By BRIAN ONALI NDUW
Africans’ confinement to think within the box, proves detrimental. Our heroes thought outside the box. We’ve got no name to the owner of the box we are confined to think within or the one we’re urged to think out of. Throwing away that box – start plain thinking and self-introspection, is the surest way.
Things have changed and keep on changing. Static thinking within and around the box makes us not creative with no vision as others adjust and embrace changes before our naked eyes.
Education, religion, and politics affect our thinking—agents of thought formatting. Yes, our education system emphasizes Eurocentric values as opposed to African values, but associating our problems [others call them curses] is distraught.
My former classmate, Water Resource Scientist Paul Juma K’Omondi, and self-styled political commentator says, “Politics and religion are two things which have escalated division of humanity the most. The followers are the ones who suffer the most.”
“Education is a powerful weapon,” said Nelson Mandela. Whether it’s inherited or not; politicians, economists, and scientists should think away from the box for the country to rise.
For instance, the Chinese developed their own brand. They demolished Soviet-style communism/socialism. Their reputation is socialism with Chinese distinctive—a single-party grassroots ‘democracy’ with a capitalist economy.
Human beings and domestication
For thousands of years, we have inhabited the planet, and plants and animals have been domesticated. Domestication has happened in every corner of the globe over time. Our pallets of flavours have evolved so do the gastrointestinal systems to like and enjoy what was considered food by our ancestors.
Domestication was a difficult process. Bitter plants were not utilised as veggies or grains. Some made it as medicinal plants. The ‘insubordinate and pompous’ birds were disregarded as poultry. The vicious animals weren’t regarded as livestock.
In the opinion of Food scholars, tubers including yams, sorghum, millet, and other starches were cultivated as important staple foods in Africa. Wheat and maize were missed on the agenda. The Arabs and Europeans were the primary consumers of wheat. The South Americans, particularly Mexicans, served maize or corn as their mainstay.
The culinary historians accuse Africans of neglecting practically all familial meals in lieu of what the foreigners devoured. The debate is based on colonialization-political and food; on account of egocentric, naughty, and unscrupulous political thinking within the box.
Here in Kenya, not all tribes considered maize their staple. Some have now abandoned their staples, tubers, and preferred maize. The cry for unga prices to lower deafens from a farmer in Nyandarua to the political stage via our western region brothers. The politics of unga. During discussions on lowering food prices in the country, unga comes first. When they talk of unga, it’s maize flour-white sifted; not from the grains of sorghum or millet.
Maize cultivation is demanding, according to agriculturalists. Climate change and biotechnology are other factors. Maize requires plenty of water and fertile soil. When inputs such as water and fertilizers are scarce, maize production suffers and hunger crises arise. Sorghum and millet are the true remedies.
Ukrainian grain exports
In the current era, we have found ourselves pleading with Russia and Ukraine to cease warring and in lieu release their grains-maize and wheat, notwithstanding the simple reality that we’ve cassava, bananas, yams, and lots of fruits or pawpaws, pineapples, sorghum, and millet that can effortlessly supplant maize. Rethinking – working on our attitude is all that is required from us. Reverberating what our forefathers ate before maize annexed our appetites.
Russia and Ukraine are at odds; their residents are fed. Germany fought the World War II for six years. Its inhabitants ate. Africa, we’re unable to yield sufficient sustenance for ourselves. We resort to beseeching, fresh grain products. Who cursed us?
We’re not engaged in a war. We, the peaceful people, upbraid those fighting on defaulting to feed us. We should be embarrassed!
BRIAN ONALI NDUW is an environmentalist and storyteller.