All tagged Creating awareness

DISPELLING IGNORANCE- THE PERCEPTION OF AFRICA THROUGH WESTERN EYES.

“You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you. But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew” lyrics from the song colours of the wind by Vanessa Williams.

Colours of the wind is a timeless song that highlights among other things, the importance of not passing judgment from the periphery out of sheer ignorance. Instead, the song advocates that in order to understand a person, take an interest in what they do and try to understand why.  You might end up learning a thing or two! With this in mind, allow me to discuss an issue that has been on my mind for a quite a while.

A few days ago, I happened to have received an ignorant tweet from a random guy on twitter. It happened as we were deliberating about American politics specifically about the Trump administration. I guess he was offended after I mentioned that President Trump’s new tariff towards Mexico was undermining the USMCA (United States- Mexico- Canada Agreement). He stated that I go back and deal with ‘african problems’ and stop meddling with issues concerning the developed world since they were beyond me. The tone of that statement was off, and I felt belittled due to the mere fact that I come from a certain part of the world. The aim was obviously to put me down and ‘put me in my place’. However, what saddened me was the fact that this individual was an afrodescendant, so I expected him to have a bit of respect for the motherland (Africa). Our conversation disintegrated after this, as I felt no need to keep it going.

What comes to your mind when you think of Africa?

Let me guess

•Poverty

•Diseases

•Illiteracy

•Famine

•Ethnic wars

•Tribalism

•Corruption

•Cannibalism

•Wildlife

The list is endless, but the things mentioned above are some of the notions held in the minds of people in the western world. However, Africa is beyond this idiotic portrayal perpetuated specifically by the Western media.

Africa is a beautiful continent with vast amount of resources, however, I cannot ignore its bad share of leaders over the years. Bad governance and poor leadership isn’t an African problem, both vices are widespread across the globe. There is no reason to undermine a person from certain part of the world as a result of where they come from. Many people do not realise that there are  so many Africans who come from affluent backgrounds that are even better than those found in the Western world.

It does sadden me that the world prefers to see this hunger-stricken and impoverished continent whereas disregarding progress Africa has made. Things are changing here, many people have access to education and turn their life around. People now have access to good healthcare, and  go on vacation from time to time. Top range vehicles, high-end shopping malls, and posh estates are sprouting rapidly throughout the cities.

This is not the Africa you know of. Dictatorships are now falling, and the whole concept of democracy is being embraced. Human rights groups are comfortably finding their place in the continent without intimidation by governments. Women’s rights as well as representation are championed by a vast majority.

What can be done to dispel this ignorance?

•A quick internet search will help you dispel weird notions about Africa. There are great articles, forums or even YouTube channels that disseminate useful information about the continent.

•Branch out and seek some African friends. It may seem like a longshot but try seeking African themed events in your locality. Network in such places. See life in a different perspective.

•Visit Africa. This is arguably the best way to dispel ignorance because you will experience everything first hand.

As I conclude, being African is not something to be ashamed of, but it is something that should be embraced.

REDEFINING THE ESSENCE OF MUSIC

Music is food for the soul. It has such intense power that brings together people of various races and creed. Music has brought about revolutions, as well as unity in many parts of the world. On the downside it has also caused destruction as a result of people using the platform to perpetrate hatred by using vile lyrics.  

I write this article with a kind of bitterness which stems from the fact that music in this day and age has lost its footing. It is no longer palatable. Vile lyrics and distasteful music videos have dominated the airwaves. Music nowadays seems to serve the purpose of degrading, insulting, spreading hatred as well as glorifying activities such as gang violence. However,I am seeking to redefine the essence of music back to its glory days .I take this opportunity to remind people what the  purpose of music in the world is:

•To heal- Music is a platform that can be used to bring a sense of healing after a tough break up, or even the death of a loved one. It should be a place to give you hope, consolation as well as raise your spirits.

•To educate- I miss music in its glory days when it was used as a platform to educate people on various life issues. For instance, how to get over a difficult situation, how to handle loss of a loved one, how to appreciate the culture and tradition of various people across the world

•To rebuke- Music can also serve the purpose of rebuking social evils like rape, taking drugs. Sadly, nowadays, it seems that all mainstream music does is to glorify people who partake in the social evils I have mentioned earlier through vile lyrics and music videos.

•To entertain- It is not a secret that one of the purposes of releasing a record is for people to enjoy. It is meant to give people a good time, whereby they can temporarily forget about their troubles.

•To vent- Through song, one can easily vent and in so doing it can act as a form of therapy. Contemporary artists who use this method include Adele and Eminem.

•To seek forgiveness- The power of song cannot be underestimated when it comes to the purpose of asking for forgiveness. Songs can be used to admit guilt, and in so doing provide an avenue in which you can better yourself. Very few artists of our generation have mastered this craft for example the rock band Daughtry in their song 'Its not over'.

I do not intend to degrade any individual by passing judgement on their choice, and style of music. What I seek is to educate people on how to improve the quality of music they make or listen to.

Give me your thoughts my dear readers by leaving a comment below.

MENTAL HEALTH, AND THE STIGMA SURROUNDING IT.

It is very unfortunate that in this day and age, there is stigma surrounding mental health issues. Very many people would prefer to suffer in silence than seek help. It is very sad though. Today, I have taken this platform to speak on this matter, specifically addressing the mental health condition, Bipolar. Bipolar is a manic-depressive condition that causes mood fluctuations that can last for several weeks at a time. Individuals suffering from such conditions may end up committing suicide If they are left untreated.

Sadly here in Africa, It is not a well known condition. Many people refer to it as "seasonal madness". Very many individuals suffering from this condition end up being locked up in their houses. They suffer more because they poorly fed, and live in unsanitary condition where they are prone to contacting diseases.Society isolates them because it is said that they have been bewitched. Furthermore, few people would want to be associated with afflicted individuals because they are worried about how others would perceive them. This inhumane treatment stems out of ignorance.

I know of a close friend of mine suffering from this condition. At first nobody knew what he was suffering from, his parents thought he was just acting out- the typical teenage attention-seeking antics. So he was taken to local church for counseling as well as prayer to "cast out his demons". However, nothing worked. His parents decided to take him to hospital when one day, he almost committed suicide after taking a bunch of pills. His folks thought he was depressed, but the doctor informed them that their child might have been bipolar based on what they narrated to him. A series of physical, lab, and psychiatric tests confirmed his diagnosis.

It is now ten years down the line, my friend is okay. He takes his medication religiously. His manic episodes are now a thing of the past. As a matter of fact, he has taken an initiative to educate the community of this little known mental condition. In my own small way, let me educate you readers on how to recognize bipolar disorder, and how to go about it. The signs may include the following:

· Euphoria- intense feeling of well-being or happiness

· Depression

· Restlessness or feeling agitated

· Anger, Aggression

· Insomnia

How to go about this condition, is by taking the affected person to hospital. Treatment is mainly through therapy as well as taking medication. Medication for bipolar is taken throughout an individual's life since there is no known exact cure. Medication is necessary to stabilize moods and control manic episodes.

I always believe in disseminating useful information to create awareness, as well as help even if it is just that one person who may gain access to my blog. Mental illness is not a curse, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Speak up, let people listen. You never know the impact you could be having on a person suffering from a similar condition.

Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.