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Africa 2009: Africa’s 5,000 legends, icons & superstars – The Man called “KK”

Posted on May 18th 2009

Kenneth KaundaThe club of 5,000 remarkable African legends, icons and superstars represents the best Africa has to offer. Each individual selected has a story to tell. Such a story is told by deeds and not just words. Africa's civilization as its future is contested.

Whose values and faces should the African story represent? Should it be black or white? Which leads us to ask a legitimate question of who is an African? We are all God's creation and yet some would wish the similarities to end there.

On 18th July, 2009, former President Kenneth Kaunda will receive a "Banking on Africa's Future (BOAF) - 5,000 Points of Light (POL)" or BOAF-5,000POL Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to humanity and advancing the African cause.

The man popularly known as "KK" was born in Zambia and his parents were foreign-born. Without the influence of Christianity in Africa, his destiny would definitely have been different. There was nothing in his upbringing that prepared him to be a founding father of post-colonial Zambia for the job that he was to assume.

Although his parents were Malawian born, he never saw himself as less Zambian than his fellow citizens whose parents were Zambian born. In celebrating the life of this remarkable African, we have to pause to think and attempt to place ourselves in his shoes.

There are many of us who believe that citizenship is a birthright and our minds have been shaped to believe that a person likeCitizenship KK could never be an authentic Zambian citizen. Some would go further to hold the view that KK should not have been the first Prime Minister and President of independent Zambia because of his Malawian heritage.

Xenophobia poses a big challenge in Africa. South Africa, the largest African economy, has attracted many foreign-born black African citizens like KK's parents and yet there are many who believe that South Africa should belong only to black people who were born in it and whose names are South African sounding.

KK did not change his surname to fit in but rather he chose to be the change that he wanted to see. He did not surrender or retreat into a state of mind that would have placed him as a second class in his parents' adopted home.

No one can doubt KK's contribution to the making of a new Zambia founded on different values and principles. He like Mahatma Gandhi did not have to think twice to confront injustice and oppression.

Africa is and has often been described as a dark continent with the only source of light coming from Europeans yet Africa has produced its own remarkable points of light that remain unconnected. The dots that have no connecting points collectively represent Africa's promise.

Each point of light has its own significance to the African story. KK's life is intricately linked to the story of Zambia. KK was a dreamer like most of us but his calling was different. Some of us in business, talk of sales revenue and profits, as a measure of our worth and contribution.

KK was a different man. He had to respond to the challenges of the time. Although black Zambians were human beings like their white oppressors, they were treated as second-class citizens.

ColonialismThe framers of the colonial state convinced themselves that black Africans had no interest in a nation state founded on a social contract of citizen obligation to the state through taxes levied. The state's obligation was restricted only to those for whom the state had a meaning. Using this logic, the state had no obligation to people who were not connected to it through direct or indirect contribution and this meant that blacks could not conceivably be considered as injured parties if their way of life had no connection with the colonial project. Only blacks with property or education could, therefore, be assimilated into the colonial project.

KK argued that Zambia belonged to all people who believed in it. On 24 October 1964, KK became the first President of Zambia and remained in that position until 1991. The courage and faith of KK and his colleagues in their pursuit of liberty produced the outcome that inspired many other Africans to scale the heights of oppression with determination and hope.

Kaunda's upbringing was ordinary and yet working together with other colleagues they managed to overcome the seemingly indomitable challenges.

The founding fathers of Africa were men of courage and selfishness. They made sacrifices at great personal risk and struggled to unite the country to believe in the justice of the cause and to believe that victory was certain.

KK understood that although men are created equal and endowed by the creator with unalienable rights like life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, in human civilization it is the silence of the majority that opens a window for the minority to reinterpret God's promise to mankind.

In celebrating KK's role in bringing about change in Zambia, we are also celebrating the domino effect of such change. When Zambian FlagZambians raised the flag of independence and put in place a new constitution, many more Africans were inspired to believe that nothing was inevitable.

When KK became President of Zambia, it is difficult to imagine what was his state of mind but there is no doubt that many Africans who had not seen the Promised Land could see it through his own eyes. Indeed, the mountaintop became another destination for all Zambians.

No one can challenge the fact that KK was the first President of Zambia. There may be no consensus on whether he was a good President but what we know is that his place in Zambia and, indeed, African history is secure.

It is easy for our generation to regard our history and struggles as irrelevant. However, the kind of choices that we are now privileged to make, and take for granted, could not be possible were it not for the sacrifices and choices of people like KK.

If KK was selfish like many of us, he could easily have cut a deal for himself with the colonial regime. However, he was a man who was motivated less by his own personal and family interests but by a national cause.

