In his book, Renascent Africa, Nnamdi Azikiwe writes of an Africa in renascence, an Africa in rebirth through the drumbeats and palpitations of youths restless and aching for change.
Though he wrote his treatise decades ago, his philosophy still runs deep and has astonishing relevance today in this century 21st. Since the book’s publication in 1937, somehow, Africa skipped her re-birth and instead, chose the path of the still-born. And somehow, the generations between the start of the Zikist movement and the rubbles of a present day broken continent have been sadly conspicuously silent.
Zik’s exhortation in Renascent Africa was directed to not just the youths of Africa but also to African members of the old guard. In his time, this referred to traditional chiefs and conservative pro-colonial politicians. In our time, this refers to our rulers, dictators and corrupt elites who by greed and intellectual myopia have collectively ground the continent to a halt.
From time immemorial, the youths have been depended upon as vanguards of social rebirth. Their role is palpable in our journey to independence and is equally palpable across continents from Asia to the Americas. I am inspired by enterprising youths across the continent starting online ventures, fashion merchandising businesses and media companies. These African ambassadors have single-handedly accosted the evil bull of continental degeneration, flashed it the red flag of courage and ridden it all the way to success.
But we all need to do more. Our problems are complex and deeply rooted but therein lies the excitement and sweetness of the victory that awaits us. It will take a lot of hard work and personal discipline but how else would we be able to turn an entire continent around if not by the brows of our sweat and the aches of our backs?
Personally, I think to get a strong head-start at demolishing our problems, we need to get organized. We are brimming with ideas, hopes, dreams, but of what use are they if we do not codify them into a blue print, a master plan, that clearly enumerates our vision and goals?
Second, we need to all collectively look inwardly and rid ourselves of the intellectual myopia that damaged the souls of those who came before us; these include but are not limited to the lures of getting ahead at all cost (and at the expense of others) and the dangers of sacrificing quality introspection and rigorous thinking (and solving) of Africa’s problems on the altar of aimless noise making about one social initiative or the other — (an exercise that is often a mask for narcissistic self-aggrandizement at the continent’s expense).
Third, we need to better channel our familiarity with technology into a viable force for actualizing the ideas and dreams codified in our blue print. A strong example of technology in action was the mass mobilization of Africans everywhere to protest against and demand for the release of Nigerian blogger, Jonathan Elendu of the Elendu Reports when he was arrested by the Nigerian SSS late last year.
At first, it seemed like a long shot, but thanks to the voices of Africans everywhere, Jonathan is back on the blogosphere and continues to blog about injustice and about issues that have made us love him dearly for his authenticity and courage.
Fourth we need to channel our drive for helping Africa (as itemized in our blue print) into a more coherent entrepreneurial and socio-economic strategy. For instance, while it is commendable and highly rewarding that the African music industry is gaining tremendous traction, we must not all flood the gates of the industry as though other sectors of the African economy lack opportunity. We all know that the greatest entrepreneurs and agents of social change are those who see opportunity where others do not. Therefore rushing en masse to one sector might not yield as much fruit as being a youth pioneer in other sectors such as agribusiness, manufacturing or pharmaceuticals.
Lastly, African youths everywhere need to reposition their image and stand up against the celebration of vices such as advance fee fraud (a.k.a. yahoozee). While it is sometimes endearing to be able to poke fun at one-self, in reality, there should be nothing humorous about a vice that has re-branded the continent’s people into a global laughing stock.
Please let’s do whatever we can to rebuild our homeland and breathe new life into a continent degenerate. God bless Africa. God bless our motherland.