Edwin Mbewe continues his regular blog with his thoughts on Utopia – and asks you to share yours with him. (Photo credit Mohit on Unsplash)

Angry, frustrated, weary, tired, mad, anxious, sleeping in bed all day, driving on super speed past the traffic lights – the world isn’t always an easy place to navigate. At some point in our lives, we strive for an ideal perfect world where no hunger, no war, no bad news, no expenses, no mortgage, no rentals, no worrying about health costs and no suffering exists.

So, it turns out that we are all looking for something; we are searching for the perfect place, where all these awesome experiences can be knitted together as one world: a beautiful place.

It’s February, the “month of hunger” in Zambia, where food becomes expensive to both low and middle income families. Especially mealie-meal which reaches its highest price in February. It is the period right before harvest, until food supply becomes plentiful again.

My point is, why isn’t the supply of needs to all societies on a continuum? Why can’t there be constant provision of what we need: peace, food, clothes, health, safety, financial security, freedom, cornflakes (I love cornflakes!)? I’ve heard of companies that began well yet failed to survive; I’ve seen families (including mine) earn money at one point but fallen onto such hard times another; I’ve heard of countries rising and falling; I’ve seen presidents win people’s trust and lose it all in the next polling.  As Ebola calmed, the coronavirus broke out; as Zambia’s reduction in Covid cases impressed the headlines, Somalia is in trouble! As Biden’s administration rattles for a good tenure, members of parliament are getting fired in Zambia and worldwide! Some coastal African nations like Mozambique just escaped life-threatening Cyclones, while Ethiopia is battling against an exponential plague of locusts.

What makes you wake up every morning, going for that class, that job, that work? Do you just ignore all your “wants” to go and attend to a role in your place of service, school or corporate? Or do you have a vision? If you’re an engineer, isn’t your ultimate wish to see the world built with the best durable materials so that the world can be orderly and safe from natural disasters? Maybe you’re into health, so you don’t want anybody to fall prey to the beast of disease and illness; you want humanity to always be healthy. You own an organisation or company? There’s something within you, that evoked your energy and caused you to go forward and implement that idea, and establish your service? You’re a soldier or fighter for peace? You don’t want any gangs to be threatening your neighbourhood, because you love to see everybody safe and smiling. Or you’re a singer, you want to inspire people to keep doing the good they’re doing or stop the bad. I haven’t forgotten the teachers and professors, at any level of school you’re teaching/leading those students, you want them to embrace professionalism as the way to correct, advise, educate, debate brilliantly, and explore ideas, in the next generation. If you’re a student like me, I know we want to change or support something in our countries. And I’m proud of us all.

So, it turns out that we are all looking for something; we are searching for the perfect place, where all these awesome experiences can be knitted together as one world: a beautiful place, with beautiful houses, no disease, no rape, no corruption, no economic worries, no imperfections. We are all looking for a better life. A prostitute goes out every night to sell her body for money, because she wants a better life. Those boys roaming around the streets, looking for an opportunity to steal, are simply looking for a better life. Women are advocating for equality, because they’re looking for a better life. Religious men are searching for the same: an elevated satisfaction of the soul. The elderly are resting from mental activities of academia and work, because they are almost crossing the end line of their searching race. I myself, I’m writing this to you because I would love all of us to consider that better life.

But where is that perfect world? Are we going to get there any time soon? Is it on Mars? Or under the deepest oceans? Or in school, church, marriages or relationships, careers, or in gaining the top position in government? There is just that life you’re aiming for, where you can be respected and solving problems while also having fun!

I think it is worth alluding to the fact that humans are always striving for more and how will we know if we have arrived – and even what effect would that have? Would we all become lazy rich kids and the world deteriorates again? Are the SDGs going to get us there? Where and when will we enter our utopia? Is climbing the ladder of economic power the reason Utopia remains elusive? What do you think?

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