Raymond Erick Zvavanyange: #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 Raymond Erick Zvavanyange, a young African from Zimbabwe who among many things is the country representative for YPARD.
Here is Raymond’s opinion on how young Africans can engage effectively on Civic matters:
“Let not the natives of Africa be sacrificed to the greed of gold, their liberties taken away, their family life debauched, their just aspirations repressed, and avenues of advancement and culture taken from the” –W.E.B. Du Bois, July 25, 1900, To The Nations of The World
With this statement taken from his speech delivered at the Pan-African Conference at Westminster Hall, London on July 25, 1900, W.E.B. Du Bois espoused the fundamentals that are forever tied to the struggles and achievements of indigenous people in Africa – integrity, freedom and independence, hope, and imagination. Africa’s liberties, social systems, culture, and progress have illuminated the world’s trajectory in development for centuries. Even in view of the powerful statement by Karl Max and Friedrich Engels that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles”, Africa’s Unhu-Ubuntu-Botho, stands in tall stature. Human relationship is one of Africa’s greatest contributions to world civilisation. It allows us as a people to embrace our diversity and differences. It can lead the world on the path to sustainable human development.
Many sons and daughters, scholars, and political leaders of Africa have fearlessly articulate Africa’s conscience. Young people in Africa today ought to cherish this treasure and heritage. Change is hard to come by, yet it is the basis of Africa’s advancement. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 is in full swing thus young Africans should take this vision to heart. Young people can contribute in their own way. No contribution is too small or too big. For example, young people can engage their local political leadership, they can lead in the fight against social ills, and they can collaborate with innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs in translating talent into products and services. This will not only help to solve the challenges Africa face, it will also reinforce the idea that we are a part of one big human family.
In summary, young people should cherish the history of Africa. This should allow them to articulate Africa’s conscience whenever duty and honor calls. We should honor its long gone men and women of courage, valor, and integrity. The late Steve Biko said during an address in 1971, “The great powers of the world may have done wonders in giving the world an industrial and military look, but the great gifts still to come from Africa – giving the world a more human face”. Young people must rediscover the human face of Africa.
You can connect with Raymond on twitter via @zvavanyanger3 or follow the conversation via the hashtag #YouthDay or #YouthPower