A Prayer for Africa

By Leonard Quarshie

May we gain the dignity that comes from taking care of “your own.” May our children eat and be full. May we realize our potential and translate our promise into reality. May our wounds be healed and the tears of our people be wiped away. May we meet our needs without looking up to others.

May we develop the capacity to add value to our resources. May there be a flourishing of the arts, of science, of industry in our time. May we tell our stories—the sweet, the bitter, the not- so- pleasant—ourselves; and report our own realities. May out of Africa rise a new generation of leaders, thinkers and inventors with solutions to Africa's problems. May the gifts and talents of our young people be ignited. May they conceive. May they create. May they build.

May we overcome the demons of ethnicity and religious strife; and recognize our common humanity as a people. May we come to regard difference and diversity as strength instead of weakness. May we resolve our quarrels peacefully without resort to war and armed conflict. And may we lay down our swords and “apply our hearts to wisdom.”

May we eschew corruption and greed in public life; and come to think of public service as an opportunity to serve, and to promote the common good. May we overcome the temptation to think only in terms of the familial; and, instead work to enhance the quality of life and prosperity of all people.

May we regain our self-confidence again as a people; and overcome the feeling of not “being good enough” that stops us from making our voices heard.

May we become “mighty” and not only “beautiful.” May “our shame” be taken away. May our conversation change from one of “collective despair” to one of “hope.” And may our long night of misery, of poverty, of underdevelopment, of subservience to others, be a footnote when the history of the next hundred years is written.

Leonard Quarshie is an essayist and freelance writer. You can reach him at [email protected]