We at the AFSA Secretariat started the year 2020 with modest optimism. It was the beginning of a new decade, with renewed hope and commitment to advance an African voice on agroecology and food sovereignty.
The year has unleashed its fair share of paradigm-shifting events. The harrowing news of the coronavirus pandemic entirely gripped the soul of humanity and the planet. The pandemic caused unprecedented disruption to human systems and lifestyles. It impacted nearly every aspect of life on earth, killing millions and pushing billions to the brink of hunger, poverty, inequality and multifaceted racial and social justice chaos. A devastating blow to a world that was already grappling with climate, biodiversity, and food system crises.
However, as we wind up the year, we pause and reflect. Every crisis comes with a lesson and an opportunity to change and progress.
We are deeply encouraged by the emerging global awakening to the need for structural reform of the global food system, shifting away from the industrial model towards agroecological approaches that are both human-centric and nature friendly.
We are also inspired by the resilience of local and indigenous communities in Africa to the inadequacies of the global food system and to the public health crisis caused by the pandemic. It is a testament to the significance of biocultural diversity for food and nutrition security and a resilient future.
We have seen humanity at its best as we witnessed the eruption of care, compassion, solidarity, ingenious imagination, agility, and adaptability of human nature in times of the most devastating hardship caused by the pandemic. We are thankful for the act of love and kindness that elevated our spirit to aim high and remain optimistic despite all the odds.
We are sincerely thankful to you all, members, friends and concerned souls, for walking with us, for the constant encouragement, morale boost, insights and outlook.
Lastly, we wanted to bid farewell for the year 2020 by reciting the beautiful and uplifting poem of the great Ben Okri, from Mental fight, 1999.
We are Greater than our Despair
We are greater than our despair
The negative aspects of humanity
Are not the most real and authentic;
The most authentic thing about us
Is our capacity to create, to overcome
To endure, to transform, to love
And to be greater than our suffering.
We are best defined by our mystery
That we are still here, and can still rise
Upwards, still create better civilizations
That we can face our raw realities
And that we will survive
The greater despair
That the greater future might bring.
Ben Okri, from Mental fight, 1999.
With warm wishes and gratitude,
Million Belay, General Coordinator