During his reign, he practiced what he preached and saw himself as an African first and a Zambian second.

Why should we celebrate KK's life? Many of us see ourselves in KK's life. He understood that his cause was greater than personal life and was prepared to pay the ultimate price.

On the 18th of July, the world will celebrate former President Mandela's birthday and yet many will not find a connection between Mandela and KK.

Nelson MandelaIf KK had made a choice to pursue a business career or another career in the pursuit of personal happiness, would Mandela have been the icon that he has become? Can we see the iconic status of Mandela as derivative of the choices made by people like KK?

In celebrating Mandela's remarkable life, we have no choice but to pause to reflect on the lives of critical people without whose sacrifice, wisdom, and determination, Mandela would have just been another footnote of history.

Many died for the cause and yet people like KK were not deterred. Even after leaving office, KK remains a man committed to the cause, a rare feat in Africa.

By celebrating our own first achievers like KK, we are reminding ourselves of the journey yet to be travelled. The journey is often lonely.

We do hope that we can use the 18th of July to celebrate not just Mandela's birthday but also the contribution of people like KK to make Africa the kind of continent we see today.

If Africa could produce KK in politics, the real challenge is to produce more KKs not just in politics but other areas of human endeavor. When he sought to change Zambia, he was not doing it for himself but saw himself as a servant of a people that was politically and economically subjugated.

Africa has now overcome the race-based political challenges; the remaining challenge is to deliver on the economSamora Machelic promise. How relevant is KK's life to the contemporary challenges that we face as Africans with so few visible and celebrated role models? He is very relevant. He is not alone and we need to create our own bank of knowledge about the continent's founding fathers.

The struggle for democracy united Africa. KK's life has demonstrated that there is more that unites us than divide us. We do hope that you will join us for this special celebration of a remarkable African.

KK like Mujoma, Machel, Neto, Banda, Mandela, Nyerere and others belong to a special class of Africans that we call: "Liberators" because they made choices that have made many of us relevant in a continent we call our own but whose past was informed by exclusionary policies.


Comments by The sage: Morpheus (2009-05-18 06:13:50) from UK

The initiative you have started MM is worthwhile, but the character you have conferred the inaugural honour is at best dubious. His fight for total independence of Zambia is without fault, but the simple replacement of one destructive system with another is hardly the premise on which we should honour our heroes. In saying this i am cognisant that every human being has a fault/s and we should truly judge someone's achievements on balance. But by honouring KK, it sets a precedence that in one's lifetime what is needed is simply to do one right thing regardless of the other glaring destructive tendencies. And So how do we judge the balance?

The problem we easily encounter is how do deal with such characters as Ian Smith whose only crime was being racist and waging a war based on this supremist view. Can he also be honoured for building a truly sanction busting economy and the most diversified economy in Africa ( SA’s manufacturing base lagged behind Zim’s, refer to 1964 SA’s protectionist measures against Rhodesia).

I guess the point I am trying to make is that by honouring our hero’s we inherently instil our own personal morality and prejudice. Is there a way of truly claiming our heroes purely based on a rational manner and dependent on progress of a society?? I doubt this will ever be achievable, as the saying goes- history is written by the victors.

Comments by Mck (2009-05-18 09:00:46) from South Africa

BOAF is such a creative initiative, but it has to be buttressed by an objective evaluation criteria. There must be a value system to be justly applied so that the individuals accorded the accolade pass through a rigorous assessment based on factual feedback. Any remote control approach to identifying deserving candidates will render futile the whole objective. We should have enduring critical success factors making the cardinal points of the assessment, which factors must be relevant to the nature of the individual\'s works. More importantly, BOAF should not remain a retrospective exercise by honouring what was; it should set a code of expectations upon which aspiring icons can reflect. Therefore, we must be wary of the people who are accorded the recognition so as to set the right precedence.

On what basis was KK selected? Did the people of Zambia made any contributions as they had direct contact with the former leader? Because we can make BOAF a club appointment and lose an international appeal or we can give it a continental acclaim by allowing citizens to play a role in the award.

Surely the background is being laid down and the expectations should be guarded, but how did KK fair on the political issues affecting Africa today? For example, what was his score on the following points:

Human Rights
Economic Development
Cultural Integration
Promotion of a plural political environment

The Sage\'s example of Ian Smith is a relevant one, for his efforts are the last we know of worthwhile presidential material in Zimbabwe. One can even argue that Ian Smith knew that Black Zimbabweans could not manage a national economy, so he had to take charge. Can they?

