The African Dream

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Perseverance, determination, stability, literacy, culture, hard work, investment, family, and success are but a few descriptive words that piece together the puzzle of a dream; more specifically, the “African Dream.” These terms were vessels of thought that came from individuals traveling through all walks of life. The voices ranged from my seven-year-old niece pouncing with magnetic bubbles of atomic energy eager for knowledge to my seventy-year-old grandmother whispering memories as she gently gazed at her rearview mirror. Saddened memories that she would hold on to as the faded opportunities of her learning to read and write were never enabled. 

The scramble for Africa by the so-called "superpowers" of the West dating back to the Berlin conference in 1884 left imprints on African soil. The scars of slavery, ambiguous self-identity, confusion and helplessness eventually became a reality for the African family. Much to one’s astonishment, a striking evolutionary side effect occurred. In trying to heal scars of an aching yesterday, the ancestral forefathers held on to a dream of a better tomorrow. Survivals of the fittest, grasping on to aspiration remained standing. As nature would have it, the African dream gene slowly became embedded in the human genome of the African being.
 

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The 53 countries that span across the African continent consist of people of varying skin complexion, hair texture, culture, language and ethnic origins. In doing a brief survey of 15 Africans representing Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Ethiopia and South Africa, I was able, to sum up, the backbone of the African Dream--OPPORTUNITY.  Opportunity to gain an education in a society where the only limit of attaining knowledge resides in the mental sphere of the individual. Opportunity to invest in family and loved ones so that one day their footprints will be mapped for others to follow. Opportunity to be the best individual an individual can be.  Opportunity to go back to the motherland and unscramble the ignorant, intolerant ideologies of an ancient school of thought void of corruption, manipulation and open to democratic principles for the advancement of economic stability.

The hope that one day, the only opportunity our children will seek would be the opportunity to establish themselves in Africa, a land not hoped for but a land where the idea of freedom and opportunity prevails; freedom from being confined to the realm of simplicity and thinking beyond the shallow scope of one’s understanding.
 

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Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of a mine, that a child of a farm worker can become president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given that separates one person from another
— Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s famous remark demonstrates the importance of being able to achieve growth in all facets of life through education. Mandela’s ideas represent a vision easily fulfilled when we empower our children with opportunity. The African Dream is the good fortune of opportunity. The rest is limitless possibilities. 

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