20 September 2017

Africa: The Bold Spirit of the Youth Can Drive Africa Forward

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Photo: U.S. Department of State
Participants of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (file photo).
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A revolution is brewing in the hearts and minds of Africa's youth. By JODI WILLIAMS.

As a young African, I believe that I am part of a critical generation. A misunderstood generation. A bold generation. An unapologetic generation rising up against injustice. My experiences in student activism have taught me that young people, here and across the continent, are increasingly demanding radical change. My immediate point of reference is that of the recent student protests in the name of free decolonised education; a movement problematising the overall state of the education system, highlighting severe inequality and largely unchanged systems of power in South Africa.

Research shows that Africa has the most youthful population in the world, with more than 200-million of its 1.2-billion people aged between 15 and 24, according to African Economic Outlook, 2012 (African Development Bank). It is this large cohort that is often thought of as a remarkable pool of "talent and creativity", and rightfully so.

The African youth bulge is one such phenomenon that is hyper-visible and simultaneously hyper-invisible across political, economic and social spheres. On the one hand, issues of the youth are prominent considerations for leaders across the continent. The tabling of youth issues...

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