The Second-Guessing Nature of Africans

Photo Cred: Ganzerplatz

Photo Cred: Ganzerplatz

I once had this conversation with an Australian friend of mine. It was after I’d met the Australian founder of a company whose South African division was a client of ours.

He was so cool, calm and attentive. Above all else, he was incredibly sure of himself. His opinion and what he said. Even if you corrected him on a matter, he did not shudder or seem less certain of himself. He took it in his stride.

I mentioned this Australian genius to my Australian mate and highlighted to him that he reminded me a lot of him. My friend is also someone who is very sure of himself and who knows a lot. I remember asking him what it was that made Australians so confident and sure of themselves?

It reminded me of how Americans know everything. They have a well of information from whence you have no idea where it started and where it would end. I’m not talking about the ignorant Americans – I’m talking about the well-educated and travelled kind. I’ve met a couple and had long conversations and they always just seem to know a lot.

They too, in conversation, never seem to doubt themselves. Sometimes arrogant, but they have that undeniable certainty in themselves. The certainty that often left me questioning if I really did know what I thought I did and whether I really was convicted of my opinions on matters.

During this conversation with my friend, it came to light that this probably stems from the inferiority complex of Africans. We are, after all, a continent that was colonised. We are a people who were told that our ways were wrong. We were told that Western civilisation was the way to go.

Within that creates an ever-present sense of doubt. Though sometimes minute, it is undeniably present. No matter how much you know, how much you study or how much you have been exposed to, you’re not sure if you know enough or if your knowledge is adequate.

So I find myself constantly searching for more information. More knowledge. More more more. Because maybe one day I will know enough.

But my prayer is that we as Africans get past that and believe in ourselves. That our knowledge and experiences are valid too. That we may not always have the words or the global praise that comes with being seemingly superior, but that should not make us any lesser as people. We are a kind and accommodating people – that is something of value, but should not mean we count less or can be easily trampled on.

After all, we ought to remember that we inhabit the motherland from whence civilisation all began.

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The Struggle of a Creative Christian

Apparently, nowadays it’s OK to coin ourselves as being ‘creatives’. A word that is seemingly over-used and somewhat redundant. Despite it being this way, I consider myself creatively inclined, and this is the term that, I suppose, comes with.

Photo Cred: http://www.whipperskipper.com/

Photo Cred: Whipper Skipper

So why is it a struggle? The thing is, creatives feel and see and want to express themselves in many ways. And there are ample ways to relay ones creativity. Unfortunately, not all these avenues are reflective of what it means to be a Christian or are in line with Christian beliefs.

I have had conversations with fellow believers in the creative industry and how the struggle is real. As a fashion designer, musician, writer etc. it can be incredibly difficult to be taken seriously as soon as you put a religious spin on your work. On the contrary, it seems so easy to fit in if one takes a more ‘worldly’ approach.

In addition, there are many events, opportunities and avenues of expression when one disregards religion. There is also the assumption that once you are creative, you are liberal and the liberty granted to you comes at a price. You ought to endorse freedom of speech, homosexuality, feminism, sex before marriage and all else that has become ‘socially acceptable’ in this world. As soon as you have an opinion outside of this, your membership in the creative club is questionable.

How then, do we navigate such a beautiful yet treacherous terrain?

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

That is the guiding principle we ought to live by. God is the ultimate Creator who gifted us with our talents and creativity. I don’t believe God would grant us with this to torture us. I do believe that He did endow us with these abilities so that we can worship and praise Him in all we do. It is a question of channeling our creativity in the way in which He wants us to. It takes a more deliberate effort to do so, but it is certainly not impossible.

The key, I believe, is to constantly ask yourself if what you are doing what glorifies God. Keeping this in mind always and in all things, I would like to believe, will provide some direction for a creative Christian.