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Introduction to Roadmap for Invention Series

Let us not try be the best or worst of others, but let us make the effort to be the best of ourselves: Marcus Garvey in Ngugi waThiongo (1981)

Roadmap for invention series is born out of the struggle of the mind. The struggle is being constantly initiated by conversations I have on a daily basis with those in my circles. The conversations aided with lived experiences of me and my fellow villagers, youths and all peoples of Zimbabwe and Africa leave me with so many questions. I often ask who am I and what are the constituents that forms the socio-political and socio-economic make-up of the person I can call myself. This question obviously transcend me to be equally asked of us. The question leads to many other endless questions that comes according to time and circumstances.

I’m concerned about my and our position and positioning in the world. Where do I belong? This is a kind of question that frightens me. I sometimes feel I’m placeless. This thinking leaves me seeing myself as a wanderer roaming back and forth in an environment that I didn’t create. Since I didn’t create the space I’m roaming around, I find myself alienated and in less control of myself and my own actions. As I immensely become imprisoned in these thought tracks, I always find myself a historical creation. I begin to think how historical forces gathered themselves to throw the garbage of their convergences upon the very being of my existence.

Sometimes they dangerously make me pessimistic. At such moments I feel helpless at the thought of circular motions of history across generations.

There are those moments where these thoughts stimulate energy to probe further into my condition. It is such confrontation with history psychologically that draws me into the abyss of history. Out of my own will I begin to think if I cannot make history. Frighteningly, I realize my very being and existence is history in the making. If I feel pessimistic and fold my hands, I will be through that very act contributing in historical manufacture.

It is this realization that made me think if I can have another way in which I can converse with history in all its forms: past, present and and the future.

Without me knowing it, I consciously decided to change my approach as to how I contribute to the historical making for the future. It only comes by agitating for the change that I think we want, especially the young and youthful.

A critical look of the current political and economic set up pays little attention to this group. They’re extremely marginalized. A worrisome trend is how we are complicit of our condition. We are jobless and energetic. Many a time we find ourselves watching light giving chance to darkness while smoking and drinking at some street corner that serves as a meeting place for the able-bodied and powerful yet idle landless and unemployed youth.

If I were to use specific examples I will draw from the Zimbabwean case, which I know is less different from what is happening across Africa. As I write this I am aware of the the dangerous pact of (neo) colonialism and the shortfalls of the presumably independent African country. Colonialism has left our grandfathers landless and poor. However, years of flag independence has left this generations in an extremely dangerous level of the abyss. It will take an unimaginable levels of courage to take ourselves out of the abyss.

It is this courage I hope to instill through this series under the title Roadmap for Invention. I interpret the word roadmap as pathway or guideline. So I am thinking we need to have a discussion as a generation on ‘what can we do?’ ‘who are we?’ where are we and and where are we going?’. These questions, I hope are part of the foundation for interrogation the historical processes that created and are still creating multiple levels of zero creativity in us. These questions might be able to make us question if elections will ever change our lives and conditions as today’s generation.

Invention is a term linked to creativity and production. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, invention is a product of the imagination. With these definitions of the key words that constitutes the series title I hope to contribute to the debates on what can be done to save our lives from being pawns in the political chase games of the leaders we think are representing us or what can be done for us to have real wealthy in a world where enticing terms are forever being invented to hoodwink us into believing we are a part of this life. We need to think of ourselves as a generation in our respective countries, in Africa and the globe in general.

At this juncture I’m borrowing Ngugi wa Thiongo’s words in his essay collection Writers in Politics: essays reflects literature as

men (and women’s) intellectual and imaginative activity embodies, in words and images, the tensions, conflicts, contradictions at the heart of a community’s being and process of becoming. It is a reflection on the aesthetic and imaginative planes, of a community’s wrestling with its total environment to produce the basic means of life, food, clothing, shelter, and in the process creating and recreating itself in history.

Building on this apt description of what life is the series hopes to think of the realities we find ourselves in as a generations and the possibilities of our actions if we act. The actions can be in docile or active form of confrontation of our realities. From the possible actions, possibilities will be born. For a person who lives in a nation that claims to have gone through land re-distributions I should be in a position to question my position in it. For someone in a nation characterized by toxic political polarities I want to question and engage with those of my generation of our place in this space. I want to know what real entrepreneurship can be like and the key and meaningful drivers of such an animal. I want to know the kind of education needed by someone like me post the numeracy statistical position my country is in, in the whole of Africa. I want to imagine how as a generation can we harness our energies and intellect to claim space to start meaningful projects that can leave us with an income. How can we deal with re-orienting ourselves from selling our labor to harnessing our labor?

I want to imagine of the possible developmental contribution one can do as a diaspora especially after the plague has helped us to demystify the myth of global citizenry where passport and foreign affairs ministries are still functional. I want to have a discussion on how we can start home industries. I want to see how science in Africa should imagine creativity and manufacturing against reluctant leadership to effectively and genuinely support real scientific and industrial innovation. I am thinking of millions of research compilations by students that are gathering dust in university libraries which I am thinking of calling research dumping sites. I wish students will add a magical touch to these intellectual compilations by shamelessly using their hands and power to make sure the researches are tested by practicality. I am thinking of how this generation can re-imagine African politics and governance by taking it upon themselves to engage politics differently form the way we know it of as at present. I want to imagine how women of our generation can realize real empowerment as full human beings. I want to imagine we can deal with the dangerous effects of years of disenfranchisement such as violence and idleness. I also want to think of the kind of religion we have in relation to ideals of spirituality that enriches humanity with love and creativity.

In short Roadmap for Intervention Series is looking for a thorough engagement with the interface between African youth and land, politics, science, technology, religion, business and history among other issues pertaining to this life. Roadmap for Invention Series is a call for a different kind of thinking with a bias towards the youth and development. I envisage the series as a subtle confrontation with power and status quo. For those willing to participate in this fine madness you are welcome to be guests here.

Taking Afroblogging to the next level

Advocate’s Desk

Published by advocateofunpopularopinions

I am a preacher confused in the constant happenings of life. I have been secretive about inner thoughts. Now I want to flow with them. I want to vomit. The pen is my link to the paper. The keyboard becomes the first step towards you. The internet will sort everything else considering I am not broke.

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