, but they won’t carry on the work of their fathers. they will only see them slowly rot or dilapidated.
if a project is larger than our lifespan we don’t start it.That disease alone is the main cause of our pitiful conditions.
Generational build up is nonexistent.
Each generation comes and repeat the errors of their fathers, ignore lessons learned, abandon the foundations built, and start from zero again.
We are going nowhere with such a mindset. This my rant mood, keep reading, because you have to.
We need a new mindset.
The new mindset we need is the one of “no excuses” attitude and environment. When we start something we finish it. We don’t give up when things become difficult. We have a code of honor. when we give our word, we commit to achieve no matter what. We build up by carrying on the work our fathers and grandfathers with honor and dignity. We keep preciously the book of lessons learned from our ancestors. We pride ourselves because we are the best in the world in what we do. Excuses are for losers and we are Africans, descendants of the pyramids builders.
We have fallen, but it’s time we resurrect.
Maybe there is nothing we could to with the current generation, but we have to make sure the old diseases does not infect the new generations. We have the duty to plant the seeds of a change we would not see.
Ok, If you are not too old to change, this a call for you, finish what you have started. Respect your words, deliver on your commitment. Be an example for the new generation.