Comments by The Oracle (2009-05-18 10:10:04) from Utopia

If one works to transfer power from one minority (e.g. colonialists) to another minority (e.g. the top 5% in a ruling party) under the guise of engendering democracy (which he subsequently disregards in manipulating the electoral process) and for obvious personal material gain, subsequently oppressing the so called "people" he has "freed", on what grounds do we attach the epithet "liberator" to him? If one deposes a “subjugator” so that he can become the “subjugator” himself, has anyone been “emancipated”?

Comments by Mck (2009-05-19 02:02:39) from South Africa

...then there is another perspective to the whole process of recognition. We should not allow our minds to be clouded by these unforgiving thoughts. We can chose to relive the great deeds of our icons and role models by simply looking at what they did when the situation required someone to stand up to achieve something bigger than themselves. Maybe we should not be looking at super humans, but people who achieved something that pervaded and impacted people in some constructive way. Perhaps that is the choice that we have as a generation: We can celebrate the positive contributions of the prominent people in our lives or we can chose to see how far they went in doing wrong.

Political contributors are sticky icons as they cause us to question their value orientation and morals. The tendency must be towards empowering people rather than holding people at ransom. Any leader who fails to respect the dignity of a people violates the core of humanity around which all else should revolve. BOAF should not be misconstrued as rewarding such politicians who drifted so far to disrespect the people they purportedly liberated. BOAF should not be seen to be preferring black oppression to white oppression.

Maybe let's start with other contributors who impacted on people's lives. I don't know much about Dambudzo Marechera, but I hear they used to say he was loud and insane. But he challenged the situation he was in and stood up for something he believed in. If there is anyone with his brief, let's share the information.

Comments by Mutummwa Mawere (2009-05-19 02:32:35) from South Africa

Thanks Morpheus for the encouraging words on the initiative. As you rightly point out, the initiative is worthwhile. However, it is not my initiative but a collective one that is informed by our own inability to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the meaning of life. Each of us is endowned with unalienable rights and we do make a difference to each other. Sometimes it is difficult to identify the point in anyone\'s life but what is significant is that each person is a point of light. The initiative to identify 5,000 POL should be seen in its proper context. It is not an attempt to whitewash someone\'s story. However, in every individual we can identify some positive aspect in their lives.

You make the point that KK is a dubious character. Yes, you may be right. He is not an inaugural receipient rather he has accepted to receive the award on 18 July 2009. I concur with your view that his place as a founding father of Zambia is not in dispute. Rather, you raise the issue of his reign and make the point that any assessment of the man\'s contribution has to factor the entirely of his life so far than just focus on one aspect of it.

I fully share your sentiments on the challenges of judging people especially taking into account the fact that human beings are not saints. They do make mistakes and should be accountable.

KK served his term and what is remarkable is the discovery that he was not a corrupt leader. He remains seized with the problems of mankind and in a world that is cynical about African politicians, we can say that KK\'s problems are to be located in the failure of citizens to take ownership of their destinies.

KK delivered independence (political), however, economic independence can only be delivered if we work together as Zambians did to deliver political independence.

Did KK\'s life make a difference to Zambia, Africa and the world? The answer is YES. Without KK, the history of Zambia, Africa and the world would definitely be different.

I do believe that we should focus on the positive aspects of one\'s life to get the point that we want to project. You can pick on KK\'s life and you will find lessons that can guide our current and future generations in making choices about what kind of change we want to see.

Even Ian Smith need not be excluded in the search of the points of light. Any point of light is beneficial in our collective endeavor.

Human beings are inherently irrational and are at best guided by interests. Your choice of a hero need not be the same as mine but what we can agree on is that there is a need for us to honor and celebrate our own people. We are all connected.

Comments by The Oracle (2009-05-19 04:58:08) from Utopia

If the object is to recognize African Heroes based on tangible and documented achievement, I would personally struggle to think of anyone more deserving of the honor than Hannibal Barca, leader of Carthage. However, the grumblings that such a choice will inevitably raise highlight a key shortcoming of the venture; how do you prevent it from devolving into a popularity contest based on ethnicity instead of performance? The ballot box is unfortunately the last place one should look for objectivity.

Comments by Mutumwa Mawere (2009-05-19 05:14:56) from South Africa

Comments by the Oracle are noted. The object is to engage in a conversation that will bridge the knowledge gaps that exist and are acknowledged about the people whose lives have helped illuminate the African cause. There is no obligation that we must think alike. We may never agree on who should or should not be included. However, it is important that we begin the conversation.

If you think Hannibal deserves a recognition and has a point that we need to pause and think about as we negotiate the future of Africa, you should provide us with your own recommendation on why the person is worthy of recognition.

