“One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade” (Chinese Proverb)
During my formative years in
These were persons of high intellect and strong persona. And even those lacking formal schooling walked and spoke as though they were products of Makerere,
Ronald Wilson Reagan it was who said “Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation.” Forgive my sense of disillusionment, and hyperbolic language; I am inclined to think Africa of the last fifteen years will be hard-pressed to name two hundred Africans, living in
Let me say, here and now, that the Africans I have in mind were not gods or saints. In fact, most made very bad political mistakes. But that’s not what I am after; this is not about their failings and shorts comings. I’ll leave that to others to write and talk about. This is about a group of people who stirred my soul and made me think and wonder; this is about a group of people I was fond of: a group of men and women, scattered all over the continent, whose deeds, talents, courage and pronouncements gave me the impetus to imagine life’s endless possibilities. In spite of its follies and foibles, the
This is about a group of men and women who secured our independence. This is about Africans who were proud to be Africans. This is about men and women who walked the unknown path despite its challenges, and who crossed stormy seas and spiked tributaries in search of our liberty. These are Africans who gave their lives just so we may live, go forth, and prosper. Others were singers and song writers, painters, lawyers, members of the armed forces, and of various vocation and avocation. They touched my life and the lives of my friends, my equals, and the public.
Sadly, the life and times of these and other men are not properly documented in books or in movies. Africans are not very good at writing biographies and autobiographies. When our leaders, intellectuals, artists, and heroes die, we mourn their passing for a week or so and then go about our daily lives. There are hardly any monuments or institutions named after them. Streets may be. But there are hardly ever books and movies dedicated to their lives and accomplishments. What a shame! It is my hope that this essay will nudge a reader or two into looking into, document, and then celebrate the life of Africans who lived for us. At the very least, I am hoping that some readers will develop interest in the life and times of these giants, and be thankful of their struggles and sacrifices.
Somehow, one gets the feeling that the younger generation does not care about a time and a place that was once. It is almost as if they have no sense of self and of history; as if they have no sense of the society they are growing up in, and as if they have no sense of the men and women on whose shoulders we rest. If