Africa; Information and Big Data As The Modern Age Power.

The autobiography of Nelson Rolihlahla Madiba Mandela quite carries one from the modern age to the yester years. The word by word detailing of his life right from childhood is a modern tale of pre-colonial era. Those of us who will live for the next 100 years will have a different tale to say to our children. With the 2045 initiative by Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov, perhaps we might be living in the form of avatars and we will be there for reference on a one on one basis.

Mandela talk of his father Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa who was a chief by both blood and custom of the Mvezo people. Mvezo was a tiny village on the banks of the Mbashe River in the district of Umtata. It not only happened to be Mandela’s birth place but also the capital of the Transkei. His father was a high ranking person, coming third after the king of Thembu people and the British rule. He had very many herds of cattle, received a stipend from the tax collection from the people. It was a tax in form of the cattle, farm produce and other materials collected within the village. That was the definition of power then.

After his father’s death, Mandela was taken to Mqhekezweni under the care of Jongintaba. His principles changed and now revolved about education, chieftaincy and the Church. Christianity had been introduced around that time. The Methodist priest was highly regarded among the people. Education had been ignored all along but had started to become important now that those who worked in the British offices had to have education. Mandela became the first among his brothers to get the white man’s education. It later became critical in his liberation struggle.

The history of the Mvezo people and Nelson Mandela’s story is a long one. It is a whole article for another time.

Early to mid-20th century, education became critical among the African people. In Kenya for instance, we saw the massive Mboya-Kennedy airlifts that gave many an opportunity to study abroad on scholarship basis. Once these people came back to the continent, they were very powerful individuals. They run the governments alongside the colonialists. Once the liberation wars bore fruit, most of them took over the running of critical government’s arms. Education became a symbol for power. People studied teaching and ended up being in charge of finances without any further training. You acquired the rest of the knowledge while working on the desk.

With this upsurge of educational power, most people have over the recent past gone ahead to have the highest levels of education. Post-doctoral are very common nowadays not to say PhD’s. The song is just the same to date. Degrees are very common, everyone has at least one, so what next? People to go to school and do a masters and then a PhD so that they can become competitive in the modern world. The quality of the education is however the issue. It doesn’t precisely match the needs of society.

The modern power.

Information is the creative tool.

With education quality standards not meeting the needs of an ever changing society, education as a tool of power is taking a twist of turn. Those who go to school for the sake of getting specialization and competence in one area of study are on the losing end. It is very common to have professional expertise plus a myriad careers objective. The modern person is a professional ICT expert but also a career Chef and possibly a social entrepreneur. This is the modern and current power. The notion of our parents – Go to school and get education for a good job – is becoming obsolete. The world has moved to an age where you follow your passion, your talent and explore it to the farthest it can take you.

By following passion and talents, people are pushing themselves to the extreme as a way of determining their limits. This has made many of the people to become creative and innovative, the results is a powerful people who are everyday working on projects that will change the world. Others are working daily to make historical touches that will be the stories for our children and grandchildren.

The powerful people of tomorrow will be determined by the informational power a person has. This information is the secret of wealth creation. There is a lot of information on our disposal. The digital age brought us a lot of good. Google, Chrome Netflix, Browser and Bing among other search engines give us instant results for any information we want. Social sites like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Telegram, WhatsApp, Instagram with many more others make us interact with people around the world at instant. This allows instant share of information all around the globe. This information has helped people make it big in life. Youtube on the other hand has given many careers a common example being Julius Yego.

Big data on the other hand is another way in which information power is the future. Having instant information backed up with quantitative and qualitative analysis is becoming the central planning tool among big multinationals and governments. Planning is key going forward. Projections in growth potential, market and consumption trends gives the governments and other investors the feel of where the world is headed and hence the investment opportunities. Precision in planning for the future is very central to the modern entrepreneur.

Those who have used information well have turned out to be very successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship as the tool for power for tomorrow’s Africa is revolving around the power of information in our disposal. Just as the trend looks clear, entrepreneurs are tomorrow’s most powerful people who will determine how things will work for us. In their quest to make the world a better place, it means much more changes in the way we view the world today. The book 0 to 1 begins by saying that the next bill gates will not build Windows. The next Steve Jobs will not build Apple. The next Larry Page will not build a search engine. The next fleet of entrepreneurs will definitely do something different. As information is being generated, big data being available to the people; the creative and innovative people are using it to make world changing discoveries.

We should not be left behind.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at
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