Congratulation on turning 50! You’ve come a long way without actually going anywhere.
You’ve gone through quite a few changes, too. I remember when you were the Organisation of African Unity. Like so many youngsters, you fell in with the wrong crowd as soon as you were old enough to let go of your colonial coattails.
I remember you hanging out with lovable rogues like Mobutu Sese Seko, Muammar Gaddafi, Idi Amin and Haile Selassie, who was a step up from the rest because he at least invented reggae music and smoked weed. You certainly earned the right to be known as the Dictators’ Club.
You changed your name to the African Union in 2002, presumably after realising that African unity was, like, the biggest pie you ever saw in the sky. There isn’t even a family on this continent, let alone a government, that has managed to achieve unity. When Gaddafi started blabbing on about being the president of the United States of Africa, you had to hire the Americans to put him down. Unity is heavily overrated. Look at Europe. I got a call last night from Brussels begging me to lend money to Spain.
Like me, as you get older, you’re moving a bit slower with each passing year. When that scuffle broke out in Mali last year, it took forever before you tried to do anything about it. I expect you’ll be addressing the Mau Mau rebellion at any moment.
Now that you’re officially middle-aged, you will probably find that you start forgetting things. Like who co-founded you. “Thabo who?” I hear you say. You must be relieved that there is no more talk of the African Renaissance. Like a freshly peeled mango, it was a concept that many of your members found hard to grasp.
I see your foreign ministers have backed a request by Kenya for the International Criminal Court to stop badgering their president. Crimes against humanity aren’t what they used to be. In the good old days, you would have to murder half your population to get that kind of attention. Now you turn a blind eye to a spot of post-electoral pushing and slapping and it’s off to The Hague for you.
Nearly half of the 20 most corrupt countries in the world are African. This is excellent news. All of them might have been African. This is real progress.
The quality of leadership is also improving. Our own president, for instance, makes Barack Obama look like a swivel-eyed illiterate. As for Robert Mugabe, well, there is no finer example of the perfect democrat.
Best of luck in spending the next 50 years searching for African solutions to African problems. Self-sharpening machetes would be a good place to start.