Time to take pride in ourselves.

Author:Odinga, Winnie
Position:THE NEW AGE

It is time we stopped trying to imitate others and started taking pride in ourselves and concentrating on our own issues. Otherwise we end up as disposable playthings in other people's plans.

There are two magazines that I read religiously each month. The first, which is quite obviously a quality mag, is New African. The other publication I enjoy reading but find myself turning to less and less these days is The Economist. I'll tell you why.

While New African sets out to display world-class African stories and embellish its pages with what I consider progressive African writers, many Western publications are missing the point when it comes to this continent.

The Economist focuses on the US, Europe and Asia--the rest of the world's achievements are negligible. In fact they usually lump the Middle East and Africa together somewhere between pages 27 and 30. The photos they use even for positive economic stories about Africa are often of desolate, dark slum areas filled with hooligans running around. They tend to use generic photos so you can't tell whether they are from Lubumbashi, Kumasi or Gaborone.

Basically, they see no value in Africa itself but only as an outpost of Western interest and couldn't care less about its growth or even be bothered to show it positively. This is not a slight on The Economist only, most Western media does this too.

But what is galling, is that so many of our 'educated' people would rather be seen with a copy of The Economist (even if they don't read it). It is like being an uninvited guest at someone else's wedding while ignoring your own festivities. It is actually nothing more than a blatant display of the lack of confidence in yourself and your own issues.

I have written about this before and make no excuses for doing so again. We go to great lengths aping others--usually Westerners--and think that somehow the admiration we feel for them will rub off on us. But an imitation is an imitation and has no value when the original is around. Be proud to be what you are. There is plenty to be proud of --if you don't believe me, read New African instead of The Economist.

Lack of confidence

This lack of confidence in ourselves also takes more serious forms, when we become playthings--disposable playthings--in the plans and machinations of others.

Take the DRC for example. The country had a well-handled, democratic transition of power but still seems unstable almost eight months after President Tshisekedi has been sworn...

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