Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend the afternoon session of the historic Tedx Youth@Soweto hosted by the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. I wonder if the venue had anything to do with the fire in the belly of the young leaders, as they took over the podium to tell the world about the Africa they dream of. It was fitting for the theme of the event entitled “We, The Future”.
Tedx Youth Day is a series of TEDx events which happened all around the world on November 20 designed to empower and inspire young people. The session I attended was simply titled “My country, continent, my planet” and it was such a thrill watching One Young World ambassador Catherine Peter talking to young people on the power of perception.
TV personality Precious Kofi brought the house down when she delivered a moving presentation titled “God Hasn’t Forgotten Africa”. Talented and award-winning sound producer Don Juan told his story of the big city dreams, sacrifices, heartache and disappointments he experienced on his way to becoming one of the most sought after music producers in the country. He singled out the concept of vision as his main driver and allowed his audience to wonder what this country would be like if young people would arm themselves with vision, confidence, creativity and ideas.
Some of the highlights from the session:
Africa and Ideas:
The Young Leaders made it clear that for Africa to prosper, we need ideas that will shape the continent into a land that is free, peaceful and prosperous. They spoke on how young people should be at the forefront of making these ideas a reality and demystify the perception that Africa is not a place of ideas and possibilities. Catherine Peter told her story of growing up in Europe and the US then coming back home because of what she believes she can offer the continent. Don Juan called for a country that embraces a culture of ideas as a possible solution to our huge youth unemployment problem.
Africa and Leadership:
Building young leaders who will carry the country and the continent into a brighter future featured prominently amongst all the discussions. Catherine Peter spoke passionately about the work they do at One Young World in building young leaders that the world needs to bring solutions to some of the challenges in the world today. Precious Kofi emphasized that Africa should not continue being led by ‘broken men” who only care about themselves and their stomachs. She told stories, based on her travel on the continent, of child soldiers and abductees and how some leaders use children to advance their selfish and greedy needs. The Young Leaders called for a new generation of African leaders with vision, humility and putting people first.
Africa and its People:
The need to live in peace and harmony with each other featured prominently. To be more welcoming to foreign guests especially those from African continent. To fight ignorance amongst ourselves, communities, continent and the world. To believe in Africa and it’s possibilities. For young people to lead the rise of Africa as the new revolutionaries.
This was a fascinating experience which I hope was not just a show on how to deliver great and moving speeches, but also a chance for a country to listen to its young citizens about their dreams, aspirations, ideas and the country or continent they dream of.
Having just attended one session of Tedx Youth Soweto I can confirm that South Africa is absolutely destined for ambitious, capable hands and that the youth really are “the future”.