Africa, communications and the future

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MAYFIELD — I was in an outdoor restaurant in beautiful downtown Riyadh a few years ago and this lovely guy with a brilliant smile came over with some food. I looked at him and said: “Your from Kenya!”

And indeed he was.

I could tell by his disposition. There’s no faking it. It just is.

For me it has been 30+ years since I last lived in Africa. And two years since I last travelled there. But there haven’t been enough trips in between.

My friend JJ lives there now. Like me he’s not an African. But he’s married an African and he has African children. And that’s something that I could so easily have done.

It’s hard to say what is so right about Africa. Especially for an outsider like me. It always sounds wrong. Whereas, by contrast, it is easy for any and everyone to say what they think is wrong about Africa.

I know if I had stayed there I would have known so much more tragedy. Humongous, daily, Shakespearean sadness.

But that’s not what Africa is about. And that’s not why your children and my children will know so much more about it. Africa will shape our future in unanticipated ways as much as China or India might. (Maybe that’s why China and India are spending so much time and resource in Africa?)

Africa is about success. It is about optimism. It is about happiness an it’s about ability.

It’s impossible to think of anything that Africa cannot do.

That’s where communication and business come in. Africa needs to be supported as it starts to speak out. As it communicates its unique world view and as it takes up more and more space in business.

Make room. I’m looking forward to it.

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