It is great to be black, it is awesome to be an African and splendid to be culturally inclined. The African ethics is embedded in the ideas and beliefs about what is right or wrong, what is a good or bad character; it is also embedded in the conceptions of satisfactory social relations and attitudes held by the members of the society; it is embedded, furthermore, in the forms or patterns of behavior that are considered by the members of the society to bring about social harmony and cooperative living, justice, and fairness.
African societies, as organized and functioning human communities, have undoubtedly evolved ethical systems, values, principles, rules and discipline intended to guide social and moral behavior. Such behaviors are strictly guided to be of immense benefit to the person and community. Good character is the essence of the African moral system as the justification for a character-based ethics is not far to seek. For, all that a society can do, regarding moral conduct, is to impart moral knowledge to its members, making them aware of the moral values and principles of that society.
In general, society satisfactorily fulfills this duty of imparting moral knowledge to its members through moral education of various forms. Having moral knowledge, being made aware of the moral principles and rules of the society is one thing; being able to lead a life consonant with the moral principles is quite another. An individual may know and may even accept a moral rule, but he may fail to apply this rule to a particular situation; he is, thus, not able to effect the transition from knowledge to action, to carry out the implications of his moral belief.
In the African moral systems such a moral failure would be put down to the lack of a good character. In other words, the ability to act in accord with the moral principles and rules of the society requires the possession of a good character. Thus, in the context of the activities of the moral life, in our decisions to obey moral rules, in the struggle to do the right thing and to avoid the wrong conduct, in one’s intention to carry out a moral duty, the quality of a person’s character is of ultimate consequence. It is from a person’s character that all his or her actions good or bad radiate: the performance of good or bad acts depends on the state of one’s character. Wrong-doing is put down to a person’s bad character. An individual’s failure to adhere to good moral values is different from the promotion of immoral values by any institution controlled by government or the private sector.
Segun Gbadegesin’s succinctly put it that in the beginning, we know of omoluabi as the paragon of excellence in character: omo ti olu iwa bi—a baby begotten by the Chief of iwa. Since iwa is character, the baby begotten by the chief of character must be a model of character, an exemplar of iwa. I want to suggest that we have over-extended the usage of this concept. Every baby is an omoluabi because olu iwa is the creator of every baby. However, while olu iwa may create an exemplar of character; there is no guarantee that her baby would remain an exemplar of character. After all, we also know that once the alagemo has begotten her baby, the responsibility to be a good dancer is the baby’s. Just as we acknowledge omoluabi , we also are aware of omokom (a worthless child).
Why do we have the phenomenon of omokomo? The answer is that Omoluabi is not guaranteed to stay as a model of character. For omoluabi to continue to excel in character, what has to be in place is education or training. Omokomo lacks education. He is an abiiko (born but not educated) or akoigba (one who refused to be educated). Education here is cultural training in character and culture. Therefore, if the birth of omoluabi is not followed with adequate cultural education, it is a short step to becoming omokomo.
We can understand briefly from the above that Africa has a moral culture of behaviors begotten from good character. The institutions available to guide and educate in instilling such discipline are the parents, wards or guardians, government and or systems of authority. This is relevant so as not to produce morally decayed citizens from the large youth population.
Africa today is recognized by the acronym of a poor continent. We’re still home to wars, ethnic segregation, coups, poverty, unemployment, insurgency, insecurity, dictatorships and brain drain. The basic bargain that is expected to make a continent great has eroded our terrain. Let us pay attention to the decadence in our moral values being promoted from the reality programme tagged the “Big Brother Africa Show”.
In the first instance, entertainment is good for the soul. It is something that holds the attention, interest, gives pleasure and delight to an audience. African has the history of Storytelling, music, drama and dance, which has developed into sophisticated forms in modern times. We celebrate so many musicians and actors and actresses today.
The entertainment industry which records and sells entertainment product evolves and can be adapted to suit any scale, in doing so however, proper attention must be given to the need for education. The audience must be able to intellectually gain from what they are made to watch or listen to such that would help shape lives positively.
The level of immorality being celebrated by the Big Brother Africa reality show fall short of a programme intended for education. Unfortunately, most African audience especially the youth have taken solace in the damaging style of the programme and the actors have turned to celebrities.
Africa needs to wake up if it needs to grow at all. We are in the age where developed countries are investing in scientific research and investing heavily in their young population. The world is shifting to an innovation economy by equipping their educational systems and encouraging intellectual developments. We suffer brain drain in Africa because the institutions in the developed countries have good systems that encourage research and award success. Their system embraces entrepreneurs and provides jobs. This is where their strength of growth lies.
Africa must grow to meet the moment. We must accept that the government cannot do all, therefore, our private organizations like the sponsors of the show must remember that we can only grow by investing in programmes that will develop our economy and not what will kill it.
We can’t continue to invest in events that will kill the vision of the youth we are expected to educate. Government and businesses must understand that sponsoring people for a higher education and research for innovations in various industries is the best route to a developed Africa.
The pitiable state of Africa is worrisome and the solution is not the encouragement of programmes that would contribute to social vices. The sponsors of the programme can invest in a commitment to science and research for the next generation. Our youth shouldn’t be idle with watching display of sexual attractions, nakedness, romantic and seductive displays. That would not grow Africa, it will kill Africa. Our government and regulating agencies have a duty to ensure that giving people the chance to get new skills for development is the best way to build a bright economy. Opportunities should be given to gravitate towards careers in banking and finance, agriculture, manufacturing, sports etc.
If we want an economy that’s built to last, we need more of those young or old people parading themselves as celebrities in the Big Brother Africa show in science and engineering. Africa should be known for creating and selling products all around the world and not to be a burden to countries that have sacrificed productive investments in her people.
We shouldn’t be weakening our future. We should be strengthening our future to meet the demands of global competition. Whilst we may choose the lane of moral decadence all in the name of entertainment, Africa must realize that the world is faster and the playing field is larger and the challenges are more complex. We need to wake up and be part of innovating economy through our private and public sectors.
Sponsors of the Big Brother Africa show must understand that Africans can’t develop by promoting what is of no benefits to its growth.
I am @Actionkay on twitter
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