Years ago, as a wild eyed, idealistic young man, I went against traditional norms and told my father, now deceased, to slow down on procreation; to put it more mildly, I advised my old man to stop having children. He had five of us at this stage.
My strange, out of this world request, neither drew a rebuke nor an endorsement from my father, a genteel soul if there ever was one; he looked at me and smiled. He did not utter a word and went on to eat his dinner.
Before his death in 2003, my old man had married a second wife and fathered six additional kids bringing the total number of children in his household to eleven.
In the larger scheme of things, my father’s responsibility increased tenfold. He had to clothe, feed and house my half - younger siblings. It was an uphill task. But the old man handled his business well despite the ever present struggles.
Come to think of it did my father really have to beget all those kids? I don’t think so. The births were poorly thought out and haphazard for most part. Like other African fathers, my old man paid scant attention to family planning.
Well, let just say, my father inadvertently contributed in his small way to the world population growth, an event that experts say will not only traumatize the world but pose an existential threat.
The world is filling up rapidly with more humans, there is a population explosion and nowhere is this growth more noticeable than in Africa where it is projected that by 2050, there will an additional 1.3 billion people on the continent.
Are our political leaders ready for this phenomenon, the upsurge in their populations? If they are, I am yet to see signs that they are putting in place proper and sustainable measures that will protect society from the inevitable pressures of overpopulation.
Are our leaders investing enough in the creation of jobs, the provision of better education and quality healthcare to counter the effects of overpopulation? Are they encouraging young married couples to consider family planning when they are thinking of starting families?
Africa as is well known, has a lot of challenges. The most pressing is overpopulation. This has hampered growth and development. In a BBC radio interview a fortnight ago, American billionaire and founder of Microsoft, Mr. Bill Gates lamented the fact that African leaders aren't paying enough attention to the problem and warned of the dangers of youth unemployment on the continent. He described it as a security threat to African nations.
The huge youth unemployment numbers we see across the continent and the attendant dangerous migration by our young men and women to Europe are due to overpopulation.
Our governments bear huge responsibility for a problem that could have been well managed and better controlled. Africa is sitting on a time-bomb, and the sooner this problem is tackled with all the seriousness it deserves, the better it will be for the continent.