Monday, May 7, 2012

A @madayo Africa: Thoughts from #TEDTalentSearch

She was evident display of talent, if not the Scout Motto, Allzeit bereit - Always Prepared

Dayo Olopade's opening talk was a credit not only to her own principle and overall philosophy as a journalist and author, but to TED's insight and knack for spot-on pragmatism. She was, on stage, as she is in person, the very essence of  an idea worth spreading. 

Having met her at Baba Dogo last year - where we both volunteered during the Kuweni Serious 125/100 project - it seemed only fitting that her presentation on lighting the dark continent had the onus of opening the forum. She did not disappoint. 

Projected behind her was the picture of a row of children, bare-foot, in blazers and shorts. Their torsos appeared headless, the picture having been cropped to their shoulders; an illustration, Dayo commented, of the story the world seems to want to tell about Africa. It brought back a quick flash of the #SomeoneTellCNN debacle, where meanings and messages seem to deliberately get lost in translation.

Dayo's Twitter Profile:
Happy Belated Bday
Her presentation reminded me of a conversation I had recently at a Rotary meeting with a young medical doctor. She criticized my venture at the time, the initiative, saying that we can peddle hope and change as much as we want to, and go as far as offering free newspapers nationwide geared at educating the Kenyan electorate; but in so far as their own livelihoods do not dictate choice, and they have no food, no access to proper sanitation...then the result would be the same. Fruitlessness.

Shifting mindsets is the only way forward, not only away from the victim mentality, but also from the copycat ideology that innovation seems to take in Africa, where we focus less on our own problems, and more on innovative ideas from the West:

'The African focus should shift [from formal systems] to informal systems [such as] JuaKali...'
This is the story we should be telling. One of advancement for all, and positive ethnicity; of fair, smart politics, oxymoronic as that may sound.

 TED Fellow in the making, this Dayo...and that's only the beginning.

An array of Responses to Dayo's Talk

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are highly appreciated.