"We have the blessing of the wealth of our vast resources, the power of our talents and the potentialities of our people. Let us grasp now the opportunities before us and meet the challenge to our survival. " Address to the National Assembly -Kwame Nkrumah, 26 March 1965.
Fellow Africans, today as we celebrate 50 years of the Organisation of African Unity (now called the African Union), l have a special message for the African youth. To the youth I say first of all, be proud of your African heritage and cherish your African identity. We need to constantly remind ourselves that the African way of life is beautify. We have a beautiful culture, glittering from the most enviable continent in world.
Our beautiful culture can be found in the quality of our indigenous food, our music, our dance, our fashion among others. Therefore the African youth must begin to see themselves as the most blessed people on the planet earth. For this reason, let us all say NO to any attempt to divide the African people at any time.
Let us UNITE and move Africa forward together, with the understanding that we are one African people with a common destiny. AFRICA IS OUR ONLY TRUE HOME and we got to do our best to make it the best place for our children. For this reason, hard work, positive self-esteem, confidence, pride (not to be confused with arrogance), and selflessness should be our hallmark. We the youth need to decolonize our minds and begin to accept the Africa's current challenges as our opportunity to transform the continent for the future generation.
Across other parts of the world, young ones are working hard to put the development of their countries as their ultimate priorities. It is time for us in Africa to show such patriotic spirit. From this day, we the African youth must accept the fact that we are leaders and we ought to take the destiny of Africa into our own hands without waiting for any help to come from the East nor the West.
Today when I interact with many young Africans on the internet, I foresee a new generation young leaders who believe that something ought to be done in order to change the status quo. I commend the works of the many young African entrepreneurs who have in one way or the other contributed massively to create jobs that are helping in the fight against youth unemployment. For these efforts, whenever I look into the future of the continent, I see a continent booming with a lot of opportunities.
However, the road to the promise land is not going to be smooth. As hard as we may try to put the interest Africa first on the agenda, there is definitely going to be a lot of distractions, confusions and manipulations coming from all aspects. In spite of this, we the youth must not allow ourselves to be manipulated by any of these circumstances. Today, the media still remains the most powerful weapon in the world.
The entertainment industry is waging a war against the African race. From scenes in moves, video clips, foreign fashion among others, attempts are being made to confuse the African youth to shun their African identity altogether and embrace alien culture.
Our movie industry is trying hard to portray the black woman as the most confused woman on earth. From bleaching cosmetics to indecent exposure, unnecessary sex scenes on our TVs among others, the minds of our African women are being programmed to see themselves as nothing more than sex objects. From Brazilian hair to Chinese hair, Peruvian hair was how it started. Today we have pig hair, dog hair, horse hair, goat hair blonde hair, brunette hair everywhere. All these have been the result of media influence designed to confuse the minds of the young ones As a result, our own natural hairstyles have gone.
Sadly, the young men have not been spared either. They are seen wearing dog chains everywhere. Violent, barbaric and crime scenes have become the new standard for movies that air on our TVs. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing African about these. Indeed the war against the African race is getting more serious and it is time the youth realise that the challenges confronting us today are far too many for us to be distracted by external influences.
I am therefore calling on the African youth to open their eyes and see through the 'clouds'. It is time to go back to our roots and realise the real beauty of Africa. For we all have a collective responsibility to ensure that the African pride which our forefathers shared with us today is duly preserved for the future generation.
As I write this, I'm sinking in the water of hope that Africa will be united and totally independent from mental slavery sooner or later.
Because today, many of the African children are still wondering: when will we stop crying ?when will we be free forever ? Oh mother Africa, you will shine one day sooner or later.
On this special day, I challenge the African youth to be proud of Africa and boldly show off their African pride. We must resist any attempt which seeks to confuse the minds of the young ones to feel inferior about their African identity.
While urging the African youth to remain focus and passionate about Africa on this great occasion, I also urge the entertainment industry to make every effort to promote the beauty of African culture to the outside world. The era of Africa's inferiority complex must end.
Above all, let us all unite and contribute significantly to the development of Africa. Just as Nkrumah put it: the masses of the people of Africa are still crying for unity than ever.
Long live Africa
Long live the African diaspora.
The writer is a Pan-African analyst, anti-corruption crusader and the coordinator for the Project Pan-Africa. He can be reached on E-mail: [email protected]