Africa was once great: What the cradle of human civilization can learn from the king of golf Updated for 2021


Updated: March 1, 2021

To most people in the world today, Africa is a land in turmoil plagued by persistent poverty, gargantuan inequality, skyrocketing inflation, mounting debts, political instability and overwhelming problems like famine and disease.

The return of Tiger Woods from drought to glory is an inspiration to Africa

Although most of the problems mentioned above were caused by hundreds of years of slavery followed by colonialism and neo-colonialism by Europeans, for many people in the world today, Africa has always been poor, underdeveloped, uncivilized and will continue to remain poor and dependent on humanitarian assistance from the West.

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For instance, last week at the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings 2019, the new World Bank President David Malpass projected that by the year 2030, at least 9 out 10 extremely poor people in the world will be Africans.

That projection and many other reports tend to say that Africa is condemned to disasters and extreme poverty.

But Africa was once great, so great that today’s civilization, especially technology and mathematics have their roots in Africa.

Although the Europeans have succeeded in telling the world that the great thinkers on our planet were all Europeans from Aristotle, Socrates to Plato, there seems to be enough evidence that most of them got their knowledge and inspiration from Egypt where men and women in dark skins lived and inspired the world.

According to Dr. Leaky, the European paleontologist who discovered Lucy, the oldest set of human bones ever found on this planet, Africa is the birthplace of the human family.

To Mendel, the European scientist who proved that dark genes are dominant and light genes are recessive, Africans are the original people, and the parents of all human beings.

A few of the glorious ancient African civilizations that flourished in Africa were said to be Ghana, Mali and Songhai. They had gold in abundance and rich traditions and cultures that inspired the world.

Their rich traditions included communal land holdings by lineages or clans. They were strong and commanded the loyalty of their peoples.

However, that past glorious appears so distant that many now believe it never even existed.

According to many sceptics, Africa was never, is not and would never be great.

However, the comeback of Golf legend, Tiger Woods on Sunday who ended his 11-year major title drought by winning Augusta Masters, his fifth green jacket and 15th major title, is an inspiration Africa can hold onto and learn from.

Woods, according to AFP, fired a final-round two-under par 70 to finish on 13-under 275 for a one-shot victory to capture a $2.07 million (1.82 million euros) top prize and the green jacket symbolizing Masters supremacy.

The 43 year-old American is now three titles away from Jack Nicklaus, who holds a record 18 major titles.

Woods victory, his fifth masters and the first since 2005, marked an epic return from injuries that once threatened his career.

He underwent spinal fusion in 2017 fearing chronic back pain would deny him life’s simple joys much less golf wins, AFP said.

Tiger Woods, an African American, may not know it, but he has inspired hundreds of millions of Africans who seem to have given up on a possible return to greatness.

The lesson is clear: Persistence, hardwork, hope and discipline can bring back past glory.


Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on


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