By: Annabel Oyando
Somaliland sun – Is there a word for retirement in African languages? Retirement in Africa has never meant not working. Traditionally in these communities, different age groups played varied roles and that was their work. The most mature in society eventually took up the role of advisers, mentors and judges in the community. The New African has also not taken up retirement as an option. I hardly know anyone who truly retired. Those I heard of when I was a child died shortly after retirement. It is believed out of depression and loss of status.
I have not had the opportunity to observe Africans laze out their retirement years. Most have just gone back to work as consultants in a profession close to that which they had while at work or gone into farming business with different levels of success. What has been your experience?
Considering the experiences of baby boomers and the generation before in the rest of the world, with pension plans and other retirement programmes not serving their needs and likely to leave them poorer than they were while working, it seems Africa has had a head start to what the new world of retirement entails….. I believe in some perspectives African culture has prepared its people for the new world much better than other cultures where retirement meant traveling the world, and stopping any meaningful work.
Some see this as an opportunity to expand themselves, their careers and businesses beyond borders. Many are in business consultancy, IT, going into multi -level marketing, opening up shops, travel business and just doing stuff they could not do when they were younger. What they are not doing is taking it slow …. just doing life and work differently.
While this is great there is the strain of ill mannered people who refuse to leave their jobs when they are due to retire. They do not mentor anyone to take their place and so there is no continuity in public service. It is crucial that people retire into other areas of life as this enables them to challenge themselves intellectually, accomplish more and provide opportunities for others through job creation.
No one is meant to retire and laze around. You should retire to pursue areas of life you could not before. and add value using your talents and abilities. This way you leave the world so much better than how you found it in your own small way. There are some things just you can do because of your talents however old you are.
The author Annabel Onyando and I am a business coach and blogger. I would like to contribute articles to your paper on business and entrepreneurship. You can see some of my work on my blog http://synergy4africa.wordpress.com . Most of the articles are based on my book series African Entrepreneurs’ Guide