In South Africa, recently, during the 16th Nelson Mandela Foundation Annual Lecture, Barack Obama told us, the young people from Africa and all over the world to stand up and be counted. In the dying minutes of his, almost one and half hour long lecture, before going ahead to tell us what Madiba thought about the power of the youth, he reminded us that every generation has the opportunity to remake the world.
“Young people are capable when aroused to bring down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom”—Nelson Mandela
According to Obama, now is the good time to be aroused and honor the legacies of the heroes that came before us like Madiba’s; of equality, dignity, democracy, solidarity and kindness. He believes that now is the time for the young people to be fired up and bring that change that future generations, hundred years from now, can look back and appreciate, and be encouraged to do even more.
We have been watching, we have learnt and now it’s our time fellow youths. It doesn’t matter from which part of the world you come from, we have to keep that fire that was instilled in us by the heroic acts of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and even Luther King, burning. We can’t fail them!
It is our time to change the broken systems of our society, those that don’t work anymore, not just for us the youth, but for everyone. It’s our time to stand up to the political elites who are misleading the majority and let them know we’re fed up with their poor decisions, their insensitivity towards our welfare. They have to know we can no longer stand and watch them as they indulge in corruption that’s basically killing our people and suffocating the values in which we’ve been raised upon.
We are one of the most blessed youths of all generations, putting in consideration all the tools and necessary mechanisms at our disposal, and not forgetting lessons we learnt from heroes of the past and of today like Obama. We have the internet that it alone is enough to start a worldwide revolution in a matter of hours through social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp that have made the world look like nothing but a village where we are constantly in contact with one another.
Now we have the timely, and efficient sharing of information to the populations unlike in the past. And all these, thanks to the invention of the mobile phone and the affordability of the computers across the world today.
Now me and my fellow youths have no excuse in why we cannot change our lives, our surroundings and the world at large. It will be a shame to continue crying foul while we have power in our hands. It will be a big shame for my fellow Africans to continue wallowing in poverty while the Continent has enough resources to elevate every individual, every village, every community and every country!
A young man writing notes
There sure must be something each one of us can do to make the world a better place for us and for generations to come. My little effort and your little effort put together can have unimaginable impact. My voice plus your voice can be too big to be suppressed by any existing regime. There must be something you can do, be it just writing like me or physically mobilizing folks in the streets to say something to the authorities. I got something to say!
In my country alone, we are told how we are in such a big debt that even my unborn children owe the World Bank and the industrious Chinese – always willing to offer soft loans in exchange for mega tenders. My country leaders’ borrowing appetite is one that cannot just be wished away by complaining in the comforts of our homes.
Someone has to stand up and demand some answers! Someone has to stand up and demand for accountability on how the borrowed billions are being spend. And since the Kenyan media has let us down, maybe the youth should swiftly take up that space and demand for some answers through whatever means necessary.
Poor Kenyans are dying in our hospitals due to expensive healthcare system that we have, one that only favors the middle and upper class societies. The other week my sister was admitted – read Lost the baby – and you wouldn’t believe how much we had to part with at the end of the day. The NHIF cover the government keeps pushing down our throats is not working for the poor man. Sorry to say this, but it’s the blunt truth!
A portrait of Nelson Mandela done by an artist
The trench between the rich people, the likes of Aliko Dankote, Chris Kirubi, the likes of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezzos and the rest of us poor people the world over is increasing with each passing day. As some people are going to bed on an empty stomach, some people are purchasing bespoke cars that are too mean to carry more than two people at a time, at ridiculous amounts. As some people are sleeping in palaces, some are sleeping under thatched, leaking roofs, all night counting stars and wishing for day to come faster. It’s not fair!
And these is not only with my beautiful Africa. It’s happening across the globe; from America to Brazil, from Pakistan to Vietnam, from Haiti to the Philippines, and from India to Australia. But it’s not too late, I believe. There’s still hope. Obama said, “Hope carries gatherings around the world”. He asked us the youth to keep believing, keep matching, keep building and to keep raising our voices.
To those like himself, who remain young at heart have an obligation to help the youth succeed. Help us improve on your achievements. Help us build on your successes. Help us give life to your failures. You will go to your graves as victors not failures!
Hope my fellow youths will read this post and hope they will have the wisdom to share it to their colleagues. There’s so much to be done, we need each one of us. And like Obama said, let us be joyful in our struggles.