For the black nation to achieve economic freedom, we need to look at developing and nurturing a mindset that thrives for radical economic transformation and decolonization. In order for us to compete with global currencies and economies, we would need a strong-black embedded financial structure.
How can we achieve this?
Through having our own banks, insurance providers, and, ultimately, currency that will not be controlled by any government or white monopoly capital financial sector. On the basis of money, we cannot place it at the forefront of all our dealings. Africans also practiced the method of barter exchange and had long developed their own currency models long before the imperial currency was forced on them. If person A has certain resources that are of no use to him on their own, they can enter into an agreement and an exchange with person B who has the resources needed by person A to establish their business or help extend their operating mechanisms. The same applies for skills and attributes. No one person can achieve everything on their own, which is why we need collaboration. We already have idea portals and savings mechanisms in place, such as stokvels, let’s groom that crowdfunding concept into something more substantial.
In a more relatable example; say I am a good baker that wants to start a baking business, but I lack funding. Perhaps all I have can only afford me flour. If I collaborate with 4 other business minded people who can contribute capital, skills and the required dedication to establish the business – then we can move forward as a unit and have a thriving bakery firm.
Another example to look at is that most of us practice crowdfunding and collective saving on a daily basis. If there are four of us as friends, each wanting to buy a 500ml bottle of cooldrink at R10 each, we can look at pulling our funds together, thus buying a 2L bottle at R14. If we add 4 paper cups at R1 each, in total we would have spent R18 instead of R40. If you look at it from an individual basis, each person saves R5 and 50 cents. These are the minor things, of which if practiced on a larger scale, can advance economic transformation.
Cooperative Financial Institutions, CFIs in short, are a prerequisite model which will help us develop our own banks and insurance companies. This will, in turn, see to the financial certainties of our people. Through the CFI model sustainable jobs will later on be created and more businesses can be funded.
Our own factories and means of production will decrease the overall turnover of exports. This will keep the money within the black economic cycle. Manufacturing will also require us, in the long run, to start producing our own machinery and equipment. It is also inequitable for our own engineers and other skilled workers to keep nurturing exotic businesses, where we only get crumbs of the collective profits achieved from black manual labour.
An example: Say we want to dominate the bread industry. We would need to have our own wheat fields in order to produce our own flour. This will need to be backed by a solid black agricultural sector. We would need to produce the other required ingredients as well that are 100% organic. The cycle of injecting skills and capital to a black owned sector, yielding profit and further employment and business opportunities, will continue. The likes of BB, Albany and Sasko (just to name a few) will be overthrown as our own bakery brands emerge. In the history of the bread and pastry industry, the Africans were the ones who discovered this magic of transforming grains, yeast and water into bread. It was later on taken over by the Greeks and Romans from our Egyptian ancestors.
Education! Decolonization! And more education from an Afrocentric perspective, along with self-awareness as a people and unity. “When in doubt or despair, go back to basics” We need to go back in time and tell our own history. Propaganda and politics aside, we ought to acknowledge our indigenous ways of doing things. Africa has a strong intellect and we need to explore education in all aspects. Financial literacy; Manufacturing; African science, medicine and healing mechanisms; Agriculture and nurturing methods; just to name a few.
Synergy is defined as the interaction and cooperation of two or more entities to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. Collaborating our knowledge and skills remains an undisputed requirement for a strong black nation economic foundation, embedded in a rich Afrocentric perspective. We ought to work hand in hand to establish, nurture and promote our very own products, financial organizations, schools, telecommunications, health and remedial centers.
It all starts with us, how we handle ourselves and families at large. We cannot allow for broken family structures because that ultimately contributes to a divided people. We cannot sit with our arms folded and expect salvation from the West. No. Charity begins at home.Let’s work from the ground up, ensure the smooth running and efficiency of our families, and communities at large.
Cradle of humankind, the birth of civilization are all African based. This tells us that we are a people of great intellect, innovation and charisma. Let us work together in achieving more greater things. Let us strive for a better and sustainable future, not only for ourselves, but also for generations to come.
By Thandeka Shabane