In Defiance of Breathlessness: Calling up the Requirements of Clear Spirit, Hard Knowledge, Proper Vision and Cool Stillness of Movement as a Means of Reclaiming Boundaries of Land and Heroic Human Transformation in Africa
Shaughnessy, Michele L.
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I work with the knowledge that the present discontinuities and disruptions in Africa will not last forever, and that the lessons of the newest realities of industry, bureaucracy, and urbanism are being incorporated into Africa's own particular sensibility and humanism and will yield fresher shapes and alternatives to participation in complex history. This paper has grown from an attempt to create a reconciliation between the many disparate elements which characterize much of African life in modern times, and the effort to establish such a framework of response parallels a similar process in my own life beginning around September of 1986. This work recognizes a fundamental need to transcend what are very real, honest, and explosive reactions to Africa's unchosen involvement in international arenas of interest but which most dismiss as rhetoric, political and divisive in nature and threatening to any individuals who are not properly allied. The kinds of reflexive actions and dogmatic responses to the new imperialism, while satisfying somehow in the short run, are inimical to honest vitality and to the open and pluralistic fabric of African society which extends through present generations and reveals a persistent ability to incorporate change. This trait of flexibility is essential to survival and tends to close itself only to a tightening of options.