It’s time to leverage African events to advocate change

I wish Afcon had amplified the atrocities happening at DRC

In Summary

• The likes of Afcon present a chance to rally the continent behind causes

• DRC players used it as a platform to highlight the violence in their country

Cote d'Ivoire players celebate after winning
Cote d'Ivoire players celebate after winning

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Afcon or CAN as you may call it, was a thrill through and through.

"La Côte d'ivoire, Espérance Terre d'Hospitalité reçoit l'Afrique... Jour de fête..."

That Tam Sir's Coup du Marteau anthem had people on their feet and even blew up, with thousands of people participating in the challenge online.

From when the African teams landed in Côte d’Ivoire (CIV), all dressed up in African attire that embodied the countries they were representing, to the dances, the fans and even the matches, every moment was sensational.

We also saw how tables turned at the very last minute; for instance, in the match between Mozambique and Ghana, where Mozambique bounced back in injury time.

There were mixed reactions from Kenyans online when Tanzania’s Taifa Stars qualified, and even more excitement around the Amapiano derby between Nigeria and South Africa.

With Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania winning the bid to host the 2027 Afcon, I can’t wait to see how that one goes.

In one way or another, Chan 2023 united us as Africans, even though most of the time, we find it hard to see eye to eye in other spectrums.

As a football fanatic, it was beautiful to see how an African tournament brought Africans together.

I believe that with such an experience, as Africans, we can always find a way to unite for a common good.

We can support each other and even though we are independent states, we can still coexist as one community.

A good example was how the DRC players used the tournament as a platform to spotlight the armed violence taking place on the eastern part of their country.

The world is awfully silent on how people are being massacred and families displaced in DRC, among other inhumane acts.  

I liked how they came out to speak against what is happening and even went an extra mile to have some of their teammates write about it on X.

When you look at such an instance, and even with issues that keep on arising from other African nations day in, day out, it is proof enough that we are not yet there.

We host so many regional conferences that spread across different sectors, have tournaments, have numbers and numbers of events every other year in different African countries, but we hardly ever seem as if we are one continent.

If some African states are becoming vocal on liberation and others are still silently struggling with neocolonialism, then where does that leave the pan-Africanism bubble?

What does pan-Africanism mean to each one of us?

This is with no ill intent or anything, but as much as we are supporting the Gaza ceasefire, why do we forget that our brothers and sisters also need our support?

It is sometimes so hard to understand how we as Africans think and act, and it even goes as far up as our very own leaders.

How I wish Afcon had amplified and made as much noise about what is happening at DRC.

If we can afford to host so many functions around the continent and have state officials and other stakeholders attend, yet at the end of the day, it looks like it was all a façade and we end up being further apart, then something is amiss.

In the spirit of pan-Africanism, why not use events such as a football tournaments as a movement to speak up on issues we are facing among ourselves and even with the Western nations?

We all saw how half the continent was in support of Ivory Coast winning Afcon, and how the other half supported Nigeria.

If the love of football brought us together, where we had a successful and intriguing tournament as a continent, then why not leverage on that chance where we are together to actually show up for each other?

As the saying goes, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone, but if you want to walk far, walk together.”

We are a blessed continent that has so many resources at our disposal, and we are as powerful as they come. But until we actually understand what this means for us, then we are far in terms of achieving a unified front. 

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star