Like a lot of you, I've been thinking about this post on lazy intellectual Africans. I agree that I have been indifferent to Africa's unique challenges, as evidenced by some thoughts I had early last year when I was given my research project topic. I wrote in one of my notebooks,
"...how can I be paying so much money to come and do a project [on improving soils] that I could have done back home? Instead of me to do something tek (advanced), like on carbon capture and storage, or hydrogen fuel cells..."
I grumbled on but eventually made peace with the topic, but didn't stop to really analyse my attitude: yes I was paying a lot of money to study and do research, but YES.. I knew fully well that most African countries are not yet ready to implement new, impressive sounding technologies like fuels from microalgae or energy crops, fuel cells, etc on any scale decent enough to make a global difference. (ya mun gama da su bioethanol production a NNPC? How have we fared with bioethanol production at NNPC?). If I am wrong about our inability to implement such advanced technologies I dare you to challenge me (lol, just added that last sentence to sound fierce :) ). It's been a thought that hasn't left me, especially as I am in the process of choosing another research topic for the next couple of months, and find myself resenting the fact that I cannot really pursue trendy, innovative energy technologies at the expense of 'old skool' technologies that would be better suited for present-day Africa (hey no judge me lol). Western schools have tailored their schools to meet their environmental/economic/social needs, not the other way round. So I am asking myself the same question the Walter character asked Ruwe:
"...where are the [Nigerian] intellectuals? Are the [Nigerian] engineers so imperceptive they cannot invent a simple stone crusher, or a simple water filter to purify well water for those poor villagers? Are you telling me that after [50-menene] years of independence your university school of engineering has not produced a scientist or an engineer who can make simple small machines for mass use? What is the school there for?”Yes, yes... what educational system has equipped us anyway? And what of the corrupt governments et al. But I still feel dissatisfied after passing the blame buck o jare.
Just Plannin' Out Loud...
So... in order to prevent myself from just shelving the thoughts that burned inside me as I read Field Ruwe's article on one dusty topshelf of my brain, I've decided to actively seek out seminars and workshops on African development (I am always so curious when I find non-Africans that are so interested in Africa's challenges... and no, I don't think a good number of them are merely strategizing on new ways to rob us lol). Fortunately for me, I'm still at my uni, where I get to register with research groups that interest me. Now, after gathering all this info on Africa, I will... get back to you on my next course of action in a month's time. One step at a time.
Do you have any specific plans for improving Africa?
"Africa, na we own oo"
(N.B.: fastforward to 1:11 for Africa song, cheers!)