By Dr. Swebby Macha (UTH) , Lusaka Zambia
Reflecting on an earlier article this year by Field Ruwe , a Zambian based in the United States of America (USA) entitled ‘ The African Intellectual is Lazy’ ; I would say this is not far from the truth but I can also add that the African Intellectual Lacks Critical Thinking. What I mean is the critical thinking needed to drive the continent out of poverty and into prosperity. We tend to be comfortable doing the ordinary and fear to come out of the comfort zone and think outside the box. How long are we going to wait for the western intellectual to think for us over our problems when solutions are in plain sight?
One of my life memorable events was on one hot October late morning in 1977 when walking to school 5km away in central Zambia . I was with my late dad Simon and as if to answer a troubling question on my mind as to why I was troubling myself walking a total of 10km each day to school ; a plane passed overhead in clear blue skies. Dad said ‘if you go to school, you will either fly that plane or be a passenger’. Thirty five years later, this statement remains relevant to me and all those who cherish education. Many African parents now send their children to school with clear messages of ‘ Get educated to have a better life and be of service to your nation’.
I am particulary concerned about the contribution the African Intellectual has made in transforming the lives of people in their countries. Whilst many have argued that in the absence of real political power for the intellectuals, nothing much can be achieved, I strongly feel the African intellectual has not lived to the expectations of their communities and nations. In clear circumstances where the African intellectual’s input is critical, the intellectual has opted to either side with the greedy and corrupt politicians or remain silent instead of offering professional advice which may be unpopular then but the right thing to do.
The pending task for the African intellectual therefore is critical thinking and responsibility over the destiny of their countries. May I need to ask again ;why should you send your children to school?
N.B: the author is a practising gynaecologist and currently studying pelvic floor surgery in south Africa.