By Samuel Duru*
I would like to start by congratulating the African Union on the commemoration of its 50years of existence. As a young person, I would like to give kudos to the AU on its commendable efforts towards youth development, like the formulation of the African Youth Charter. However, as viable as the African Youth Charter may be, it will be useless without serious implementation on a continental scale. As we celebrate, we must remember to take a walk down memory lane to recapitulate the true ideals of our Pan-Africanism and reiterate the vision of the founding fathers of the African Union, as we know it today.
Our libration and independence dates back to the ‘50s, since when we have witnessed different scales of liberation struggles which resulted to the uncertain freedom we enjoy today. Looking back, the first half century of our independence has been plagued with corruption, economic mismanagement, extreme poverty, conflict, hunger and disease. However, Africa’s history is not just one of despair, but also one of achievement, success, freedom and ingenuity. And this is what we must let the rest of the world know, by highlighting Africa’s stories of freedom, achievements, success, ingenuity and hope. Africa is far too often thought of or portrayed in a negative light (this or that suffering, conflict or famine) and far too little are those stories told that make Africa everything that it is told in the mainstream media.
Africans should stand united and make the rest of the world realize that Africa is old enough to conduct its own socio-economic and political affairs. Only a united front built in a united Africa can help us zap our myriad challenges and put an end to neo colonialism. At 50, the African Union should be capable of uniting Africans to action towards solving Africa’s problems in the African way. Then, and only then will Africa be respected and taken seriously among the comity of nations. We have the resources more than any other continent in the world. All we need is to properly channel them for the greater good of our people and the world at large. Pan-Africanism, has become the constant buzzword and refrain of the African Union, but the African majority do not understand what Pan-Africanism truly means, neither do they put its ideals in practice. As the apex Pan-African organisation the AU should not only sing the chorus of Pan-Africanism, but strive to educate the younger generation on this important ideology that binds us. We must get rid of stereotypes and national demarcations; these are antithetical to Pan-Africanism.
I strongly recommend that the AU should among other things encourage youth entrepreneurship and youth participation in civics, political process, leadership and in the decision-making processes that affect their future on the Africa continent. This way, Africa will harness the potentials of its youth bulge. We’ve seen a plethora of African youth innovation. How can we harness this for Africa’s benefit? Africa’s prodigies and best brains continue to look towards the West. It’s high time our continent became an incubator of African innovations and a sanctuary of hope for all that live in it.
*Samuel Duru is from Nigeria. He’s a social justice activist, eco-enterprise developer, poet, writer and creative thinker; currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.He sees his role in the way the society is managed and developed as a sine qua non. Samuel is a strong believer in the fact that youth are powerful driving force for positive social change, hence, they are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but leaders, as well as partners of today. He’s passionate about giving visibility to young people by inspiring them to discover their passions in life and live their dreams to the fullest.