Tag Archives: African Youth

Bisila Bokoko and MacDella Cooper to Deliver Keynote Addresses at the 5th Annual Young African Leadership Symposium in NYC


Bisila Bokoko

The Council Of Young African Leaders will host the 5th annual CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium (YALS) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, New York. This year’s theme Transforming Africa Through Partnerships will focus on the importance of public and private partnerships, within the African community and abroad. The Young African Leadership Symposium gathers students, leading businesses, professionals, influencers and entrepreneurs to discuss many topics affecting Africa and its various countries. This year’s program will feature keynote addresses by Ms. MacDella Cooper, CEO of MacDella Cooper Foundation and Ms. Bisila Bokoko, Businesswoman, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Philanthropist among other high profile speakers and panelists.


MacDella Cooper

 According to the African Development Bank, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have emerged over the last decade as one of the best ways to foster development. Similar to a Town hall Debate, the symposium is designed to be engaging, encouraging speakers, panelists, and the audience to discuss the most pressing African issues and how they can be solved through partnerships. Discussion will feature:

  • African Diaspora’s Assimilation vs Acculturation 
  • Social Enterprise; Funding an African-Driven Development
  • Ebola Lesson Learned from a Deadly Epidemic
  • ICT and African Development 
  • How to successfully implement PPPs in Africa and the Role of the Youth and Women

“This symposium is a unique opportunity for African students and young professionals to get involved in the pressing African issues,” says Loukman Lamany, Director of Programs and YALS Chairman. “In order to accelerate Africa’s development, collaboration between all the stakeholders, the public and private sectors, Africans on the continent and in the diaspora are needed for a greater collective impact.” Due to the steady rise of youth participation in both the private and public sectors, Africa’s youth are proving to be crucial players in social, political, and economic changes on the continent.

The CYAL is proud to partner with the CUNY University Student Senate on this symposium to provide a platform for African youth to lead the way in formulating Africa’s solutions.

Registration and program Open: http://www.yals.info



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Filed under Africa, Africa ICT, African Diaspora, African Media, African Technology, African Women, African Youth, DIASPORA YOUTH ENGAGEMENT, THE COUNCIL OF YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS

Why Sophia Bekele Should be Forbes “Most Inspirational Young African Leader”

It’s not everyday you meet a woman who just makes you want to become a better you. Even if you knew you were a Bekelehustler, there are people in your life that will just push you, by essentially being rock stars, to become a better and excellent version of yourself.

One of these people is Sophia Bekele. The CEO of the one and only DotConnectAfrica spoke at the 2014 CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium on October 11.  The minute you meet her, you find that is rather hard to not be impressed with a woman who is so comfortable in her own skin that she freely extends this magnificence to others. Unlike many of our “social media made”   Young African Leaders,  Ms. Bekele seems to make sure that she makes a genuine connection with everyone she meets.  So don’t be surprised if she asks you questions such as “where do you see yourself in 5 years?- when you do have the honor of meeting her.  If you are lucky, you will get to hear just how much she is working to change the way Africa connects to the rest of the world.

What truly got earned her this nomination was her Keynote Address at the Symposium.  It was her clear vision, her insistence on renewed leadership in Africa and pushing the envelope for change. Here is a recap thanks to the folks at DotConnectAfrica:

Speaking at the Symposium, Bekele conversed with the students behind what she says are of priority to Africa. Her rallying call “The operative word for what would move Africa is CHANGE.  So we all need to PUSH the envelop – (Persist, Until Something Happens)”

Bekele said that “Our generation has the power to promote freedom of ideas, innovate and be accountable, ethical and transparent, to forge leadership that is keen on every small detail. It is really in building lasting foundations that we can prepare for a better future. It is your chance to chart a new path, without reinventing the wheel so that future generations can appreciate your input”.

She recalled “Our great Pan-African Leaders like Mandela, Mwalimu Nyerere, Haile Selassie, Jomo Kenyatta saw a future in creating opportunities though self governance, economic development through education to drive a change.   As we sit now and analyze their visions we have a great chance to stand on the shoulders of these giants and in retrospect stop and look at their achievements and the challenges that they faced in their quest to make Africa and the World a development platform”.  

She reminded that we can also learn from our modern-day Giants that were close to us, our own fathers, mothers, uncles and village Chieftains. “My Giant is my own Father” she said and

noted his staying power under three varying government regimes with successful business undertakings.  She also named such leading African business figures as Tony Elumelu, calling him “her modern-day Giant“.  His advocacy for private sector leadership in economic development and PanAfican vision under his coined term AfriCapitalism mirrors mine, she said. 

Bekele also sited her first “Nation building systems integration project” in Africa that her company successfully commissioned, saying it was “disruptive” business model.  Since, we had many ventures my various star-ups have accomplished, and pioneered in Africa and the US, in the field of ICT, internet, social media and Corporate Governance, including our very successful and famous Pan-African effort on .africa domain name.

At a country level, she cited Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia as one to use successful and disruptive models models to advance their economies.  