Please never worry about the grumplings because they are inevitable in any African conversation. Many have accepted to focus on grumplings rather than looking forward informed by the positive contributions of those who lived it before us.

In order to prevent the initiative from degenerating, we need to allow for diverse views about our choices and defend the choices that we make. The real challenge in Africa does not come from the voices of those who choose to do something but from inaction and silence of the majority.

Please be rest assured that any positive input you put will be matched by more than one negative energy but this should never deter you to do what is right.

What is right is that we are all a product of the actions of others and the dots can and should be connected by our own actions.

Comments by Mck (2009-05-19 06:34:32) from South Africa

We are defined by the actions we take in our existence and it\'s not easy to look past others\' shortcomings, especially if they misused entrusted power and do not seem faintly apologetic for their misdeeds. Most political players are like that and it\'s hard to glorify their wrongs with accolades of recognition.

But this is a position we seek to transcend, a victim mentality. We should stretch and embrace the positive energy that inspired the good actions in the people we are identifying as idols, actions for a cause where they sought to benefit all around them.

What should inspire the principles of BOAF is the admittance that people are inherently well-meaning and seek to do good. We will begin to let go of our agony and disappointments the moment we embrace the good actions of those who towered above us to cause a new meaning to life within their society. They are not the only wrong ones amongst us.

Ultimately, we must assume joint responsibility for the memories we wish to cherish. Here is one from me:

Leonard Karikoga Zhakata, a musician from Zimbabwe is credited with the adage \"Small House\", an expression which he attributed to a side affair by a married man. The expression has become so popular and pervasive and has been conventional in almost every walk of life. There was a TV series that was named after the expression and its theme was to expose the dangers of illicit relationships. Through song, the singer was able to impact society by creating a language that is helping in the fight against AIDS. This is a Point of Light and there is nothing to stop \"Small House\" from getting an international use.

Comments by The sage: Morpheus (2009-05-19 06:55:30) from UK

MM the question still remains, how we make the initiative objective and rational and not a popularity contest. Before we even list names can we define what a hero is, in the special context in which we want to celebrate and learn from. In Oracle and Mck comments there is an inherent worry that Political heroes will take precedence over all other aspects such as the arts, military prowess. Our time should be spent better ensuring our measuring instrument is the best instrument to use- using a barometer to measure the weather only results in overdressing in summer. An example in my view, originality of idea/purpose and application/endeavour that advances a society should be one way of measuring the purveyor’s of light:
You make the astonishing claim to fame for KK that he was not corrupt or corruptible. I hope you see the danger here, that doing nothing extra-ordinary as keeping your hands to your pocket (which any citizen should do anyway) becomes a measure of success.?
KK’s most valid contribution to mankind and the human race in Africa was the emancipation of his people in terms of political freedom and further helping the political cause of Southern Africa. We cannot underestimate that his tragedy/short-coming was taking on a role he was not properly equipped for, and leading a country to economic ruin. The only way we can measure if indeed KK is worthy of our respect is if we define the parameters of success.

The same goes for future heros. How do they measure against the parameters we have set?

Comments by Mutumwa Mawere (2009-05-19 08:59:47) from South Africa

Comment by The Sage:

We can try to make the initiative objective and rational but we have to accept that human beings can be subjective and often irrational. It is, however, important for us to attempt to develop some commonly agreed yardstick that we can use for the initiative. The intention is not to make political players dominant but one has to accept the role of liberation struggles in restoring rights to the majority of Africans.

The comment on corruption was intended to highlight the point that not all African politicians are corrupt. Yes, we may disagree on the effectiveness or otherwise of KK as a leader during the post-colonial era but it is important that we recognise that there is a point that we can draw lessons from his life.

The list that we come up can never be exhaustive and it would be naive to expect that we can ever get any consensus on who should be in or out of the list. What is important is that we start to engage each other on these important questions.

KK may not be a hero to many but to other he is certainly one.

You will agree that consensus is rarely an easy thing to achieve but what is important is that we begin to think about the kind of africa we want to see using those who walked the path before us and better appreciating that without them we may not be where we are today.

The knowledge, capital and execution gaps that exist and confront us are important to bridge and this conversation is useful to the extent that we can broaden and deepen our understanding of each other. KK is not the only person but he cannot be ignored in any African conversation.

We cannot change the past but we can learn from it. KK is only human and has 24 hours in a day and it is important that we appreciate what any man/women can do. The rest comes from collective action and we should ask not what KK did not do but what we failed to do to give meaning to what he has devoted his life to.

More often than not we expect other people to do what we are not willing to do. Leadership in Africa can be lonely and many of the people who assume leadership positions end up with no compass on what to do while citizens who should be the custodians of change often become spectators of the very change that they should be active participants of.

