Book Review: Imagine Africa by Lazarus Takawira

imagine africa

Imagine Africa, an ode to Africa, its past and future is an interesting outlook on various continental issues affecting Africans here and in the diaspora. The tone and stylistic manner in which the book has been written makes for an interesting read that is both personal and intriguing in many ways.

The book, offers various insights, ideologies and opinions on topics such as history through chapters like Yesteryear, women leadership and role in the continent in ‘She is a Jewel’ and the African Diaspora. These offer uplifting themes that are empowering and restore pan Africanism and hope for what the continent should be moving towards. There are clear instances where the book offers enriching stories that could help re-shape the narrative of the African story in a positive light.

Themes related to the plight of Africans under chapters like Leaders and ‘leaders’, Poor millionaires and Frenemies show the rather darker side to the African continent. With highlights of the different countries’ struggles, both past and present, with various examples that were familiar and resonated even when you might not be from the same country, were sobering. A reminder of the struggles and hurdles that as leadership our continent would need to overcome and we do have a long way to go and showed clearly how they affect us all.

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With these thoughts, it was also difficult to move past these chapters without a sense of, what then can we do? As an average African with no real influence over policy and development, how then can we turn the Imaginings of Africa into a reality. There was opportunity in the book to relate the crises faced by Africans in various contexts, and their responsibility in changing the storyline we currently find ourselves in. There were instances where I was left feeling a bit powerless at what I could possibly do in the weight of the trials we are in. As a reader, you will be left better informed about the continent’s state of affairs, and the book does very well to move across various situations in the region, however it was important to also point out our individual roles in forming and breaking down the stereotypes and negativity about the continent.

With that being said, the writer does make it clear that this might not necessarily solve all the world’s problems, however it is a conversation starter. It offers this through thought provoking ideas of how we could be looking at ourselves differently, our identity – who we are as countries and a region.

As an average African with no real influence over policy and development, how then can we turn the Imaginings of Africa into a reality. There was opportunity in the book to relate the crises faced by Africans in various contexts

There are intentional exertions of restoring faith in various fields that affect us and change perspectives on how we could be tackling them. In conclusion the author does qualify this in his ‘Hammers and nails’ chapter. He does show that the aim is to engage your thoughts and the possibilities that could be which we do not do so often especially when we think of Africa. However, the journey to change does begin with thoughts, Romans 12:2 does challenge us to do the same in renewing our minds.

Imagine Africa is a journey, if you wish to change your ideas and learn more about Africa. It offers multi layered notions on the African and their country and could offer greater insight and conversation to anyone who allows it to be that. It challenges the reader to examine and engage the ills of the continent but still with as much pride and love for it in the same vein. It truly was a moment to ‘Imagine Africa’.

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