African Youth Changing the Game
There has never been a more exciting time to be young and African. Over 60% of the region’ population is young. That being said, what are some of the exciting platforms Africans are currently dominating, you might ask and which need advancement, support and development in our region?
With the recent #iwearwhatiwant campaign in Botswana and #menaretrash originating in South Africa which sparked wide spread controversy, we cannot deny the impact that these campaigns have brought. Women’s rights and equality has been a discussion that needed to be had in Africa for quite some time now. Conversations on issues related to gender parity, femicide, equality, patriarchy and privilege on and off social media are taking prevelance among young Africans, and a result more awareness is being made on women empowerment, pushing the agenda further. Many young African women and men, are speaking up about the systemic violence and misogyny women have to deal with and fighting the good fight in reference to these issues.
Tshepo Jamalliah Moyo, a young Motswana woman founded Higher Heights for Girls Organizations. The organization’s mandate which is to equip young men and women the necessary skills to be able to maintain healthy relationships, stems from the realization of the shocking number of youth in abusive relationships and was formed to address the issue. Other boss women are the likes of Rainatou Sow from Guinea, Founder of Make Woman Count which furthers the empowerment of girls and women,
Stories curated by Africans have a growing voice in the continent. More than ever, stories shared by African are not only showing the endless possibilities that can be achieved in African literature, but that there are many untold stories that need to be shared. Africans are now rewriting the African narrative from an African’s perspective. Minna Salami for example has trailblazed the African story scene and did it successfully through the internet through her blog the Ms Afropolitan. Kagiso Madibana author of Baareng and Thabo Katlholo author of UnAfrican have penetrated the fiction writing space in Botswana, proving that creative writing is a space young Africans can grow in. Sesame Marumo author of Agent of Change and Lazarus Takawira author of Imagine Africa and the Public Servant have written books on empowering the African youth through inspiration and challenging the status quo.
Famous author Chimamanda Ngozi work is proof that our impact even in the diaspora can be influential. Quoting her from her Tedtalk which discusses the single story, “it is powerful to see our stories and perspective being shared through various platforms and medium and very different styles showing our continent’s diversity and shaping our narrative positively.”
With the recently selected Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2017 list of African trailblazers, it is without a doubt that African youth are responding accordingly to some of the challenges that are prevalent in the continent surround unemployment, poverty and innovative solutions. Young entrepreneurs in Africa are forward thinking in their resolve to solve pressing societal issues with odds stacked up against them. Alloysius Attah for example, CEO of Farmerline in Ghana has employed 23 individuals whilst also connecting customers with small scale farmers in rural areas.
Lucia Bakulumpagi Wamala from Uganda focuses on providing renewable energy solutions. What also interesting are that young Africa is breaking into fields like tech and STEM which have not always been perceived as “African”. Issam Darui CEO of Lagre.com in Morocco for instance has established Morocco’s first e-bus station or Knight Gange in Zimbabwe whose company develops apps for SMEs. African youth are proving that the only limitation we have are those we set for ourselves and that we have only just begun in our work to change the continent for the better.
By: Lesego Otlhabanye