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Let us give it another 10 years

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With Lorraine Lusinje:

In the past week or so, there has been a challenge trending on social media called the 10-year challenge, the idea being a comparison between pictures from 10 years ago to a recent picture. It gets even more interesting when the two comparison pictures have similar themes like playing soccer, at a party or getting seated on a desk. This challenge was been the feature on social media so much that even the terror attack in Kenya did not trump it.

Of course, we live in a world of diversified philosophies, hence some finding the challenge to be a total nuisance while others found it to be amusing and enjoyable while others have developed theories about it. The most interesting theory was that the challenge is a well calculated data mining strategy by tech companies to improve on facial recognition technology. We are all excited and sharing our pictures while the companies benefit free data to work with.

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Interestingly, the challenge also showed us how cameras have changed over the years as most of the older pictures were grainy with poor lighting while the current ones were sharp and bright and seasoned with some filters. Some argued that people looked better now because of the camera, my take was growth is growth and it makes sense for the present to the better than the past.

Nonetheless, the challenge was clearly beyond the changes in our physical appearance as we have grown over the years. I like that it came at the beginning of the year as well because it is clearly an opportunity to reflect upon what we have done with the past 10 years and what we want to do with the next 10 years.

The challenge highlights the essence of time so much because we did not realise just how much time had passed until we had to look back. Time is indeed precious and we need to make those minutes count.

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Inadvertently, the challenge received some negativity from others because it consciously or subconsciously took people across a journey of then and now and not everyone is happy with the transition while, for some, the journey shook them with memories they have not dealt with and kept buried. Such manifested in aggressive and sullen responses to the challenge. Or sheer stone-walling. Isn’t it interesting how one seemingly little thing can have such an overwhelming cocktail of responses?

For others it was definitely a moment of celebration when they reflected on their lives and realized they have made positive strides and progress, some by deliberate effort and planning and some by the sheer luck and opportunity that they seized by both horns. And when they sat there and looked at the comparison pictures they felt a surge of joy and gratitude reverberate inside them.

T h e challenge also moved beyond individuals to companies and industry and countries and the strides that have been made. If there was a picture that could collectively illustrate the population of Malawi 10 years ago to one of now, I am sure it would be crystal clear that the population size has GROWN! We have been very busy making babies in the past decade. But can the country sustain itself if the trend continues?

Malawi has also seen two elections since 2009 and one is around the corner. How have we grown in the past 10 years? I keep hearing the phrase ‘vote wisely’, what exactly does it really mean to vote wisely? I often wonder. We have been hearing the same stories year in, year out pointing at the leadership for some of the failures in developing the country. But we need to ask ourselves if it is just about leaders or we have all failed our country too because we have not been proactive in development. We have indeed seen some growth and many improvements in the country but we can also do much more for our country if only we stop pointing fingers and act.

One thing that is clear is that technology has set a whole new agenda in the country since 2009 and it has become a part of everyday activities and business for individuals, industry, government and the country at large. The world is going digital and Malawi is not remaining behind.

The question now remains, where will we be in the next 10 years?

I rest my case.

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