Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Africa they never show you - African cities

I've seen a couple of friends post this video on Facebook and I finally decided to watch it this week. I was impressed. I knew some African cities had some nice 'buildings' and all but this video was a little eye-opening. This is because it didn't show just Johannesburg, Nairobi and Abuja. It's the Africa they never show you in the media. It's the Africa Africans themselves never really see on their televisions as well. It's the Africa we don't talk enough about. It's not the real Africa, but it's a part of Africa.

When I first came to the USA in 2001, the big things were the big things that impressed me. The big buildings, large roads, highways, interchanges, etc. There are many differences between the US and Ghana, but I must say the skyscrapers and infrastructure takes the cake. I had thought of doing some form of engineering for undergrad, but the awe of the infrastructure wowed me and I settled on the first type of engineering known to mankind - building. When I was in Ghana for the first time after being in the US, the first things that struck me were dust, dirt and 'development'. You probably won't see too much of that in this video above. We can strive for more of that.

Obviously, we'll want more of the video's images for our Africa, but we have to be careful. With more industrialization comes more pollution. We have to check for matching rising costs of living with adequate standards of living. We have to plan for the attendant traffic. We can't leave the infrastructure development in private hands when public policy doesn't put in place measures to make it sustainable and effective. The most fun class I am taking now is one about infrastructure. This stuff is exciting. We may be a 'developing' continent, but we must know that the so-called developed places have not stopped and will not stop developing. Our shoulders shouldn't drop though, because the video shows we are capable too.
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