Photo Credit: Achumile Majija

Achumile Majija: #YouthDay Message on How Young Africans Can Contribute to Civic Engagement

Africa’s youth population boom means that they cannot be left behind in civic engagement because whatever decisions made matters on their future, hence the need for African youths to actively participate in civic engagement.

We spoke with young people from around the continent about the world they want, especially how young people can contribute to Africa’s development.

In this mini-series which will begin and end today as part of the International Youth Day (IYD), I will be sharing the opinion of young leaders across the African continent on the theme of this year’s International Youth Day: “Youth Civic Engagement.”

The third episode of this IYD series  is from Achumile Majija, a South African youth leader and global shaper who has been an inspiration to many youths in his country and beyond.

Here is Achumile’s  message to fellow African youths on how they can contribute to civic engagement:

 

This topic (“How can young people contribute to Africa’s development?” is close to my heart. It is no secret that leadership in Africa seems to be reserved for individuals of a certain age especially when it comes to issues of democracy, politics or economics. I am always concerned that young people are not fully represented nor taking part in deciding how we move Africa forward.

There are various factors at play:

  • There is lack of interest amongst young people, civic issues are seen to be a responsibility for someone else. Someone has to worry about it, but not us as young people. That seems to be the mentality for some people, but not all young people.
  • A number of young people are concerned on how things have developed in the continent. Some are playing a role in their small corners, some are looking for ways to contribute meaningfully, but the opportunity or avenues seems to be limited.
  • There is also a lack of awareness on what role young people can play and in what sectors. Those that are in seem not to open up for others to play their part.
  • Those in power are either not interested nor willing to embrace the role of young people, let alone understand that we all have a part to play in making Africa OURS.

Young people have a vital role to play without a doubt. But we cannot wait to be invited. We need to create the space and time to think beyond oneself, to live for a purpose greater than ourselves. We are the custodians of the future, we need to shape and decide how things will work out going forward. In doing so, let us not be naïve and think that we have all the solutions. Let us work with those that have gone before us, learn from them and help shape the future.

We need to think beyond being employed and be at the forefront of job creation. We need to pay an active role in politics. Not only in terms of positions, but to challenge those that are in power, to help with policy development and implementation. We need to be advocates of change and empower those around us.  There is a greater need to think beyond your local surroundings, to look at collaborating with others , but also look at Africa wide solutions. Reach out to other nations, learn from each other and multiply. Let us be innovative. Come up with new way of doing things. If we can get few of these things right, the Africa has a greater chance to prosper.

 

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde