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You were not born with your education, but you were born with your imagination

An open letter to young Africans, originally posted on my LinkedIn Profile

JESUS said unto him, if though canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth - mark 9:23
This is a letter to all young Africans, who are the future of the continent and will play a significant role in the future of the world. Even if you are not a young African, take time to read it, it will give you some helpful insights:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Pardon me if I sound sarcastic and correct me if I am wrong... but it seems to me that 'most of our formal education in Africa seeks to separate habit from intuition; to marry it with so called "logic" or "rationality", yet we learn from experience that imagination and intuition also (not just formal education) play a key role in success and creativity."
From my humble surroundings and experiences, I also realize that we live and work within systems as young Africans. These systems are governed to a large extent by the predetermined rules and laws of how things should be. There is nothing wrong with that, but, 'does any one of you remember being reprimanded by your elders for using your left hand as if it was a sign of disrespect or mockery?' (Let's let that hang for a bit).
Nonetheless, there are two types of African women and men who have risen to levels of greatness which we can admire as youths. However, I am still convinced that the quality of their rising and success differs between these two categories of people. Let me explain:
  1. There are men and women who have risen with the systems. They have risen because they have excelled in a least one thing defined as 'success' within the system, for instance, getting good grades in school. I salute and wholeheartedly respect these women and men; but some (not all of them) have found little room for their belief, faith and imagination in their lives. Their life is flooded by the accolades that may not create much inner happiness.
  2. The other group of women and men either by coincidence or deliberately, have liberated themselves or even changed some long believed rules and laws binding their past. Often this comes at a painful cost, like one hammering through a stone wall. Some fall within this group because they have 'failed' for instance, they didn't get good grades in school; but through continued trust in their imagination and belief in the dream they have of tomorrow, regardless failing a thousand times, they have risen to greatness.
Once a man has liberated himself from externally defined limitations, I believe he has found the real way to the true destination (if success is a journey). This man is free indeed. He might not necessarily own tons of gold or silver, but he can save nations, he might die without a mansion but he will leave a secure legacy that will transform lives even after he dies. This man sees far into the future and embraces it beyond the barriers of presently defined limitations. Just like the ancient Hebrew man Abraham, whom they called "the father of faith."
I have said before of some of the systems around us, (and I am afraid our formal education in Africa is one of them) that;
almost everything they have called 'rational' in the world of academics is not 'absolutely correct'; and the most dangerous state academic can 'assume' is 'full knowledge'. What I perceive to be the essence of the matter is, "we all just don't know enough and there is no harm in trying out new (and well thought through) ideas!"
The late Steve Jobs, (one of the symbols I have seen of faith and audacity and not doubting imagination and intuition) once said, "stay hungry, stay foolish..."
There is nothing to hide, no reason to shy away from the failure that you encountered because of dreaming big. I have once again said, "he who is afraid to fail denies himself the right to learn".
Fellow brothers and sisters, this letter is not meant to encourage you to quit school, but to challenge you to keep your imagination married to your school. I could speak with you for a whole day to express what I feel for you, but in a nutshell, this is my message to all young Africans today, whether schooled or unschooled:.
use your intuition, unleash your imagination, be bold enough to challenge some of the 'rules and laws' around you (as long as it's not crime), break the walls (of your limitations), go into lands never tread... but know that this message goes out to you as it also comes in to me, we are together in this.

BUT especially for the academics whom I love so much:
DO NOT overlearn to the extent of fearing to marry your education with your imagination, remember you were born with your imagination, but you were NOT born with your education. There must be a reason for that...
Listen to these words if you want to make history, if you want to leave a legacy, if you want to be important to us and the world...
we, your African brothers and sisters and parents, are the people who need you the most.

With love inexpressible in a simple post,
Harrison Manyumwa.
BE careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God - phillipians 4:6
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