Oral tradition has it that every society had its place of meeting- it was either the big Msasa tree in the middle of the African village or the City Gate if you were in the ancient Greece or even Israel-the concern and focus of these forums was to create solutions together in a consensual manner. This is where the idea of the physical commons originates- land used collectively. However with development and individualisation- the ideal of a common space has also dissipated- our production, accumulation and consumption is now individually organised. I am not about to propose that we go back into that mode of collective production but rather I am proposing to appropriate the concept of the commons and to re-integrate a new commons- this blog site- for all of us- who care and are enthusiastic about contributing towards Africa’s development- this is our space.
I propose that we think outside of the usual framing of the questions/constraints and instead see opportunities for pioneering thoughts/ideas for the transformation of our Africa. I am not naive about the complexity of development- but if we do not try to simplify it- I can assure you we will not even get started. Let’s try to break it into sizeable chunks- what can I do as an individual, what can my immediate community do and also what can my generation do. I believe there is a lot that we can do. I invite you to be a part of what I am loosely referring to as the coalition of the willing (CoW). In my first blog entry I discuss a variety of issues that demonstrate the extent to which we have not necessarily exercised ownership over the challenges that we face and also in crafting our own solutions-I am anxious for feedback before we talk about the ‘switch’ idea.