08 June 2012
When now contemplating the national and regional levels, imbalances become obvious. Political structures are often vibrant, and consequences of dis-balance are well seen. Business is often explicitly encouraged, although, if I may say so, only recognized when it is structured in a 'Western manner'. However, where is the voice of the Academics?
Here in Port Elizabeth it is clear that South Africa boasts a developed academia. I am surrounded by people and documents with knowledge involving South Africa Country Studies on this, that, and the other. As I am not necessary studying (only) South Africa, when I toss those studies aside, a next pile of documents come into view. These are the cases in Europe and the USA... Oeps, that is not what I am looking for, I was hoping to get the ones from the African hinterlands. They appear not to exist. Normally then one sais “Let's call someone”. But which professor to call in Angola? Or which one in the Congo? Or which journal to dive into to get information on Zambia, or Zimbabwe, or Malawi?
For peaceful and wholesome progress the balance of the essential social partners is crucial. Already at the start of my stay in South Africa it is more then clear that such balance is missing for most of our northern neighbours and regions.
The academia of a country produces its future leaders. See Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, an acclaimed academic with a doctorate in quantum chemistry. Likewise, Africa needs nationals to research and develop thesis and solutions addressing local, national, and regional challenges. Such is the bread and butter of academic institutions. Thus, not only do academic institutions need to quadruple or more in size, to allow for the huge influx of young people in view of current population demographics, it also needs to show tangible results in research, utilizing and building out indigenous knowledge to assure local relevance, and contribute to the partnership for national and regional stabilities and holistically embedded national progress.