Peace and security are the major challenges of Africa. When there is peace and security there is prosperity. In this regard, the youth will be direct beneficiaries form the economy. More job opportunity will be created and they will in turn support their community.
The role of youth to speed up the socio economic and political life of a society is inevitable. This is especially true for the growing economy of Africa where the majority of the population is young.
Lately, the 15th YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) Connect Camp, that aspire to invest in the next generation of African leaders through training in facilitating leadership, mentorship, networking and professional envelopment opportunities for social change was successfully concluded here in Addis Ababa, at the Embassy of the United States of America. On which seventeen young African leaders who came from Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Sudan were attended. Using the event as opportunity the The Ethiopian Herald had a chance to interview some of this young African leaders about their impression towards Ethiopian cultural values.
Anitha Indah, is Cameroonian young African girl. I met her adorned with her traditional Cameroonian dressing style. With those beautiful African dressing style and her smile she looks one of African queens that I saw in movies. Despite her young age and the pressure of globalization she has kept her African identity. Everything I see on her reminds me of how beautiful my continent is.
Bearing this in mind I asked her impression about Ethiopia and its cultural values. For Anitha, Ethiopia was one of the countries that she had been dream to visit. Lucky, due to the chance she got through YALI, her dream has came true to visit this beautiful land.
"I had a wonderful time in Addis Ababa and Kuriftu where I enjoyed the beauty of landscape. During my short stay in Addis Ababa, I have witnessed how rich the country is in culture. What impressed me most is that Ethiopians have a great value for their culture. They are strongly attached to their values.
"Ethiopian traditional songs and traditional food "Injera" has impressed me. During my visit I have witnessed that how Injera is a source of unity for the people. I have seen how it attracts people together into a single table while discussing issues. It looks so good to see people eating Injera circling it. It was a really amazing experience to me."
Africa is rich in cultural values and the youth is the one who should preserve this cultural values. However, due to the exposure to social media and globalization we, African youth are becoming more and more victims of western culture. Several social medias are becoming a threat for African culture. In this regard, I am proud of Ethiopian youth that I meet. They have a great value for their culture. From their dressing style to their dancing and eating style Ethiopians have great value to their culture.
Nelson Mandella, is among the other YALI participants. He also shares the same feeling with his Cameroonian sister. According to Mandela, Ethiopians are really wonderful people with welcoming spirit. During my visit to Kuriftu resort, I have enjoyed with the beauty of Ethiopian culture. The beautiful landscape of Addis Ababa together with its welcoming people has an everlasting memory in my heart.
Margaret Tabu, is from South Sudan. For her the cold weather of Addis Ababa together with its landscape has something new. In comparison with the hot weather of South Sudan Addis Ababa is extremely cold but the warm welcoming face of Ethiopians has enable her to forget the cold weather. The official Amharic language with so many alphabets has also surprised Margaret.
Yusuf Kalango is a Professor of Ohio University. Beside, the beautiful landscape of Addis Ababa the unique culture and the rich history of the country has a great value to him. According to him, when the issue of ancient civilization raised Ethiopia is the pioneer. What is more, Ethiopia is a country that knows the meaning of freedom more than any other African country. That is why it used to support its African brothers to free themselves from colonization.