I’ve been asked to express my honest opinion about working at the African Peoples Advocacy. I’ll start by arguing that in a time when work experience is required to prove you can speak or read, as if all your years in the education system have been completed without any contact with the outside world, it’s nice to find someone who is willing to offer you support in making your first steps towards an actual career.
I’ve completed my MA at a very prestigious university, but soon realised my academic achievements do not count for much in the real world. Having quite a privileged life away from harsh or repetitive jobs, I’ve always got involved in activities I believed would make a difference and, to my surprise, some of them helped me cover my expenses. I’ve started my activity at APA with an open heart, hoping that my skills can be put to good use and wishing to find a workplace that rewards my efforts. So far, my colleagues and the executive director, Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell, have been more than helpful by providing guidance to constantly develop on personal levels and recommending appropriate resources that could further my professional horizons.
Along with the opportunity to attend various conferences promoting diversity and discussing the repercussions emerging from the inadequate implementation of certain policies, the book ‘Bala in the Mali Kingdom’ is the right ground from which to start my journey of understanding more about the African continent. Describing Cameroon with its transparent and energetic relationships, colourful fashion and natural warmth, the mature reader immediately wonders why this free expression of feelings has disappeared in the capitalist states. Should one attempt to bring back the unsuspicious dynamics between unique individuals or is the African continent exposed to the same sad prospect of mechanising human relationships?
Although still fascinated by the academic environment with its intellectuals vigorously debating their ideas of utopia, I’ve reached a point when I find very fruitful the initiative to surround yourself with people who are actively involved in contributing to progress. Yes, writing articles can make a difference, but how many of these academics are still in touch with reality?! Universities and postgraduate milieus praise so forcefully the idea of being critical that many become exclusively concerned with being deconstructive rather than constructive of new attitudes and principles. I’ve been confronted with the risk of becoming over-intellectualised, overwhelmed by information to such an extent that I find myself reduced to silence. But people like Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell find a way of remaining analytical, open to a plurality of ideas, yet be firm when it comes to deciding which policy works best for the present circumstance.
So, to provide an honest view of my work at the APA, I had to offer you a bit of context and explain why I plan to move on from the restricted academia for a while and get myself involved in projects that need useful, practical ideas. Hopefully, I will soon establish a balance between the scholar writings I enjoy so much and social activism, bringing a valuable contribution to the missions I undertake!