Danny Glover Speaks…On Africa

Posted: October 26, 2009 in Feature story, True talk
Danny Glover, in Lagos, earlier this year (PHOTO by Queen Martins)

Danny Glover, in Lagos, earlier this year (PHOTO by Queen Martins)

Michaela Moye

Danny Glover is passionate about Africa and her people. One only has to prompt a discussion about the continent and the veteran actor-activist will not hesitate to launch into a discourse on his enthusiasms and optimism for Africa.

Born to parents who were active members of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), Glover has won the association’s Image Award five times.

His impressive resume includes serving as the current board chairman for TransAfrica Forum, a non-profit organization that focuses on conditions in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

He has been an ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 1998.

In 1994 Glover took an 8-day tour of South Africa alongside fellow actors, Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett and Delroy Lindo, urging blacks to vote in that country’s first fully democratic national elections.

In an exclusive interview with NEXT, at Ikeja, Lagos, the actor spoke about his passion for the continent:

On his passion

“The first time I came [to Nigeria] I was 25. Since then, a lot of things have happened for me. There’s a degree of optimism [and] pragmatism that comes with wisdom and age. There’s also a diminishing of the romanticism we often have about the continent. The real issues need to addressed [and] talked about.

I was in Ethiopia in 2005 at a conference sponsored by the African Union, UNICEF and the Bob & Rita Marley Foundation – a symposium that brought young people together from all over Africa to talk about how they see the continent, what the future of the continent is and the roles they need to play in the future of the continent.

On Africa’s youth

“I’m always enamored with the fact that when we talk about this extraordinary continent of 54 nations, that it’s young people who’ve always led the march for change. It was young men and women who led the march for decolonization. It’s these people who have stood for the idea that they are the architects of their own future. In that sense, I’m always enamored with the renewal of ideas, passion … commitment. Young people realize that it’s their time to really provide us with another way of looking at the world.

The issues are monumental. If you go to most countries, including in Africa, majority of their population are young below the age of 20 years old. [We] have that reality hitting us right in the face on a planet with diminishing resources. How do we begin to conserve our energy, our resources? How do we begin to protect this fragile planet, Mother Earth?

All of these things are on the table of, not only those of us that are mature, but at the forefront, apex, of young people’s ideas as well.

On service and unity

“How do we talk about service? How do we talk about a new kind of love? Dr. [Martin Luther] King always referred to the idea of agape love. How do we transform our societies into life-affirming nations and communities of love where we are able to sit at table, break bread and carry on the discourse about peace?

Peace, as King would say, is not simply the absence of conflict but the presence of justice.

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