“We are the leaders of tomorrow.” These are words we were made to believe in primary school. These are words that we used to chant. We never really understood them back then, but now we do. We understand them much deeper than we should. They lied to us. They manipulated us. They caged our minds.
Even now we are adults, they still say to us: “You are the leaders of tomorrow.” This has made us feel like we are too young to cause a change because “it is not yet our time”. This has made us to sit back and criticize our governments because we feel that “they are the leaders of today” and should be held responsible for all the present societal malfunctions. This has made us stare at the problems we face in our community with the belief that “someone else will fix it”. This has made us remain “leaders of tomorrow” up until we die and transit into oblivion. This has become Africa’s great lie.
The best of us — the wealthiest, the most educated, the most connected, the most powerful — now flee the continent to live in more developed continents; Europe and North America being the most popular. We feel the continent is “too backwards” to match up to our newly-found pseudo-elitist taste. We have come to believe that the continent would miraculously fix itself.
But the truth remains that if the best of us leave the continent for good, we should not complain when the worst of us lead the continent [for good].
We need to realize that for all our childhood, we have been religiously spoon-fed with Africa’s great lie. We are the most powerful generation of Africans to ever walk the face of the earth. Why? We were born around the time when the continent gradually approaches its crossroads: glory or eternal peril. By 2050, Africa is set to be the most populous continent in the world, and be home to the largest populace of young people in the world. These are great statistics, right? However, that’s only one side of the story. If we get it wrong, our dear continent would be gone. We would leave no tomorrow for our children to even hope to lead.
Shakespeare says to us:
There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
I think he was speaking about us. This is why we need to face Africa’s great truth now: “We are the leaders of today.” We need to have a paradigm shift around the concept of leadership. We need to look beyond the economic and political spheres of leadership. There’s more to leadership than those. In our own individual walks of life, we must strive to set an example and create a lasting positive impact. We need to chase after enlightenment, excellence, and mastery as we do gold. Modern day slavery has done away with chains and plantations; it now trades on the currency of ignorance. We must unite and collaborate to build an Africa which we can all be proud of. The price of success is sacrifice. Therefore, for our continent to succeed, we need to make personal, professional, emotional, and financial sacrifices…today…now!
Mother Theresa’s wisdom shone forth when she said:
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.”
Should we then fold our arms and postpone our efforts to cause positive impacts in Africa because we are the “leaders of tomorrow “? Or should we unite, support one another and work synergistically now to create a better Africa that our children would be proud of?