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330 A ‘Wannabe Attitude’ Africa’sNewHurdletoitsTransformationandAchievingtheMDGs Eliakim Owino and George Chacha INTRODUCTION In an ever modernising and globalising world Africa, like any other continent , cannot afford to lose her identity or to be left behind. Yet, as one travels across the continent of Africa, it is without any doubt that the continent is besieged with ‘trans-oceanic’ modernity and the pressure to look and feel modern is overwhelming. However, honest answers are needed for these questions: Is Africa on a mad dash to embrace modernity at her own peril? Can Africa look within herself for the transformation of the continent and the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs)? Should Africa stick to her traditions or adopt ‘trans-oceanic’ modernity? This paper aims to highlight the inter-sectionality of modernity and traditions and why Africa needs to adopt the right mix of modernity and traditions if she is to make any tangible and sustainable progress in the 21st Century – adopting suitable traditional and modernity choices and discarding those that are likely to contribute to stagnation. In addressing the questions above, this paper will first highlight some of the core traditions that are necessary for Africa’s transformation, and then evaluate the relevance of modernity to Africa. Finally, this paper highlights the need for originality which is one of the emerging challenges to the transformation of the continent. Africa is seen as imitating other nations’ ideologies (especially the Western ideologies) without any careful consideration resulting in a lopsided acculturation, hence the use of the terms ‘wannabe attitude’ and ‘copy paste society’ in this paper. This paper thus proposes the way forward in tackling the wannabe attitude, by setting out selection criteria for sieving out retrogressive traditions and modernities. CHAPTER 19 331 BACKGROUND A lot has been documented in the recent times on the progress within the continent of Africa yet at the same time many questions are being raised on this progress. There has been a record of relatively high sustained growth rate since the turn of the century compared to stagnation of previous decades but this has not resulted into the creation of employment, wealth or improved welfare for ordinary Africans or made the integration of Africa more realisable than before.1 Consequently, the Pan African dream of the founding fathers remains an ideal, though as Adogamhe2 rightly points out, it is achievable if supported by the process of socio-economic and political transformation. Through noble initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the continent has had to refocus her priorities to ensure that Africa eradicates extreme poverty and provides a dignified living standard to her citizens.3 Yet ten years after the initiation of the MDGs, statistics still indicate that in parts of Africa, such as Southern Africa, mortality rate has increased from 171 in the 1990 to 381 in 2008 as highlighted by the World Bank Group for the Millennium Development Goal.4 If anything, following the MDGs and implementing them in totality should translate into a transformed Africa – where hunger and poverty are eradicated, children have access to primary school education, child mortality is reduced, maternal health improved, gender equality promoted, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combated and environmental sustainability is prioritised, as was described by Munoz.5 Despite the dedicated African leadership and the enormous efforts channelled to change the African situation by the world partners not much has been achieved hence the question: What is Africa’s new hurdle to its transformation and achieving of the MDGs? From the onset of their formative years many African countries never had the unbridled opportunity to formulate afro-centred polices either because of colonial hangovers or discreet manipulation by the Western nations who have always acted to further their own interests. In the recent past, Africa’s situation has been further complicated by the dynamics of globalisation and the generational crossroads she finds herself in. The post-colonial generation that have held the reins of power are now retiring and a new generation who have more affinity to modernity are now the ones holding power. Whereas the post-colonial leaders were coerced into accepting ‘trans-oceanic modernity’6 as a condition for receiving financial aid through the ‘Washington Consensus’, or shall we call it ‘Washington Orthodoxy’, the current generation of African leaders have less prescriptive and less conditional aid sourcing options yet they are most likely to A ‘WANNABE ATTITUDE’ 332 CHAPTER 19 embrace modernity. More so, in...


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