Each day I go to sleep and when I wake up, I wish I could spend massive amounts of ink telling the story of how a solitary flower with genuine roots, parented by the ever-caring and loving mother earth may blossom, as it imbibes from the rain and sunshine.

I wish I could colonise prime space to admire the blossom and shout out loud that to ignore the requirement for roots to be on a well-cared-for garden is to accept the death of all flowers.

I long to write a billion words about the pleasure of walking into a realm where flowers display their beauty and emit hyponastic aroma…a place where the enchanting splendour is not a paper-thin work of paint and easel.

Deep in the bowels of my soul where joy dwells, I long to praise the tenacious blossoms of all kinds of flowers born to take whatever comes their way and still remain a masterpiece of exquisiteness.

I wish to tell the story of how my loving and strict mother made me admire flowers. If you were to pause long enough you would be enchanted by how flowers invite trees to go along with them, to make our surroundings enchanting enough to refresh the air that we breathe.

Deep down in my heart of hearts I want to share with you how at times I feel that flowers are nature’s exquisite graffiti, the bewildering and bewitching stance against the ugliness of human greed. The beauty of flowers is, to me, nature’s rebellious feature meant to cheer us on.

My mother taught me that never try to will a flower to open faster, to see the beauty you know is inside. She told me that nature has its way, its timing, and I have to wait if the flower was not ready yet. Be patient, she said, in a few days it would bloom.

I cannot write about flowers, when Africa has a rope around her neck. I live in a continent where children are turned into killing machines or die before they can make sense of the world. Each passing day I wish I could be a poet who takes an interest in the moon.

As Africans, we don’t see the moon from prison cells of trials and tribulations. No matter how beautiful the moon can be, we do not see it because our souls are overloaded with grief and despair.

In our continent, we pick flowers for our dearly departed. Every day, as a people, we deal with pain not where the knife enters, but how and where the blade is twisted.

My Africa carries a multibillion-dollar deity with a half-a-cent of heaven. All it takes is one spark before sunrise, and human brains are scattered across the veld. With every passing second, we lurch from crisis to crisis…Africa is in pain.

Resolving Africa’s long-standing struggles demands a new kind of leadership that is not obsessed with feeding their greedy egos. We yearn for leaders whose level of intelligence is not depleted by the desire to amass illicit wealth.

No piecemeal response will effectively assist in solving the myriad problems faced by the continent. Our problems are many, varying from malnourishment, mediocre education, internecine wars, inferior standards of living, near to the ground socioeconomic development, pitiable health care, to high mortality rates.

According to the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals, “Extreme poverty remains stubbornly high in low-income countries and countries affected by conflict and political upheaval, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Among the 736 million people who lived on less than $1.90 (R28) a day in 2015, 413 million were in sub-Saharan Africa.

&This figure has been climbing in recent years and is higher than the number of poor people in the rest of the world combined.”

In July, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there were an estimated 37.7 million (30.2–45.1 million) people living with HIV at the end of 2020, over two thirds of whom (25.4 million) are in the WHO African Region.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its 2021Yearbook says: “There were at least 20 states (out of a total of 49 states) with active armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020: Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. Ten were low-intensity, sub-national armed conflicts, and 10 were high-intensity armed conflicts (Nigeria, the DRC, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mali, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Cameroon and Niger). Except for CAR and Somalia, all the other 18 armed conflicts had higher estimated conflict-related fatalities in 2020 than in 2019.

&The total regional increase was about 41 per cent, giving the region the most conflict-related fatalities globally.”

It further tells a spine-chilling story that, “Almost all the armed conflicts were internationalised, including as a result of state actors and the transnational activities of violent Islamist groups, other armed groups and criminal networks.

&The conflict dynamics and ethnic and religious tensions were often rooted in a combination of state weakness, corruption, ineffective delivery of basic services, competition over natural resources, inequality and a sense of marginalisation.

“Security dilemmas in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 were also shaped by election-related violence and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as water insecurity and the growing impact of climate change.”

It is against this backdrop of a protracted and perverse lack of intelligent leadership, that Africa must disengage from autopilot when taking action, and setting forth new and executable ideas to set off a way of new thinking.

As our so-called leaders scratch their woolly and soft balls, a report in published in phys.org by Earth Institute at Columbia University: “Warfare, not climate, is driving resurgent hunger in Africa, according to a study by International Research Institute for Climate and Society.”

The study revealed that for years, “it seemed the world was making progress eliminating hunger. Then, starting in 2014, the trend slid back slowly and reversed in many nations; now, some 700 million people, nearly 9 percent of the world’s population go to bed hungry, according to the UN.”

You don’t you have to use your grandparents’ social or pension grant to bet who are the hardest hit.

“One of the hardest-hit regions is sub-Saharan Africa. Here, many people reflexively blame droughts stoked by climate change.

&But a new study looking at the question in granular detail says that is not the case: long-running wars, not the weather, are to blame. The study, just published in the journal Nature Food, finds that while droughts routinely cause food insecurity in Africa, their contribution to hunger has remained steady or even shrunk in recent years.

&Instead, rising widespread, long-term violence has displaced people, raised food prices and blocked outside food aid, resulting in the reversal.”

There is research which was conducted by a Ghanaian academic who stays in the US and a is Fellow of the Institute of African Leadership, Professor Bennett Annan, who holds a Master’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Doctor of Psychology, and Doctor of Education (EdD), which has attributed the slow pace of development on the African continent to lack of participative leadership.

According to the research titled: “Leadership Styles of Africans: A Study Using Path-Goal Leadership Theory,” if African managerial leaders can use the participative leadership style most often as their counterparts do in the industrialised nations, the effectiveness of African leaders will be improved.

“Subsequently, it will decrease poverty, increase the standard of living, and change the way Africans think and act at the institutional and personal level.

&For Africa to advance, it must evolve its own managerial leadership philosophy, one that is rooted in African culture,” the research added.

You can say whatever you want to, but Africa needs a new, visionary and pragmatic leadership.

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