We can devote endless time and discourse on measurement issues forgeting to apply our minds to filling the bank of hope. We need names and justification why such names should be in the Bank. We seem to agree that KK's life has value and has a point that we need to expose and in so doing inspire other people to serve rather than expect something to happen on its own.

Comments by Mck (2009-05-19 09:35:56) from South Africa

We are establishing a foundation and we will not be hit by the objective at the same time. Those with questions and doubts must continue to raise their concerns for it\'s healthy to be questioning. We are coming out of a culture of being lied to and being taken for granted, and people generally are unyielding. It\'s human to fend off continuous attack.

But as we warm up to the reality on the ground we are suddenly confronted with a fragmented past and a disjointed present. If we could string together the positive contributions of our people, we can begin to cherish a different prospect for a future we can hope for. By bringing those selfless acts to the fore, we begin to ignite a spark that will evoke the good intentions of our people.

I have embraced the idea, despite all the issues that I may have with KK on account of his (mis)conduct. Because BOAF is a good initiative seeking to entrench the good in people.

MM and The Sage explored the possibility of creating a measurement, which I may have torched too. I was just thinking that maybe all we are looking for are acts of goodness that impacted on a society in a case where the individual sought to advance, not just his life, but the good of the community also. That is what will help us - the good acts.

Jairos Jiri: He is famed for his support for the disabled in Zimbabwe until his name become synonymous with disability.

Comments by The Oracle (2009-05-19 10:20:10) from Utopia

Even more fundamental: what qualifies one to be an African? Was Rhodes an African? Was Tiny Rowland? Are the french national soccer team players Africans? What is the basis of inclusion onto the list; being born on the continent, making your mark on the continent, etc?

Comments by Mutumwa Mawere (2009-05-19 12:22:43) from South Africa

Comments by Mck and Utopia:
I am encouraged that the idea of creating a bank of hope (inspiration) that can store the names of the persons identified as points of light has been embraced. Mck makes the point of the mis(conduct) of KK as a potential issue.

It is common cause that KK was the first black Prime Minister and subsequently President of an independent Zambia. When he became President, he had no one in the black community to rely upon for advise on how to be a good leader. He was transformed from an "agitator" to a state actor. The nation state was a colonial creature and, therefore, its relevance and utility to natives was not that obvious.

As we try to understand KK, as a state actor, we need to remind ourselves that from 1964 through 1991, Zambia had one leader. It is not unusual for people who have been oppressed for too long to expect more from their leaders than the leaders can humanly deliver.

The role of a President in post colonial Africa has to be better understood as is the role and obligation of citizens.

KK was the pioneer and one can imagine what occupied his mind on the first day in office. Most of the institutions of state were manned by people who did not trust or like him.

The office of President is a lonely office especially if the President is born from the womb of the oppressed whose relationship with the state is at best remote. When KK became President he automatically lost his freedom and became an organ of state. His 24 hours became state time and access to him had to be sanctioned by a few.

Like most of the people in power, it is so easy that people around them only tell then what they think he/she wants to hear. Accordingly, a leader can easily become a cog in a machine that he/she has no control over.

Through the life of KK, I have no doubt that we will have a chance to learn about the life of a President. To what extent is President a victim of a state system or a villain.

When we understand better the structure of the state and how it functions then we may be able to judge better, KK's record. Many of the people with strong opinions on KK do not understand how the state works. A President has to work within the confines of the system that he presides and it would, therefore, be naive to expect a State President to see things that he/her eyes cannot see or hear what he cannot hear.

When KK was nominated as one of the 5,000 to be included in the bank of names, I took it upon myself to better understand the man called KK. I have no doubt that this dialogue will add value to all those who are keen to understand KK.

Comments by Mutumwa Mawere (2009-05-19 12:48:25) from South Africa

Comments by the Oracle: You state: "Even more fundamental: what qualifies one to be an African? Was Rhodes an African? Was Tiny Rowland? Are the french national soccer team players Africans? What is the basis of inclusion onto the list; being born on the continent, making your mark on the continent, etc?"

My comments are as follows:

1. There is no qualification to be an African. Africa belongs to all who live in it. More importantly, the face of an African is a multicultural one. Many of the African states aopted Republican constitutions and citizenship can be acquired and need be restricted to a birth right. You can be born in South Africa, for instance, and decide to acquire the citizenship of another country and equally you can be foreign born and decide to acquire the citizenship of South Africa. Accordingly, citizenship is a choice and cannot be considered as mandatory. If this is the case, one has to accept that white people who qualify for citizenship in any of the African states are automatically considered as Africans.

