I AM as happy as a pig in mud because I see Africa uniting and rising in our lifetime. South Africans are getting married to Zimbabweans and the Nigerian accent is the new cool as Nollywood grows.
Judging by the number of friends and relatives I have whose parents came from Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana or Namibia, these countries may well be provinces of the Republic of South Africa.
Let's face it: if Zimbabweans were to leave South Africa today, the restaurant business in Johannesburg would collapse.
Before you accuse me of xenophobia and stereotyping, let me give you a basic lesson on the movement of peoples. Immigrants follow their compatriots in their new country, which is why, for a long time, Greeks owned the grocery stores and the Portuguese owned fruit shops.
Similarly, during the gold rush, many Zulus who came to Egoli became security guards or omantshingilane. Xhosas were generally better educated and so became lawyers like Nelson Mandela.
That is because the missionaries did a pretty good job with education in the Eastern Cape right up to the Thukela River in KwaZulu-Natal. They established institutions such as Adams College, Marianhill and Loveday and Fort Hare University.
French missionaries also did a good job in a country they called "The Sotho", or Lesotho. They taught the Basotho the alphabet, which is why our brothers from the mountain kingdom pronounce their "r" like Parisians.
Their palates have become well adjusted to French cuisine, at least as far as eating horse meat is concerned. In the mines the Basotho were generally called Ntate Masiza, meaning "Mr Help", because they were better educated and so they assisted the illiterate miners with their paperwork.
Lesotho helped to educate many South Africans who were exiled during apartheid. Many leaders went to Roma University.
This is where our educators should have turned for help when developing a basic education system, instead of going all the way to Australia to copy outcomes-based education.
So it is time to officially open our porous borders because they serve nothing but to criminalise your gardener, domestic worker or parking assistant.
Indeed, Africa is on the runway to success but the leaders in the control towers are sleeping and so they can't embrace the "trinity of economic success", which is the free movement of people, their goods and money.
Travelling between Zimbabwe and South Africa should be made to be as easy as travelling between Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
We can copy from the US, which is effectively a union of 50 different states with the same currency. The Europeans have copied this with the European Union, except they messed it up with unprecedented red tape.
Africa can do better than the West. Anyone who doesn't believe that is not an African, because the last letters in African read "I can".
Our road to economic success starts and ends with education, which must be made free and compulsory. Parents who fail to send their children to school or use them to beg on the streets must be charged with child abuse, because education is the only way to free a people from the cycle of poverty. To paraphrase Aristotle: "Education is a mere decoration during prosperity, but during adversity it is a refuge."
• Kuzwayo is the author of Black Man's Medicine
* This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times
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