5 Things Every Young Thought Leader in Africa Should Know
By Raymond Erick Zvavanyange
This is a thought on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship happening across the continent of Africa. In rare displays of non-bias in journalism, communication, and international engagements, we are witnessing the sharing of positive stories about the peoples of Africa. Take for example, how technology is shaping thought leadership in Africa. Young leaders in Africa are taking a lead in such making this thought and many others stories of hope, triumph, and victory over calamities traditionally associated with Africa.
The Ebola Virus Disease threatened to disrupt the entire health care systems of three Western African countries and its surrounding neighbors but it couldn’t. Governance and electoral processes are a thorn in the flesh for young political aspirants leaving many to go to extreme lengths to display toughness and ruthlessness. Also, every year floods in some Southern African countries leave thousands of people without homes and in need of humanitarian support, and recently, the conflict, violence, and terror attacks in Eastern Africa leave us wandering whether the future of the continent is anything to look forward to.
However, energetic and thoughtful young Africans are uniting and rising to the challenge. Their default task is straight-forward: for each negative remark and story about the continent, hundreds of positive stories are released into the public domain. Africa is resilient. Africa is determined. Africa is a powerful brand. And Africa is home to entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, and thought leaders.
Here’s what every young thought leader in Africa should know:
- Thoughts Tinkle Thoughts
Africa is endowed with great thoughts from its sons and daughters. Revolutionary and powerful movements sparked in the continent end up providing useful insights to other world regions. The result is a network of like-minded leaders and followers who are united by their quest to a desired solution and future. Thoughts originating from the continent are doing an amazing job, they are tinkling other thoughts. The flipside to this thought is that: ideas stimulate ideas.
- “The Thinker is always Greater Than his Thought”
The Reverend John. M. Gregory said the above words in 1882 at an address delivered at the Annual Commencement of the University of Michigan on The Sciences and Arts of the Nineteenth Century. He went on further to state that “the grand reflex of every discovery is the greatness of the soul capable of making such discoveries”. This is particularly true of the human resources in Africa. People should also use for the societal good the different types of knowledge found in Africa. That is one of Africa’s pillars in economic, social, political, moral, and ecological development. Even after the successful commercialisation of thoughts in the marketplace, the origin of the thought remains available for more thoughts. In our current generation of instant communication, we may be tempted to brush aside the thinker of a thought or idea that excites us. Whenever possible and feasible, we should strive to interact and understand the thinker such. A classic example here is the double-Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling.
- Thoughts Should be as Transparent as Possible
The thought pattern is often a puzzle to scholars and practitioners. Even as thought leaders, the choice of words shared with others should promote the values, ethics, and culture of the African peoples. The world we live in is a global village and other regions of the world benefit greatly from Africa’s contribution to civilisation. Thoughts should do as much as possible what they should do: lead.
- You Are Not Alone as a Thought Leader
As a thought leader in Africa, always remember to look on to either of your side and see the next thought leader as you. You are not alone as a leader. There are as many other thought leaders as you reaching out and making a difference. For example, among the many questions tossed around in Africa’s development spaces are these ones: Are Africans innovative? Can we learn anything at all from Africans? Is it possible to have successful governance systems in Africa? In the search for answers for such questions, it is equally important for thought leaders to straighten each other’s thoughts for the common good.
- Thoughts do not encompass everything that’s and there’s to know
Finally, as much as one may be excited to be a thought leader, thoughts do not encompass everything there’s to know. As Ludwig Wittgenstein sought to uncover on the structure and limits of thought through a study of the structure and limits of language, “language has limits imposed by its internal structure”. We may also extend this line of thought — A thought has a limit imposed by its internal structure. Thoughts do not encompass everything that’s and there’s to know.