2. Rhodes was definitely an African and his remains are in Zimbabwe. He was probably more African than many people who regard themselves as African. Did you know that he started Consolidated De Deers, Consolidated Gold Fields, and obviously British South African Company. Through him the railroad to Zambia was built. He died at 49 years of age. At 49 he had accomplished more than many Africans at his age. It is only when we understand Rhodes that we can appreciate how he was able to convince his colleagues in Europe to risk their capital to deface the African earth in search of minerals. The say that God made minerals and hid them. Yes, some will say that through Rhodes, natives were alienated from their resources. However, if Rhodes never existed, we have to ask the question of what plan did we have to exploit the minerals hidden in Africa's belly. All the institutions Rhodes left are still in existence long after his death in 1902. The institutions are still in Africa. Such insitutions are citizens of Africa. The fact that Rhodes was a holder of share certificates did not mean that when he died the institutions also died with him. The real estate that he built is still intact and cannot be relocated to Europe. Yes, Rhodes lived and breathed the same air that we are breathing today. What does that make him? The institutions that he helped establish provide a living for millions of Africans.

3. Tiny Rowland like Rhodes was a Pan Africanist. We need to understand him as we need to understand KK. I have no doubt that when the story of Tiny is told it will inspire many black Africans to scale the heights. Because of our own past, the people who dominated the African economic scene are white and what has to be acknowledged is that such people did create institutions that play a critical role in Africa's development. When one talks of Lonrho one cannot avoid the name of Tiny and equally Zimbabwe has to be part of the package. What made Tiny succeed in Africa when for the last 53 years of uhuru the continent has failed to produce its own black Tinys?

4. The black French national soccer players have elected to be part of the French social contract and, therefore, are no longer considered as African. They are part of the French story but still carry an African heritage. To the extent that Africa is majority black, we have no choice but to associate Africa with black skin. We need to celebrate all the people who have black skins because if they do well they help glorify Africa and improve the brand.

Comments by The Oracle (2009-05-20 01:36:08) from Utopia


The reason that I raised the names of Rhodes and Tiny Rowland was in recognition of the fact that no attempt to write the history of the African continent and those who made their mark on it would have any semblance of authenticity if we were to exclude those who were not born on the continent but made it their field of operations. Whether we like him or not, no individual influenced the existing corporate and political landscape of Africa as much as Rhodes, and his biography, far from being that of the evil colonial overlord portrayed in propaganda, is that of an extraordinarily brilliant and driven man whose achievements should inspire anyone irrespective of race. On a smaller but still notable scale, the same can be said for the likes of Ernest Oppenheimer (Born in Germany), Tiny Rowland (Born in Germany), Barny Barnato (Born in England), Saul Kerzner (Born to Jewish Russian Immigrants), etc It is good to know that this initiative intends to accord such eminent men their rightful recognition, without looking at them with any sort of blinkers or attempting to exclude them. Hopefully, the target audience, which will inevitably be majority black, will allow themselves the same level of "color blindness" as is intended in the spirit of the initiative.

Comments by Mutumwa Mawere (2009-05-20 01:56:39) from South Africa

The Oracle:

Your views are shared. What remains is for you to assist with the nomination process and locate these names in the general framework of nation building. The bank of hope has to be fair and honest to history lest we may never draw lessons from those that came before us.

Yes, minerals and land were connected to blacks in Africa and the alienation was not market driven. However, the success or failure of the colonial project has to be honestly evaluated. We need to tell the story that is not part of our normal history.

We have often connected colonialism with white economic power and often ignored the creativeness and ingenuity of the actors. Yes, the environment can be enabling but still you need players who can play the game.

The connection between post-colonial political power and business has to be interrogated in as much as the connection in the colonial era requires interrogation. By focusing, for example, on the Randlords in our quest to create a bank of hope we should be able to identity the connecting dots and tell a proper story so that lessons can be drawn on what kind of connection is required for nation building.

The key decision makers (economic) in Africa are domiciled outside the continent yet in countries like South Africa such decision makers were domiciled in the continent. However, after 1994, some of these decision makers opted to go global and change the domicilium to developed economies.

The colonial project was not premised on "aid" but on the strength of the settlers to make it happen. The post-colonial state has its own challenges largely because of the disconnection between business and political actors.

I do hope that we can work together to create a story so that in future the heritage of Africa is properly understood. There is need to broaden the role models beyond the confines of race especially when one takes into account that very few black decision makers have come to the fore in the post-colonial state.

Many of our people are too educated but financially illiterate. Let us strive to bridge the divide by investing in knowledge about our rich and ugly past. In doing so, there is no doubt that more will be inspired to scale the heights less blinded by the prejudice of the past but encouraged by the positives of those who sought through deeds to create a less dependent and prosperous Africa.

