Thinking about the direction in which my country is going has become part of the chronicles of my daily life as I endure house arrest. I have found myself reflecting on a possible solution to our country’s stagnancy.
It is a fact that post the 1994 democratic dispensation, our country is still characterised by lack of development and advancement economically, politically, socially and otherwise — from the lens of an African native.
South Africa is a country rich with coveted natural resources. We have men and women of many talents, skills and qualifications. Having said that one cannot help but wonder, what is it that stands between the current situation and the society we envisage? What becomes our failure with moving the country in the desired direction?
One of the hindrances, from my perspective, is some of the older generation running the country. They lack zeal for change and are self-serving. They are materialistically driven and corrupt to the core. Getting into government is about access to resources and the amassing of wealth. It is less about serving the interests of the people and ushering in the society we desire.
The solution to this quagmire is for young people to stand up and take their rightful place in the course of struggle.
A wise man would argue: “But not all older people are regressive and stand against progress. Some are progressive and are well-meaning too.” The only reason I tie all of them together with one rope is that the progressive among them are very few, which renders their contribution shadowed.
Another wise man or woman would ask: “Does it mean that by virtue of being young, you are inherently progressive?” The answer is, of course, a big no!
The suggestion that age is a barometer that can be used to measure one’s attitude and commitment to the total emancipation of Mother Africa would be entirely malicious. In fact, it would suggest that we are nothing but narrow-minded ageists.
Ageism can be understood to be the discrimination of people because of their age. This phenomenon is commonly perpetrated against older people. They are subject to certain stereotyping and prejudice. Such discrimination can be carried out systematically, through certain cultural practices, or just casually.
It is not difficult to comprehend that just like we fundamentally reject sexism or tribalism, ageism too is rigidly rejected in our ranks. It can never find expression in our progressive politics, economics, art or religion in our daily way of life.
We do, however, have a handful of young people who have been co-opted into the agenda of that particular branch of the older generation. Young people who got senior positions in the country’s leadership. By professing to represent the youth, but landing up on the other side they turned against the radical agenda of our struggle. They surrendered our generational claims for a seat in a gravy train.
Thus, only a particular kind of youth will have the capacity to dismantle the country’s stagnancy.
These are young people who must first and foremost have unconditional love for Africa. They are the youth who will despise corruption, favouritism, nepotism and embezzlement. These are the youth who are bold and who hold high moral standards, they are authentic to other people as well as to themselves. They are the ones to lead the African people with integrity and credibility.
They are the ones who will march forth with their chests out, shoulders squared up and their heads held high, waving a flag of African Nationalism, calling upon all Africans to be bold and uphold the spirit of Africanism.