Sulaiman B. Sowa
Makeni, Sierra Leone

The continent of Africa is vast and populated, with half of its population constituting youth. This singular feature, is a great potential for its growth in the international competitive arena, however, this seemingly youthful population turns out to be the continent’s biggest problem. I have always held on to the belief that Africa would only rise when the youth take charge, this belief, however, has been weakened by the spate at which youthfulness is taking direction in the continent. Recently I quietly did a personal head count of youths who languish in anti-social youthful exuberance and came to a conclusion that; we are yet to take charge.

One thing peculiar in the Africa youth is misplaced priorities and this is partly due to the fact we take youthfulness for granted, we think being a youth is to seek pleasure in negative derivatives which indulges us in a cycle of pleasure and pain mechanism. This misplacement of the things that matter to our well being have rendered us impotent to attack issues critically and stand up to the challenge. Our desire to admire things that contribute no tangible strides to our betterment is appalling, the material urge in us is violently compelling that our carnal feelings create and inflame a mentality of “GO GET IT AT ANY COST”. Take football (Premiership League) as an example, despite being fanciful and having the power to unite , it has disunited our wants from our needs in a perennially devastating  trend - most youth would even risk eluding examinations for a favorite match!  Consider such a zest, strength, time and interest devoted to football, if half of it is directed towards our priorities as youths, we can take the lead.

But it is no surprise that the older generation seeks pride and greed in exploiting our youthfulness to the brink of unsustainable strength. Out of our unconscious volition, we have availed ourselves to exploitation, undue submission and life threatening circumstances. The callousness at which such a trend takes has been woefully been ignored by the youth. In Africa today, it is not uncommon to see youth heaping praises on the very people who have stifled their growth, and these praises are born out of our desire to become exploitative as they are, thus the cliché ‘’OUR TIME WOULD COME” reinforces it. I always tell my colleagues, that there is no other time to breakthrough life than the youthful period, because in youthfulness, lies strength and comes opportunity.

Sincerity will hold me culpable if I fail to acknowledge the very bright strides that some portion of the African youth are taking to make the change and take the lead. The group IGNITE THE YOUTH is one exceptional in composition and content; I must confess that for quite a long time now my critical quest to interact with vibrant, rational-led and diverse youth from the continent has been met! It is a joy that I am quietly enjoying, because every day I feel the intellectual touch of igniters from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana et al. It gives me the hope that despite the multiplicity of challenges faced and entangled in youthfulness, there is a glimmer of hope that a multi-potent force of African youth will rise up and take the lead! They are the visionaries who believe that in YOUTHFULNESS, LIES STRENGHT AND COMES OPPORTUNITY.

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