Let us not assume that the knowledge we have is generally shared. It is important to expose the knowledge and let those with eyes and ears use them to Africa's advantage.

There is a point in all our lives and it is critical that we get the point underpinning the initiative.

Comments by Mr Tatenda Makonese (2009-05-20 02:02:28) from South Africa

Greetings Mr Mawere.I'm a brother to Mrs Beryl Kambasha and you are my inspiration let me just pointout that fact.I read your articles whenever there is an update and every word you bringout makes a change in my life.I'm aspiring to be a youg enterpreneure at a tender age and my hope is to sit in a business meeting with you one day and talk manitory business that will make a phenomenal change in the business world.God Bless

Comments by Mck (2009-05-20 02:12:11) from South Africa

We are conditioned to work with tangibles. Our experiences and educational backgrounds are almost turning us into purely materialistic human beings. Everything should be reduced to some decimal accuracy and undergo some empirical verification, a tendency to assume that all of human effort can be itemized and aggregated. So we have an expectation that is informed by lessons in our matriculation and graduations.

Where we should trust, we suspect. Where we should have faith, we doubt. Because we are busy applying our minds and everything should fit a logical definition. So there will be a lot of arguments and counter arguments, which will help satisfy the hunger of the human mind that seeks less of the abstract. We do not seem to agree much and we tend to assume quite rigid positions.

What will undo such boundaries is the realization that it is not what we are viewing that is limited, but it is our vision. If we do not reach out for the human spirit that harbours goodness, purity and innocence we will miss on a chance to influence a society that cherishes the good in its people.

POL: Nick Price is touted as the greatest Zimbabwean golfer of all time and he has made a lasting impact on the international scene. He inspired a lot of executives to prefer golf as their sport.

Comments by Mutumwa Mawere (2009-05-21 05:36:55) from South Africa

BOAF-5,000POL - Contributions to African Society

Your input is required to identify 5,000 reasons you think we should celebrate the African promise. Each reason has to be in the form of a person who you believe has had a profound impact on African society. From social entrepreneurship to sports to arts to academia to general entrepreneurship to medical breakthroughs to technological advancement to scientific discovery to political entrepreneurship, the BOAF-5,000 POL Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes outstanding individuals whose pioneering spirit, fame, power, personality, accomplishments, and demonstrated creativeness and inventiveness throughout their careers has improved African society and inspired others.

Eligibility Requirements

Candidates for this award are role models in all fields of human endeavor. They are African citizens, people of African heritage or permanent residents whose life-long careers have had a significant impact on society. These individuals have the potential to be roles models and inspire creativeness, inventiveness, spirit of service, and hope in others.

Selection Process

The BOAF-5,000 POL COMMITTEE invites you to nominate candidates for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Two independent committees—the Screening Committee and Jury—comprised of experts in government, civil society, science, engineering, medicine, technology and business, review the nominations and select finalists. The BOAF-5,000POL Board ratifies the winner, who is notified by the Director and honored at awards celebrations. The AHS does not play a role in the final selection of the BOAF-5,000POL Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Nomination Process

Determine which award the candidate should be considered for.
Indicate the category or categories in which the candidate should be considered.
Complete and date the nomination form.
Include the following materials in your nomination pack:
Your name and passport-sized photograph plus a brief bio
Name of the Person Nominated
Description of candidate\'s profile and accomplishments:
Please tell us why your candidate should be recognized by the BOAF-5,000POL INITIATIVE. Include a description of the nominee and accomplishments and their impact upon and/or benefit to society (not to exceed 750 words).
Biographical summary:
Please highlight your candidate’s most significant distinctions, within the following areas, on one single-sided 8.5 x 11 page (bullet format is preferred): experience, education, awards & distinctions, patents & publications, copyrights & trademarks, invited lectures & conferences.

You have the option of providing materials supporting the candidate\'s achievements, such as professional articles and press clippings. Additional materials should be single-sided 8.5 x 11\" pages; please do not include more than 10 pages total.
Send one original (unbound, single-sided) and three bound copies of each of the complete nomination packet to the BOAF-5,000POL Program Office OR or
Nominations must be complete and conform to the above criteria. If you have any questions, please call the BOAF-5,000POL Program office at 0027117972056.

The BOAF-5,000POL Lifetime Achievement Award is part of a comprehensive program administered by AHS to raise the stature of African personalities and to inspire innovation, service and the spirit of giving among young people.

Your input will be greatly appreciated.

