Thank you for deciding to read this article Dear African Child, but allow me to begin with an apology. I am deeply sorry that I decided to write in a foreign language, its just that you and your African siblings speak roughly 2000 languages, I wouldn’t even know which one to select. I hope that I am forgiven in this regard. As you read this African Child, please understand that I am not coming from any position of infinite knowledge but merely sharing experiences and observations. As an African Child myself, I am also in process of redefining myself to ensure that I can evolve and contribute more towards Africa’s success story.
The truth of the matter is, the days for doing certain things are over. In the new world we live in African Child, we need to take more responsibility towards shaping our destinies and in turn shaping Africa’s. The hope and future of an entire continent literally rests on those shoulders you possess. You might think that I am trying to flatter you but believe me African Child, I am simply calling it like it is. The days of certain mindsets and behaviours are over. To succeed in this new world, the way we think and behave has to evolve. For far too long, we have felt unsupported and inadequate as African Children. For far too long, we have complained about the way our lives are governed but we shy away from seeking ways to participate in governance. For far too long, we have had the ability to chat the night away with our friends but remain silent in the presence of decision makers. Those days are over. For you to proceed with your next step, you have to believe that those days are indeed over. You have to begin to take on the responsibility that you have to make the Africa that you want to live in.
Our continent is rich, Dear African Child. In this case, I am not referring to material resources that amount to money, I am talking about the other African Children that you are connected to. In a majority of African states, young people just like you and I make up a significant proportion of the population. This is your greatest resource as an African Child. To drive this continent to the next level, we need to work together. We need to respect each other. We need to trust each other. We need to support each other. Unfortunately African Child, there is no other way it can be done. If you take a peek at other parts of the world, you begin to realise that we are the only ones that are not working together, hence it is not suprising that we are also the ones struggling the most. The concept of Individualism will lead us nowhere. That concept will merely give rise to a small percentage of successful African Children whilst the continent as a whole continues to suffer. In our quest to advance, the concept that should be flowing through our veins is Pan-Africanism. Now, please don’t be alarmed by the size of the word African Child, it merely echoes an African Proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, we go together”.
This concept of Pan-Africanism is more than a buzz word that is thrown around at high level meetings. This word represents the way we should be thinking and acting if we want progress in Africa’s social, political and economic spheres. I sincerely hope that these terms did not intimidate you because our efforts as African Children should always seek to feed into the continent’s growth in these spheres. The task may seem daunting at the moment, but believe me, once your mind is unlocked the possibilities are literally endless. The good news is that our task has also been made considerably easier when you consider the platforms that we have at our disposal. Unlike past generations, the African Youth of today is offered a multitude of platforms to engage with movers, shakers and decision makers. Our brothers and sisters of the past couldn’t even look their parents in the eye but African Children of today get the opportunity to speak whilst Heads of State listen.
This is our comparative advantage African Child, let us put more energy into it. Youth engagement and participation are actually taken seriously today. We can sit and discuss about how seriously they are taken but that is the mentality I believe we should shy away from. We need to start acting on the dreams that we have for Africa without waiting for others to kickstart the processes for us. As we speak, organisations like the African Union and the IPPF do extensive work around youth participation. Make an effort to find out more about these programmes and when given the chance to contribute, please remember that we are all counting on you. As some African Children represent us at those levels, the rest of us have to devise innovative approaches to keep the discussions going; youth clubs, social media forums, concerts, or sports tournaments.
All in all African Child, I am not asking you to lose your identity and try to impersonate the elders. You are fun, vibrant, beautiful, handsome, witty, sociable and charming. Keep that going because that is what makes you the African Child that you are. What I am asking from you, is to open up your mind and realise that you are capable of doing much more than you realise.
As an African Child, my quest for knowledge is insatiable, so please feel free to write back (firstname.lastname@example.org) and share your views and experiences.
Yours in the success of Africa,