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This book is a call on Africans and non-Africans to once more believe in the possibility of a better future for Africa. In these pages, Stan Chu Ilo writes of his experience and the experiences of many young Africans like himself who are disturbed by the present condition of Africa. He writes about the challenges facing most Africans who are growing up in the African continent without any hope of quality education, without any guarantee of adequate food, water, housing, and clothing; without any hope of getting a job, and without any prospect of living in peace with their neighbors. He writes of the sad situation of millions of young Africans who are dying of malaria and HIV/AIDS, and the African women whose fate and fortune have been shackled by a male-dominated society. He questions the bases of the existence of the failed states of Africa, who are caught up in a cycle of violence and disorder and who are not asking the right questions about the future of their nations. He argues that corruption, excessive authoritarianism, a stubborn hold on power, and lack of openness to consensus-building among some African leaders insult the cultural value of Africans with regard to a sense of community, love and solidarity. He also writes of the pain of globalization, the debt burden, immigration and trade restrictions on Africans and African countries, exploitation of ordinary Africans by fellow Africans and Western governments and business conglomerates. He wonders why many Western nations should turn their backs on Africa, when they all share some responsibility in bringing Africa to her knees. However, even though many Africans have become exhausted in the battle for national survival and for a living space to pursue their ordered ends, this book proposes that Africans should not claim perpetual victimhood, rather they should stand up once more and work for a better tomorrow, which is possible, and within their reach. Ilo insists that the imposing mountains of economic and social ruin; the rising moans and groans of numberless Africans, should not weaken the inner energy and ardent hopes of millions of Africans struggling against the untested assumption, that the cracking social, political, and economic foundations of present day Africa, are incapable of supporting the structures of a new Africa. The face of Africa today is ugly, but behind the ugly face is the beauty that has been distorted by historical and cultural factors. The present condition of Africa is only the sign of the urgent need for the peoples of Africa to brace up for the long and hard journey to reclaim their future. Ilo outlines how non-Africans who are interested in the African condition can be involved with the peoples of Africa. A proper understanding of the African continent and her peoples, her history and cultural evolution is a necessary first step for those who wish to be engaged with the Africans. His total picture approach model as the key to interpreting the African condition and in comprehensively addressing the challenges facing Africa, offers a helpful and original tool in understanding Africa. It helps to overcome the stereotypes, prejudices and paternalism which non-Africans apply in their reading of African history and their relation with the African reality. With masterly skills, a keen sense of history, a balanced perspective and objectivity, Ilo identifies the constraints to growth and innovation in Africa in terms of the low stocks in the human-capital and cultural development. He introduces a new concept in the interpretation of the African condition: homelessness in terms of cultural and existential crises that confront Africans today. His conclusion is that cultural and human development is the irreducible decimal in any proposal for the transformation of the continent; that grassroots village-based action should be preferred over bogus and unworkable national approaches to African development.
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Stan Chu Ilo was born immediately after the Civil War in his native country, Nigeria. The sad tales of war told by few members of his family who survived the war, and the experience of growing up in a war-ravaged Igboland in Eastern Nigeria in the early 1970s, shaped his vision of life on the evils of war, poverty and injustice, and the need to build foundations of love and friendship for a better world. This vision is firmly rooted in his exposure to Christianity early in life and his rich formation on authentic African values of peace, love, community, hard work, integrity and support for the weak and poor. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1998. Between 1992-1994, he taught summer courses on African Religious and Political Thought, and Ecumenism and Religious Tolerance at the Institute of Ecumenical Education, Enugu. He was appointed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in 1999 as the National Coordinator for Jubilee 2000. During this period, he gained national recognition through his regular appearances on Nigerian Television (NTA), Lagos; African Independent Television (AIT), and MINAJ Cable Network's program, Celebrating Jesus. His commentaries and homilies on social justice issues, good governance, human rights and religious tolerance have been broadcast on Nigeria's national radio network (Radio Nigeria), and published in more than 10 African newsmagazines, newspapers and online networks.He received a Millennium Plaque in June 2000 from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Lagos Mainland for his contribution to Jubilee 2000. He was the Associate Editor of the official magazine of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, CSN News (1999-2001) and Editor of the Rome-based Journal of African Philosophy and Life, The Encounter (2001-2003). He has studied in universities in Africa, Europe and North America and has degrees in philosophy, theology, educational and pastoral studies and post-graduate diplomas in educational and human rights studies. He is on
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