After having been stunned by untold evils making the order of each day in Africa, and particularly in his country, Alfani was compelled to address this in the form of a book. The ideas he suggests to alleviate the situation is what he regards as alternative strategies to develop a crumbling continent. Alfani believes that development should be given priority. He laments that most of the continent’s resources are misused by a handful of citizens and dumped in the most worthless personal luxuries and expenditures such as civil and religious wars. About HIV/AIDS in Africa, he simply but firmly says that no matter how complicated the disease can be, the chance is that it can be reversed if there’ll be a systematic paradigm shift in people’s minds. From the experience of land reform in Zimbabwe as well as severe hunger caused by extremely low rate of food production in many African states, he scoffs the continent’s inability to invest in the land. He also blames contemporary African leaders for their reluctance to embrace the breeze of development, and accuses politicians of treating ordinary citizens cheaply. In this book, he offers a simple definition of the word "development" when he equates it to a walk from where people have been getting delayed to where they would like to be. For Africa, this means joining other continents or even taking an extra mile. On the other hand, he warns his readers not to take his book as a compilation of some absolute “do's” but to consider it as a guide or help. The implementation of his suggestions is absolutely a personal issue. Alfani’s book is not only engaging but also informative.
This is a book written to people in transit, those taking a walk from a certain point of departure to a known yet unreachable destination. It’s destined for an audience that understands it shouldn’t remain motionless. It’s all about development. Development, according to this version, is a walk from Here (where people are today) to There (where they long to be tomorrow). The word "unreachable" here sounds quite misleading, for it tends to mean that development cannot be achieved; it implies that all the nations we have dubbed “developed” should not be called so. Those nations should be referred thusly. In my context, "unreachable" means that development is not something for which you can pat yourself on the back or exchange high-fives in a celebratory mood—as if to mean, “Yes, we have made it and now we shouldn’t bother about anything else, so let’s sit and enjoy.” Rather, it's something that one pursues endlessly. It resembles some computer games in which a hundred points is the highest score but to which one qualifies from fifty points. Maybe all those developed countries today have already reached fifty or sixty but are still playing to get the highest score they can. Africa is too stagnant, perhaps below ten; it still has a lot to do to reach even fifty. In such a game, one hundred would be a kind of drive for the player to aim higher—to strive for the best. So, development is well known to all but too demanding. However, that is exactly the risk Africa should take. Perhaps the African Union motto should be: “The Quest for an Impossible Mission.” This would be a powerful reminder. I love Africa—not because I was born in one of its corners and therefore I’m compelled to love it after all—but because I believe so much in the continent’s potential and capability. Africa should be the most blessed continent to attract the entire world this much. All other people’s eyes are focused on Africa, especially those who are aware of what its land holds. Being a pan-Africanist (in some broad sense of the word), I always thought that the best and perhaps the only service I could render to my fellow Africans is to address some issues that I believe have halted the continent’s progress and, to some extent, suggest how they could be remedied. I’ve chosen to embark on this particular field knowing that these issues are not being addressed accordingly. Many books written around this topic so far have dealt with them superficially. There seems to be a terrible fear among members of our communities vis-à-vis our leaders. And this is because of the intimidating “One-master-has-the-right-to-decide-for-all” attitude most African leaders have adopted. Silence, therefore, seems to be the best option for most of the population, especially those at the grassroots level. Unfortunately, silence will not get us any further. Looking at our present state, it is more risky to keep quiet than to stand and speak out. The need for Africa to move from stagnancy is urgent, and so is the need to remove all the stumbling blocks. As I’m not in the position to offer a detailed account of everything, I would like to warn my readers in advance that my silence on some other issues that might be pertinent, vital, and crucial should not be mistaken for fear. Certainly, the omission of such issues has more to do with the mastery of the topic at hand. I believe honesty is, or should be, the wisdom of a writer. Every writer should concede his limitations on certain topics. And as mentioned somewhere else in this introduction, one must learn his swimming skills in shallow waters—instead of deep waters—where he can easily manage to come out before he drowns. I’m simply writing this book as an amateur, not as an old hand, when tackling all the issues I’ve covered. The book you’re holding is directly addressed to young people, for they stand a one hundred percent chance to rule our countries in the near future. In it they’ll be able to catch some hints on those hindrances and barriers to our continent’s development. In some chapters I’m speaking with such a realistic tone that would make some of you think I’m being uncharitable to our present leaders. However, I believe exposing the wrongs of African leaders does not mean loving them less—it is, in fact, a sign and an affirmation of loving Africa more.
Alfani Sumaili Yoyo is a Democratic Republic of Congo's national living in Johannesburg since 2008. He was born in the eastern part of his country where he grew up, attended both his primary and secondary school. Prevailing social and political fall-out in his country, especially in his home province, has since set Alfani on the move and turned him into an analyst and a forecaster of plights and challenges that surround the African man. Alfani has an ample background in communications from the University of Namibia; and his logical understanding of the worldview greatly shape his proficiency to craft his writings in an engaging and informative manner. He also has an extensive knowledge in practical theology from the Christian Leadership School of Okahandja/Namibia. He is currently serving as an Advocacy Officer and Policy Analyst at the Refugee Children's Project head office in Johannesburg.