While sitting in the sprawling Ga-Mashie township on the outskirts of Accra in Ghana last week I saw once again the familiar tensions between development imperatives necessary to grow an active citizenry and its political masters with their own agendas.
The story of Ga-Mashie is a parallel story to District Six. It is out of Ga-Mashie, the home of the Ga people, that Accra was born. But promises made by both colonisers and current government leaders to develop Ga-Mashie have not materialised and the once proud home of the Ga people has become a modern-day slum like many others across the world.
As a continent we are stuck in the stranglehold of increasing inequality. We wake up each day to a deepening despair at the intransigence of corruption, broken promises and violence.
In pondering all this, the words of American naturalist John Burroughs comes to mind. He once said: “Jump and the net will appear.’’ While the statement appears to be loaded with risks and danger it is exactly what we require from leadership across the development and political sectors now.
Nothing will change if we are cautious and risk averse. It will only change if we are intentional and deliberate.