April 2015, will go down, without a shadow of doubt as a defining month of this calendar year, as once again, the continent was able to portray to the world everything negative it has to offer. April 2nd saw the senseless killing of 147 people, mostly students, at Garissa University College in Northeastern Kenya. The attack was perpetrated by militants of the Somali-based terror group Al-Shabbab. April 14th marked the one year anniversary of the kidnapping and disappearance of 219 Nigerian schoolgirls from the locality of Chibok, by another terrorist group, Boko Haram, whose activities of carnage have recently spread from Northeast Nigeria to neighbouring countries; Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Three longstanding African leaders asserted their grip on power, with Sudan’s Omar El-Bachir (Head of State since 1989) securing another 5 years as president, with a comfortable 94.5% electoral victory. Togo’s Faure Gnassnigbe, ensured his families rule over the country since 1967 with a smooth election victory, which was marked by irregularities and many protests against his stay in power. While in Burundi, Pierre Nkurunzinza has decided to pursue a 3rd presidential term although the constitution does not permit and citizens as well as the international community are strongly opposed to this move
Closer to home though, the sad seeds of hatred and violence were sown and sprouted to life, as parts of Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng Province were engulfed by xenophobic inspired attacks against foreign nationals, exclusively from other parts of Africa and parts of South Asia. The violence was allegedly sparked by comments from Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini that, “foreigners must pack up and leave”, an assertion which was endorsed notably by Edward Zuma, the son of you know who…The result of the violence was 7 dead (including 3 South Africans), the displacement thousands of people and loss of property. The government has been criticized for its’ slow response to the issue, while many have been vocal and campaigning against the senseless nature of the attacks. The total fallout from this occurrence will only be known as time evolves.
What all these stories have in common is that, these acts of violence, breach of confidence, as well as manifested steps towards impeding the progress and development of the continent…were all committed by Africans, against Africans. This is important because in many instances, slavery, colonialism, apartheid and other global influences have been cited as the main reasons behind Africa’s troubles, and in many instances this is true. However, in relation to the aforementioned instances, self-reflection and the acceptance of self-responsibility on behalf of African leaders, communities, and individuals must be taken, as we have failed collectively failed society, and I hope from the bottom of my heart, that May, which is billed Africa Month, will be a time when we as a continent can do more to create and assert widespread positivity.