What can we learn from Africa?
During my flight back from Tanzania I watched the “Black Panther” movie, published by Marvel Studios in 2018. It is a story about a fictitious high tech state in Africa called Wakanda, that has been hidden from the rest of the world for many centuries. At the end of the movie, Wakanda’s king T’Challa speaks to the rest of the world in front of the United Nations. His speech contains a variety of remarkable thoughts:
We will work to be an example of how we as brothers and sisters on the earth should treat each other. Now more than ever, illusions of the vision threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, but the fools build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.
A representative of a rich nation asks: “With all due respect, what could a nation of farmers offer to the rest of the world?” In the Black Panther movie, the world did not yet see the tremendous value that this African country could provide. Weapons (typical for a Marvel movie) is certainly not what the world needs. The Black Panther story is about secret technologies that real countries in Africa may not be able to offer today, although there is a lot of indigenous knowledge that can help the world to build a sustainable future.
What can we learn from real Africa? Every culture offers a lot to learn from. From our experience in Tanzania, what we in the Western world can really learn from people in Tanzania is joy in life, love to each other, trust in God. And hope for our common future. That why we called our foundation “Bridge of Hope”. Hope is traveling in both directions along this bridge between different people, different communities, different cultures. As King T’Challa said:
In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, but the fools build barriers.