May 21, 2019
The rooster crows, and that was when I realized that i was awake all night; and at that moment, the bedside clock was reading 4:07 am.
It was a night of restlessness, and only God knows for how long I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling of my room.
I have counted all the squares on the ceiling, and my gaze was firm on it. I was fully convinced that I will be able to give a perfect description without missing even the smallest dot in the ceiling.
I was so worried, and the exhaustion I felt deep down reminded me of what Corrie Ten Boom said. She said worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it empties today of its strength.
I recalled the tales of hope that I have shared with my friends and fans in my previous posts. I thought that will be it, especially after challenging everyone to unite in faith and save Nigeria, but the story hasn’t come to an end yet.
It is a story about changing the way Africa is being portrayed by the media and the western world; which we all know how the continent is painted red and black.
The African continent is being portrayed as an island of poverty ravaged by hunger and malnutrition. Some see the continent as a colony of war and bloodshed while others view it as a place where bamboo houses are built in the desert. Or a zone surrounded by illiteracy and under-development and so many negativity.
Or as a mere territory of uncivilized monkeys, similar to the story of Ota Benga, a Congolese man who was kept in a New York zoo.
This is the story that the African Public Relations Association (APRA) wants to change by reflecting the current transformation the continent is witnessing.
Even before I embarked on the journey, I knew it was going to be worth it. I had all the energy it takes to make the trip an adventurous one. I could also read the same eagerness in some of the delegates as we met at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
We want to change the tides of history, we want to be the architect of our own identity and the masterminds of our positive stories.
We want to counter the African proverb that says until the lions have their own historians, the story of the hunt will continue to be glorified by the hunter. We want to do it by showing that the lion can now speak for itself!
This is what took us to the city of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
We gathered outside to embark on a tour to see how we can re-write some of those African stories that were painted negatively.
Everyone was excited as the history was narrated yet again, but no one anticipated that tears will flow that day, as we all quietly watched and listened.
It was a short post-war story, and even though this was not the first time most of us heard about it, it told differently. The story was narrated by the survivors; the victims of the deadly genocide.
We weren’t moved that much by the stories told at the Belgian memorial in Kigali; we thought it was just like yet another pre-colonial one.
At the Kigali Genocide Memorial; still excited and ready for more adventure, the post-war video we watched entirely changed everything.
What seemed so exciting turned out into a moment of sorrow and grief.
The memorial ground is the city of the dead where all the discovered bodies were housed.
Despite my zeal to take pictures and share the story with you, I just couldn’t. Like others, I was entirely emotional and lost control of my tears.
I wept to my satisfaction recounting the images in my mind’s eye; looking at all the Rwandese as victims in one way or the other.
History will never forget how the Hutu’s mercilessly killed the Tutsi’s; in their millions, but though unfortunate, life must go on.
All that was put behind and the city was rebuilt and what matters most to them is Rwanda first!
Mahatma Gandhi said strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
Napoléon Bonaparte also said courage is not having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.
This is precisely one of the things
that will soon change the African narrative, as Jonas Salk said, hope lies in
dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare
to make dreams into reality.
How did they do it? How can we all do it?
Join me in the next part of the story to find out how…