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Young Africans must be listened to if the continent is to develop

Young Africans must be listened to if the continent is to develop.


he way MOST African leaders still lead right now, absolutely astonishes me. The levels of greed and corruption which they and their ‘trusted inner circle’ show, is to say the least, disgraceful! It is clear that their every paradigm and worldly thought is driven purely by a wholly self-absorbed consciousness. The ignorance and lack of concern for young dynamic leadership raises a lot of concern. Young leaders are innovative and have a developmental mindset that is necessary on the global scale. It is critical that Africa must listen to its young people.

One of the most glaring faults of African leadership today continues to be the sustained denial and neglect of the potential and innovative contributions of the youth, which is automatically considered western or imperialistic. This is common in many Africans due to lack of systematic planning that integrates African youth and equips them with skills, knowledge and resources to foster their development as future leaders. It is therefore crucial for African youth to convince governments of their importance by playing their role as productive citizens. Key to achieving this is working towards gaining recognition in the important channels of decision making through organizing and proactive involvement.

Much seriousness is needed as far as young vibrant rising African leaders are concerned, to end incompetence and always blaming colonialism for lack of development. It is our duty to define that which we are willing to offer for our desolate continent. It is hard in Africa as a young leader to try to make changes because you are considered “born free” sometimes “sell-out” and hence every idea you bring is unnecessarily labeled as imperialistic or western. I strongly believe this is holding us back, like it or not but this is a fact. This whole issue of leaders having liberation credentials is failing us. I don’t believe these people with liberation credentials are leading us anywhere; we are actually going around in circles.

Empowering young people in Africa is the solution to its prolonged problems. Young leaders are Africa‘s most precious ruby, far more precious than the noise we always make about gold and other mineral resources which are benefitting only few elites. Victory against this oppression, repression and suppression is nigh. What is sad in Africa is that we have more police than policies and more roadblocks than the vehicles themselves where police corruption is rampant. There is a need to doubt our doubts, rise above the odds and work together as young leaders with a collective and responsible mindset. Our life is defined by the excuses we rebelled against, shredded and dumped with the same token. Our life will be defined by how much effort we are willing to put in fighting the political struggle in Africa. Problems are the easy crutch for us to lean on so that we can limp safely to the sidelines of life hence there is a need to wake up as young leaders and use our vibe to change the course which is not easy but “if you want a place in the sun expect blisters”. The more the young Africans see such leaders fleecing their countries for their own personal gain, the more they believe this is the only way to achieve wealth and prosperity. In the words of J. M. Barrie, “Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”

Tatenda Mashanda
President of the WK Leadership Development Forum
WK 2012-2013


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