Of all the self-imposed genres of amnesia, a perennial predisposition of Africa as a continental unit of existence and we, Africans as its makers, preservers and breakers, the conscious act of forgetting the audacity of personalities like Ketema Yifru, a man who genuinely dedicated his life to the long march forward of Africa and his country, Ethiopia audaciously, sincerely, collaboratively, convincingly and above all else, accommodatingly (for all of us are familiar with the unruly and childish behavior of our “beloved” heads of states) is the worst of all of them when it comes, especially, to the kind of Africa we speak of coming in the future, which actually is an extension of his committed and unrelenting act of “dreaming dangerously as well as generously” and then putting them into practice in a turbulent period of Palace-led oppositions and the ostracizing rituals of his own people, the very people he was defending, representing and satisfying without expecting gratitude or anything that amounts to indulgent impressionism, which was, is and will probably the plague that haunts Africa and its miserable people, particularly Negro Africa.
Speaking of frivolous, uncommitted futuristic propositions like Agenda 2063 of the AU that speaks of a future Africa that will unite the whole continent from “Cape to Cairo, via the Cape to Cairo Road or Pan-African Highway or Great North Road, from Dakar to Mogadishu” though it’s at times nothing more than a mimetic act of plagiarizing the master of British Colonialism in Southern Africa (Rhodesia), Lord Cecil Rhodes, who during the heydays of British Colonial Rule in Africa boasted of connecting all the Commonwealth colonies with such an infrastructure, without the proper, timely and genuine self-critique and historicity of fateful proceedings, paying attention to their caveats, remembering and paying homage to the very personalities who sacrificed their lives to the very change they committed for life without further ado about their own living conditions, as in Ketema’s “hero’s welcome by the Derg” is nothing more than a mimicry of the parrot, repetition of slogans worth not having, even a tattoo for. For the way forward is not just simply ahead, it lies mainly in the readiness and willingness and ability of our heads of states and their palace cliques together with the people under their thumbs to traverse the elusive courses of the river of time – history as made and written by the people who lived through it. Or else the only option left and available, as a last choice-less appeal and resort is to succumb to the uncharted territory of the unknown, the uncertain – the kingdom of chances not opportunities, curse not blessings, regression not expansion, peril not prosperity, kakistocracy not democracy (that is even possible only when properly tailored to fit our Pan-African and communal needs).
But this collective and private acts of remembrance has another side of it, we should not remember feverishly so that we could forget again. Our remembrance shouldn’t and mustn’t be an abandoned reminiscence left only to the few inquiring sentinels of a long-lost memory, the keepers of lost and desolate souls. We should make a contemporary and politically-incorrect, unimpressionistic system of not just recalling what already been left to the realm of darkness, the fleeting memories of the past but protecting the future from falling to the trap of self-imposed, indulgent, ritualistic potent forces of existential self-annihilation. Our life depends on it, our fate hangs on the tight rope of remembering, relearning, transmitting, recording and reviewing the history of our alter egos, our past selves that act as the stepping stones into the future that we imagine will be there. And all this depends on how much we’re ready to be as open-minded, open-doored, open-embraced to come to terms with our forgetful selves and the legacy therein.
Ergo, the question of the day is not just – To remember or not to remember ! – the real question is “Must we not cherish our embattled memories together with their pitfalls and predicaments?”