Even in the city centers, pockets of poverty exits in extreme. Poverty is everywhere you look. It is the poverty of the mind and heart that never leaves.
The lifestyle is so similar you wonder whether we poor Africans conduct benchmarking studies on how to live miserably. Kibera slum in Nairobi is like an extension of the Kikoni slum in Kampala. A visit to a high-rise apartment in the middle of any city will leave you holding your nose for the stench is unbearable! The lift never works. The apartment building is never maintained and each room is a mini prison of sorts.
In Africa, we do not invest a lot in research and development. This means we cannot create new knowledge. It is the worst of poverty.
The inability to create as well as innovate new things means that we are always looking down on any local innovators. We have acquired a certain test and class, and it is called “foreign test.” In fact, when we buy the most expensive car made in Germany, we feel on top of the world. We have arrived. When we can afford to go to the restaurant that sells fast meals branded with a foreign global name, we eat with a swagger – we want all and sundry to see us and acknowledge our ‘arrival’. Why not, we are Africans!
When we see someone walking on the street, as part of their healthy routine, we raise up our car windows. We think these people walking are so broke that we don’t even want to associate. I told you poverty of the mind and heart is extreme and deadly.
We have watched too much telly.
The same telly is programmed from foreign lands. The telly is set up such those who can afford to subscribe to foreign channels, feel a sense of greatness. Foreign content rarely promotes African rich culture and greatness. For example, Uganda is one of the most blessed countries in the world in terms of freshwater lakes, rich climate and fertile soils all year round. It is the best culture to grow fresh foods and supply the world. However, this fact is always muted.
Even the Ph.D. research papers focus on the literature review of other people’s ideas. This must change.
Thanks to the new Uganda study curriculum that focus on all-round education especially sports, and practical hands-on learning, young people have now an opportunity to gain skills to empower them to create new ideas.
We study books and knowledge created by others.
We are easily sold on small ideas as long as it is “foreign.” An international certification course is seen as a saviour. We are told that when you acquire this and this certificate you have global opportunities. You can work anywhere in the world. We are not told that not everyone can acquire visas to anywhere in the world! And anywhere in the world may not be the best place to work.
As a result, we become slaves to our qualifications – every year, pay money at the expense of saving for our old age.
It is ok to acquire a foreign degree and certificate. One or two are enough. You must be alert to not work your butt off sending annual fees. You mature the day you realize you are complete without any qualification initials after your name. the best way to do so is to practice – stop putting them on your name. Let people know your sophistication based on your work quality.
It is neo-colonialism when you continue to accumulate several qualifications, pay money and continue to pay annual subscriptions year after year – without a clear career plan. Identify the essential one or two certifications, and only manage that. This is an era of skills and competence. It is not about how many papers or qualifications you have. It is about what can you do?
Your best bet is paying subscription fees to your local professional body. That is all you need to succeed. What is your local professional body? Go there. You will find all the members and the resources you need. The good life is always at home.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.