“Given all the natural resources that we have in Africa, and all the other resources that we have been blessed with, does any one know why Africa remains the way it is now? I cant count the number of times I have heard this particular question been asked. I wish Prof. Babatunde’s class with us all at #UDWFL #YALI2014 on “Challenges Facing Africa” was the last time, I will be asked such a question. Sadly it won't.
Last week was quite hectic and intense. We had closed to 11 academic tutors and mentors, who took us through cross-cutting interdisciplinary subjects - like “Democratic Representation and Accountability in the US; Rule of Law and Judicial Independence; Challenges facing Africa. We also visited a couple of NGOs, CBOs like Easter Seal, Delaware Center for Comptemporary Arts (DCCA) as well as some historic centres like the 9/11 Memorial, Stature of Liberty, Twin Tower…etc"
Learning about American history in-depth for the first time was very much an eye opening for me. Through this program, I was able to get deeper understanding on how the US system is structure, particularly about their federal system and most interesting how though there is one federal constitution, each of the 50 states has its own constitution, local government structure (county but not sovereign).
The American polity is quite complex and vast and yet it has managed to minimise faction.
SO - WHAT is the issue with Africa? if I may ask -
What would it mean for most African government to provide participatory leadership?
How can African youth partner with their government to improve services and better their community and country? Prof. Babatunde asked.
During one of our sessions, we had a conversation on Mandela, being one of the exemplary on Africa Leadership “he gave the type of leadership that generates servant leadership. As #African we can contribute to the rest of the world” said Prof. Setiloane
Further, Prof Setiloene provokes each one of us to think deeper to “Why was NelsonMandela the way he was?
My take home however from last week kept me reflecting on Nelson Mandela’s leadership approach and how his uniqueness and values could be the one Africa model we can uphold in terms of advancing effective (citizen) Leadership in Africa.
Just as Prof said; YES- “we know what the current state of Africa is but can we look at the future and its transition?”
NOTE: #UDWFL or #UDWFYAL is the General hashtag for Washington Fellows on Placement at University of Delaware