What's the Fuss about The Big Society?

I was watching Question Time last Thursday when I got the idea for this post.

One of the issues being debated was David Cameron's "Big Society" flagship policy idea which was implemented in July last year. The idea being that people in communities will come together and "volunteer" their time and services in a drive towards empowering "communities" for the betterment of society as a whole.

Well, whilst this "idea" might be one that is alien or a novel idea in the Western World in Africa we have always been our brother's keeper, anyone that has watched an episode of Oprah would have heard her use this well adopted phrase that "It takes a village to raise a child" the idea originates from Africa, the premise being that we are always looking out for the welfare of others, if an elder sees you going wrong they can admonish you regardless of whether they are related to you or not!, if something wrong happens people will intervene, if you're a victim of mugging, verbal or physical abuse, someone will Definitely come to your assistance, they will not "turn a blind eye" like here in the West, where we are encouraged not to get involved in situations that do not concern us! for fear of being attacked or otherwise.

The point I am making is that it is part African culture to be an integral part of your community! Authors such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Wale Soyinka and Ben Okri have all written extensively about African Communal spirit and it's impact on our society. Our revered Nollywood actor Pete Edochie delivered his most enduring performance as Okonkwo in the film "Things Fall Apart" which is as interesting today as it was when it was released! If you haven't watched it I would definitely recommend it.

There is a thread that runs through the fabric of our society in terms of culture which has been handed down through generations, told to us by our elders through stories, behaviour and mannerisms, it is the thing that makes us distinctive i.e, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, my culture is my heritage and I have an obligation to make the society where I come from a better one in whatever way I can.

If you what me to break this down to the simplest equation I will say that the Big Society = Communal living i.e. Being your brother's keeper! Do what you can to make your society a better one, as your spirit moves you!

It's not about mobilising a volunteer army as Cameron suggests!"

That's just my opinion!


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