Monday, July 05, 2010
The Letter Writing Project: Africa's Creation of a Unifying Power (CUP)
It's been a good 50 years since the day you were born from that mustard seed of hope. You've come a long way since then. Today (July 2, 2060) historians are trying to pinpoint exactly the moment you were birthed. Was it the day ECOWAS, COMESA and all the other economic unions finally became one - the African Economic Union (AEU) - and adopted the Afco (African currency) as the nation's currency? Or rather, the day Afrikaans was accepted as the standard language linking all across the motherland? No, it must have been the hour when Africans - both home and abroad - cast their votes in that historic and highly contested presidential election. One that led to ascension of one visionary and exemplary leader to the position of President of the U.S. of Africa. They have it all backward. If you ask anyone from my generation - I'll be 74 in a fortnight or so - they will tell you that mustard seed of hope was planted the day South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup: May 15, 2004. Yes, it was eons ago, and very dramatic too, but look at you now!
With 32 teams in contention for the Jules Rimet trophy, better known as the World Cup, and its accompanying bragging rights, Africa's warriors stood tall and proud - Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, and Ghana - the big six. In addition to making it far in the tournament, many Africans hoped that the tournament would win over more tourists to the continent (yes, back then, if you called Africa a country, you'd be met with strong disapproval!) and showcase Africa's best. We especially hoped to disintegrate the constant media portrayal of the motherland as a dark continent of hunger, war and extreme destination. (You might have to go to the archives section of the Great Library of African History to find out what those words mean since they no longer exist in your time).
While the Black Stars played in South Africa, an amazing transformation was taking place across the continent. The collective consciousness had changed. People were beginning to believe in themselves and in miracles again. This might sound confusing to you, my little one, but things weren't always as they currently are. With all the poverty, lack of child innocence, hunger, violence and what-have-you, most Africans were not living. They were simply existing. And that's a dangerous place to be. Because of the constant struggles they had to go through, and because of the wide-spread desperation, many of your ancestors forgot that they always had all they ever needed. God had given them the one thing he'd denied ever other creature (That we knew of at the time. Your cousins on mars were just mere speculation at the time): creative energy.
And it did. Just not in physical terms. You see, my dear one, while the Black Stars struggled and fought to become the first African team to ever reach the World Cup semi-finals - and boy, did they fight for it - they never got there. In what is still hailed as the most dramatic football match, Uruguay and Ghana battled it out for that one spot in the competition. It was a close game, with both sides chalking a goal each. And then, during the final moments of the match, a breakthrough happened. Well, it depends on who you ask. Luis Suarez, a key Uruguayan player, mishandled (or should I say handled) the ball and Ghana won a penalty. Was the one goal campaign to resume? Everyone thought so. After all, Ghana's own Gyan was gonna take the shot. He would have also set a record as the newest player to score four goals during the World Cup tournament. But God had other plans. Gyan missed the shot, the game went into penalties, the Uruguayans advanced with a 4-2 penalty win and Africa and its supporters were disappointed. But they were also proud. Proud of the Black Stars and proud of themselves. Because, where international peace treaties had failed, football had succeeded in unifying Africa for a common goal.
So my darling. If ever you forget. Or if ever you're unsure. Or if ever external forces threaten to break you. Keep calm, look within and re-member. You have the power, you've always had it and you always will. All you have to do is BELIEVE.
With much love,
P.S. How could I forget something this important? Needless to say, the world of football was never the same after Africa's World Cup. And then YOU came on stage: Team Africa. From then on, the ball game was transformed. So as you go onto that pitch tomorrow to do what you do best, remember: You're THE Black Star (Hope)!
Photo Source: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6