Comments by Sheryl Manchisi (2009-05-21 08:00:16) from Africa

The points raised by all have been exactly what BOAF initiative are seeking to extract fro the general community. I have selected segments from all the comments that have been posted and the desired outcome is the same. Leading us back to the reason for launching this initiative. BOAF has categories in sports, golf, academics musicians, and more and in the case of KK, Liberators. We are collecting 5000 names across Africa, and KK is simply one point of light. The website will allow for nominations and additional celebrations; we do not end on the 18th of July or start.

The BOAF campaign which will be launched on Africa day will begin a lifetime celebration of individuals to which we can honour and more importantly learn from through the 5000,POL. I implore you to add your suggestions and be part of the initiative.

Kenneth Kaunda or KK, who as a liberator did not have any predecessor to benchmark off only the dream to free his people, the African people, did not have the benefit of any additional source of guidance to make reference to, which is why the objective of this initiative needs to remain the focus; to ensure our past and future generations can have documented learning’s on the individuals that have afforded us the africa we have today, and be inspired to do more. I personally would like to know the thought process of Rhodes and KK and Nick Price and understand outside their natural human flaws how they rose to greatness in their fields; I am certain there are millions more that would benefit from such information.

We need to see as mentioned by Mck, how to extract the good and leave more positive legacies. Though some may be tarnished as with Rhodes the genius that he was is the inspiration that we need to hold true, the Liberator in KK is what we need to hold true, and in the same breath, let us rather learn from their mistakes, to ensure positive growth curves in Africa.

Mutumwa Mawere
There is no obligation that we must think alike. We may never agree on who should or should not be included. However, it is important that we begin the conversation. MM

MCK - From South Africa
I have embraced the idea, despite all the issues that I may have with KK on account of his (mis)conduct. Because BOAF is a good initiative seeking to entrench the good in people.

MM and The Sage explored the possibility of creating a measurement, which I may have torched too. I was just thinking that maybe all we are looking for are acts of goodness that impacted on a society in a case where the individual sought to advance, not just his life, but the good of the community also. That is what will help us - the good acts.

THE ORACLE –from Utopia
Even more fundamental: what qualifies one to be an African? Was Rhodes an African? Was Tiny Rowland? Are the French national soccer team players Africans? What is the basis of inclusion onto the list; being born on the continent, making your mark on the continent, etc?

Whether we like him or not, no individual influenced the existing corporate and political landscape of Africa as much as Rhodes, and his biography, far from being that of the evil colonial overlord portrayed in propaganda, is that of an extraordinarily brilliant and driven man whose achievements should inspire anyone irrespective of race. On a smaller but still notable scale, the same can be said for the likes of Ernest Oppenheimer (Born in Germany), Tiny Rowland (Born in Germany), Barny Barnato (Born in England), Sol Kerzner (Born to Jewish Russian Immigrants), etc

Kindly post any suggestions you may have and continue this conversation.

Comments by Malvern Booysen (2010-08-04 09:21:52) from South Africa

Our website gets about 1 million hits per month. We need good African writers like yourself to exegete African issues. We would like you to have your own page and present over one million people of our site the opportunity to get a balance and correct insight into African issues.

We are restructuring our site. Please assist

Comments by Malvern Booysen (2010-08-04 09:23:14) from South Africa

Comments by Herbert Mudzamba (2011-06-13 10:42:11) from Zimbabwe

The BOAF initiative is well-appreciated and acknowledged. It is something we need to perforate African society to give purpose and meaning to the development of Africa in totality.
Every African needs a purpose in their life in so far as taking us all to the next level is concerned.However, we need to change a social dilema that we face as Africa-to acknowledge a good initiative and embrace it at leadership level-in much the same way as NEPAD was marketed and promoted.If politicians do not realise the importance of their being honoured, then what is the point in honouring them and do we honour just founding fathers like KK or even at ministerial levels (because BOAF is an African Hall of Fame I believe). What I am saying is that BOAF has to take a form of physical presence across African society and not just be there to cream-off those icons who have made it to the top. Nature the change you want to see in Africa-without borders (schools of excellence, etc where the standards of comparison will be clear to all who aspire even at tender ages).
On the issue of KK, he was a contributor in his own era and must therefore be compared with those of his own era-lest we do not see the trend that should set standards for leadership performance in high office.The Book of Kings states David's perfection before man and God but does not mince-up in stating his mistakes. That should be done so that Africans at large will select the icons based on actual performance (and the judges should be Africans-as in Big Brother-not a select committee).
Some people in Europe hail Hitler but can you say the same for all Europeans?

Let a man or woman be judged by all their deeds, and not a select of his deeds.

For there to be light, darkness must come to light.

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