In July 2020, Hezvo Media will begin releasing episodes of “Lions at the Gate: What Keeps Africa from Rising?” The documentary written and directed by Dr. Noah Manyika includes interviews with Africans and Friends of Africa in different parts of the world, and was inspired by the late Ali Mufuruki’s 2015 TEDx Talk in London challenging the “Africa is rising” narrative. Mufuruki, a very successful Tanzania businessman, essentially called the narrative false.

Among the assumptions the documentary will interrogate will be the idea that personal and collective improvement is the result of targeting our weakness and becoming better at what we are bad at.  As a former coach of the late Kobe Bryant observed, the remarkable improvement of the basketball superstar was because of his relentless focus on attacking his own weaknesses. What stops Africa from cultivating that culture?

The genocide in Rwanda seemed to emancipate Rwandans from the prison of their sociological and tribal structures to live out the full possibilities of their humanity. Is it possible for any nation to see significant and sustained transformation and development without a similar change of mindsets and sense of freedom? Can Africa rise without revisioning the sociological and tribal structures that prevent the fulfillment of human needs?

One William Beinart writing on life in apartheid South Africa’s infamous Bantustans observed that “the poverty was palpable, but at least on their home terrain, people did not seem culturally subservient.”  Could some of the Lions at the Gate that keep Africa from rising be the friends of Africa who encourage Africans in the belief that judging African systems by the standards of performance and productivity is a form of cultural imperialism?

Follow Dr. Manyika on twitter (@drnmanyika) instagram (drnmanyika) and on Facebook for updates on release dates and for other Hezvo Media projects in the works.