Africa and Perseverance: 21-year-old Ethiopian takes exam 30 minutes after giving birth

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Failures are a success – if we could learn from failures and transcend them into a guiding step towards success. You can, therefore, confidently, say that perseverance is the mother of success.

What does this say about the many problems facing Africa today? A lot. However, before we discuss this further, let us look at an interesting story from Ethiopia, which is making a headline around the world. Yesterday, a 21-year-old Ethiopian woman sat for her secondary school leaving certificate exams, just 30 minutes after giving birth to a baby.

Almaz Derese had hoped to take the exams before her baby was delivered but unfortunately, the exams were postponed by the authorities due to the Ramadan Muslim holy month. Unexpectedly, Almaz went into labour on Monday shortly before the first paper was to commence.

But neither the obstacle of labour nor motherhood challenges could extinguish the burning desire and determination of Almaz who is from Metu in the western region of Ethiopia, to achieve her goal. She did not give up. Her husband Tadese Tulu had to persuade the school to allow her to take the exams in her hospital bed.

Permission granted, Almaz Derese took her English, Amharic and maths exams in the Karl Metu hospital, just 30 minutes after delivery. That is not all. The proud mother is determined to sit for the rest of the remaining exams over the next two days. She hopes to graduate next year.

Asked how she could manage to take the exam, 30 minutes after giving birth, despite the obvious challenges, Almaz Derese insisted it was not a big problem to combine both studying for her exams and giving birth. It is a matter of setting a goal and perseverance. She did not hope in miracles to achieve her goals. She worked hard for them.

Back to the African challenges. What lessons can the Almaz Derese story teach us, as Africa is being overwhelmed by numerous challenges? A lot. Thank goodness, most challenges facing Africa today are not foreign. Africans know their problems and challenges. They effectively live with them. That said, the question is, Which steps are Africans taking to solve these problems? Your guess is as good as mine.

Sadly, Africa is synonymous with postponing problems or believing in using signs, wonders and miracles, to solve their problems – a lazy man’s approach to life. The religious charlatans indeed feed fat on the gullible. That explains the explosive numbers of religion-business across Africa. If Africans could spend half of the time they waste in prayer houses, looking and waiting for miracles, in solving their problems, Africa would have been a Dubai-like success story. If Africans would devote half of the time they spend praising and sheepishly worshipping corrupt fastidious leaders, rather than persistently demanding for their rights and accountabilities from these leaders, the era of sycophancy would have been turned into the golden period of dedication, accountability and results.

How much will other Africans learn from the dedication and perseverance of Almaz Derese if they really want to achieve their dreams and change their lives?