Monday, February 4, 2008

A challenge to African Youth-YES WE CAN!

As we, in America, are on the verge of a historical moment in the life of this nation I am sitting down at my desk and thinking about Africa. For the first time in American history we have two viable candidates for presidency, on the democratic side, who are poised to go down in history as trail blazers, regardless of the primary election results on tuesday. Barack Obama, the first viable African American candidate, and Hillary Clinton, the first female candidate, go head to head to fight for their party's nomination.

On the other side of the world Kenya has just broken into a semi-civil war because of discrepancies in its recent general elections. At the center of this fight are two old men who are sabotaging the future of young generations because of their selfish ambitions to be president by whatever means possible. This is another HUGE indication that African politics need a major overhaul in terms of Leadership. I would venture to say we need young people in the spirit of an Obama who will call for a new kind of politics for new challenges led by a youthful generation.
The problems we face as a continet will not be solved until young people rise to the occasion and politely ask our fathers and grandfathers to take a seat and retire their colonial politics and mentality. We need a young generation of leaders that knows how to operate in a global economy and is sensitive to social justice issues that the majority of the continent is facing.
It is honestly beyond me how such a rich continent is still wallowing in the trenches of poverty. Our leadership has to change. Our politics have to change and WE have to change.

We have to change our thinking, because we have been educated to perpetuate a post-colonial type of politics and leadership which focuses on taking advantage of villagers who are satisfied with a bag of maize or a piece of clothing every five years at election time; politics that ridicule our dreams and dismisses them as mere fantasies and advocates for us to shut down our dream factory because nothing will become of them; politics that seek to make the wealthy wealthier at the expense of the poor. Such kind of politics and leadership are not welcome in our time. We have to be proactive in educating our rural masses and curing them of the fear of political machines that come to intimidate and not educate- political machines that are nay sayers and dream stiflers, and leaders that are so backward they have no idea that the rest of the world is actually 20 years ahead of them.
We as young people need to believe that our ideas are for NOW and that they are brilliant enough to create a powerful Africa, and that the past will not completely understand the ways of a future-focused political and economic agenda. We can, and in fact, we MUST come out from the shadows and refuse to be silenced by the voices of conventional thinking. Our time is now, but it requires us to act and liberate Africa from her self-defeating attitudes and practices.

Okay, I said it and its off my chest; BUT is there a young generation out there willing to take on the challenge of political leadership? If so, soldier on, get in that ring and voice your opinions and ideas; and in the words of Obama I say, "YES WE CAN."

To your success,

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