By Barolong Mouwane
The future leaders of [Africa] need to be of sober minds, they must be humble, patriotic, courageous and patient.
They must be humble because humility is wedded to wisdom. Wisdom begins with realising just how little you know, the universe is infinitely vast that for every little you know there are billions upon billions of other things that you are unaware of.
And it is by coming to this conclusion that one’s mind is instantly opened wide. And because it is no longer padlocked by one’s intellectual pride (being too proud to learn from others because you believe you know more than them), knowledge will naturally gravitate towards it.
According to Socrates, wisdom is attained by minds interacting as often as possible. And since we were born a tabula raza-born without mental content, we must use other people’s minds as a catalyst to attaining knowledge. Most of what our elders know is a result of the experience and gathered information generated across generations, the roots of which going backwards to their earliest ancestors – that is, your parent’s wisdom is greatly a result of standing on the shoulders of a long line of past generations.
The youths must now extract that wisdom by standing on the shoulders of their elders. And they must build upon it for the future generations.
At the same time, our elders must not take the youth for granted and persistently brush them aside on grounds that they are less experienced. They should not write the youths off because they (youth) are radical in nature.
The powerful reason being that the next generation will always see further than the previous, because they stand on their shoulders. That is to say, biologically the youths are engineered to be better than their predecessors, hence our leaders must always try to see things through our eyes. Instead of trying to oppress the youth’s radical views, they must try and give direction to them.
A patriotic [African] is one who not only loves her/his country, but is also devoted to it to the point that she/he puts the country’s interests above hers/his. One can therefore come to the conclusion that patriotism is a denomination of a pronounced level of selflessness; it is the compass that should direct all our collective thoughts; it should be the thing that impels and binds us all; and it should form the chief our conscious. I therefore urge all young [Africans] to strive to create a grander [Africa]. I encourage would-be leaders of [Africa] to endeavour to be the greatest [Africans] who ever lived; meaning, being not hungry for power, but servitude. There is no individual who can become the greatest if they are not the greatest servant of their people. For our driving force, we must have faith. The bible says that if you had the faith the size of a mustard seed you could move mountains; hence, we must accrue a collective faith, all of us, enough to move a whole nation forward.
The youths should all be courageous because, historically the youths have always been the agents of Change. Meaningful change has always been induced by the youth (read about every revolution). Whilst the youth should always accord their elders with respect, they must never fear them. In fact I would say that elders who are corrupt, abuse positions of power etc. should fear the youths. Whilst they might trample their own generation, they will never be victorious over the newcomers, because it does not matter what resources the elders may have at their disposal or control, the youths have one that is stronger and trumps all – Time. Young [Africans] have all the time in the world and will fight you even long after you have passed on. Corrupt elders may write history today, but the youth will rewrite it (giving the real facts of what transpired) forever, tomorrow. And so to my elders, I will give this advice; it does not matter how skilled or strong you are, someone who will be stronger and more skilled than you will ever be, is coming. The future belongs to us young people. And we must take a strong stand against those who would seek to make it bleak – we must take ownership of the future now.
Our parents wanted more than their forefathers and so we must hope for much more than our parents ever dreamt of. We must want more democracy, better education, less corruption, better service-delivery and infinitely better development. It is these layers upon layers that culminate progress. Therefore we must work hard and be patient for the end results. Rome was not built in one day. We should not just want change for the sake of change, with no ideological content as the instigator. We will not make the changes we want to see by promoting hate, anarchy, dissonance, by sabotaging others or by pulling each other down.
By Barolong Mouwane