We need them to be part of the whole for changing the Africa narrative and being part of the change we want to see.
African Union Development Agency – NEPAD on 10th April, convened an advocacy platform on championing “The Africa We Want” through Agenda 2063 – the continent’s strategic framework for socio-economic transformation over a period of 50 years.
At the gathering attended by participants from across the continent, youth essay contest winners received prizes while youth champions who are carrying the spotlight on the Africa We Want were awarded for their efforts in making a difference to people’s lives. The gathering also nominated ten focal point media representatives for the Agenda 2063 Media Network and an overall coordinator.
During the event, renowned South African musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka, AUDA-NEPAD Goodwill Ambassador for TB and Nutrition spoke on the need for youth engagement in actualising Agenda 2063. Africa Coordinator of the Agenda 2063 Media Network, Charles Mkoko caught up with Chaka Chaka to explain why young people need to be mainstreamed in this continent vision to accomplish the Africa We Want.
Why it is important to ensure young people are part of this African vision of Agenda 2063. Why young people now and does this have any connection to leadership tomorrow?
We are talking about Agenda 2063, because we want to engage with young people. These are the leaders of the 21st century, these are tomorrow’s leaders. But as I said, we need to empower them now, we need to engage them now. We need them to be part of the whole strategy for changing the Africa narrative and being part of the change we want to see. So come 2063, it is these very young people who are sitting in this room who will be leaders, who will be leading. So that’s why it is important that we engage with them today. So leaders’ of today will be gone, leaders of tomorrow are the ones who are here today.
What is your message for the future leaders of Africa?
My message to the future leaders of Africa is that we learn from the mistakes that were done and not dwell on them. We need to change Africa and be the change we want to see. Change the Africa we want. Now it is the time, because if it is not done, we will be judged by the next generation.
How do we make sure that young people who are the leaders coming do away with the culture of politics which is so entrenched on the African continent?
I think sometimes these are pains, sometimes self-inflicted painsthat we are doing. As I said Africa is a beautiful continent, it is not a dark continent that everybody believes it to be. This continent has absolutely everything from weather, to space you know, agriculture, minerals everything is there in Africa but who benefits from that. The people who are supposed to be benefitting are not. So we need to change the narrative. We need to make sure that whatever mineral is there it benefits the people of that particular country. So with these young people they know, they have seen, they have experience the hardships. So it is their time now to take the battle on and said we want change the narrative and benefit from our own resources.
How would you guide the role and performance of the press in the quest to ensure the road to 2063 and meeting the seven aspirations of the continents vision of a changed Africa?
The press, you are the best people to disseminate information. It has to be positive information. Hence the creation of Agenda 2063 is the step in the right direction, in as far achieving the vision of African development is concerned. But when things are done incorrectly you also have to be critical. Remember the leaders we have today were also young. They were not just old you know, they were young.
How do you react to the fact that these leaders having secured their positions they have now changed their behavior ?
It is actually very unfortunate that when people are in position of power they forget from where they are coming from. I have been in the music industry for 35 years and I still avail myself for anybody, no body guards, no bureaucracies around me because I know that I am made by these people. So I give myself time to listen, to learn from them and to impart my knowledge where I need to. But to the young people I don’t say I know it all. I always want to listen to them because my challenges are different from their challenges. That’s why we need to work together. As I said no one has to compete, we have to work together to compliment each other.
You talked of issues around corruption in your speech. How do we inculcate a culture of transparency and also democratic values on the African continent?
It is our duty all of us not to be corrupt. If you can steal a pen and think it is ok. That is being corrupt. If that pen is supposed to be given to a child at school, it should. So corruption is not all about money no. It is about doing things incorrectly. So passion is doing things correctly and being passionate about whatever things you do, not wanting everything. Remember we are born with nothing and when we die we take absolutely nothing so there is no need to be corrupt and take things.
Submitted by Charles Mkoko,