Sophia Bekele

She urged the students to develop a “staying power” saying, I was educated in America like yourself, so I can’t help but also learn from some of the Giants right here in the US, and quoted US President Theodore Roosevelt on “staying in the Arena”.   

 Given what we were enduring at our organization at DCA, I was inspired to write an entire commentary from his single quote for our Company’s 2014 New Year’s Newsletter and titled it “The ARENA Issue”, she said.  

We need to learn to stay in the course like our celebrated Giants did, but what would help us move into our journey to the future is to continuously PUSH the envelop – (Persist, Until Something Happens)

Adding that Africa must renew its leadership, “We must invest in training leaders from a very young age, the best leaders of our time have been given a chance to drive change in their own levels such as the one you are doing now”

She used the Biblical citation “Parable of the Talent” to give examples on hard work, success, and wealth creation. She quoted diverse Giants: Aristotle on, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others”. Jomo Kenyatta, first president of Kenya on renewed leadership, “Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future.”, and Bob Marley, singer and freedom fighter on good governance, “You can fool some people sometimes but you ant fool all people all the time”.    

Bekele encouraged the students saying  “What does not kill you makes you stronger, and It does not mean you are lonely when you are alone.

Not forgetting women in the equation, she said the following – Women represent over 50% of the African continent and they have many gifts and talent and not utilizing them is also missing over 50% of the population’s talent. Without examining the contributions made by African women throughout the ages, the full story of the African experience and struggle cannot be told.  So for those women in this room, have hope and use your talents and when the going gets tough  and or the men want to treat you like you should only be seen and not heard,  pin your ears to these two songs – a must have in your play list – “Can’t hold US down” – by Christina Aguilera and “Girls Run the World ” – by Beyonce:  These two ladies have your back. 

In her concluding remarks Bekele stressed “Consistent with your mission and vision at The Council of Young African Leaders, which is to inspire the next generation of African leaders to cultivate awareness and action, and call to lead the continent of Africa to its greatest era yet”, I call upon you to do just that ” You are the next generation Leaders, Game Changers, and Change Agents – go and do something for Africa“.

“There were so many ways to have answered the questions you posed for today’s symposium, but I spoke to you on what is of priority for Africa – use your talents, do it the right way, practice good governance, no short cuts, stay the course, use the power of hindsight, and PUSH -Persist Until Something Happens.   Otherwise, your leadership will also suffer and you will be “Swinging from the Chandelier” and I let you search whose song is that.

She concluded by acknowledging the victims of Ebola, saying let us  keep them in our prayers. It is a huge tragedy.  Our Continent’s future is online. 

This is a simplified recap off course but we say YES to this:

“We must invest in training leaders from a very young age, the best leaders of our time have been given a chance to drive change in their own levels such as the one you are doing now”

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What if Africans Were Their Own Advocates?

What would it look like if Africans were their own advocates? What would it look like if young Africans believed- and truly believed- that the future of Africa was in their hands?

by Divine Muragijimana

These were the questions that I was asking myself while I was working with ONE in Washington D.C. During that time, the organization was heavily involved with schools and there were chapters all over the country all connected to the mission of the organization, and very active. It was inspiring, but then I realized that the African youth were not involved in these campaigns. I didn’t ask why, but a couple of years later while working with a group of Africans putting together celebrations for “Africa at 50”- I saw the same void. Young Africans were spoken of but not heard of.  This is when I decided that something had to be done. As a CUNY student, I saw a large number of young Africans who seemed to want to be engaged with matters relating to their communities and Africa and did not know how to do so.

It was not long after that I met my co-founder Okenfe Lebarty at an event for students at City University of New York.  I spoke of my desire to create a platform where young people could engage with each other, get resources for their career and academic advancement and mostly importantly contribute to the ongoing development in Africa. Three hours later, we had decided that we needed to plan an event that would kick off this platform and with the blessing of CUNY’s Vice Chancellor for Student Relations Dr. Frank Sanchez, the CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium (YALS) was born.  As one would say the rest is history…

Except we just began. At the core of CYAL’s vision, mission and objective was the truth that any engagement with the youths of Africa had to involve both the youth in the Diaspora and those in the continent. If two heads are better than one, then surely, thousands of united young African voices were better than fragmented voices across continents. Thus CYAL became committed to make its way to Africa. We were convinced and still are convinced that our skills are our best assets. We would therefore use these resources to partner with youths in Africa in capacities that would involve exchange of skills for greater human capital development.

So here we are. After three years of programming in the US, we are finally making a dream come true for us. We are headed to Africa. The trip to Cameroon is monumental for us. With near misses, and a lot of work into finding the right partners, we are finally moving beyond that fear of failure, and aiming for success. This trip is really about partnering with young people to move Africa forward. If we have to do it block by block, we are rolling our sleeves up and dedicating our time to make sure this becomes a reality. In the coming years, the program that we are implementing in Cameroon will be adopted across the continent. We hope to bring more people into the program to participate in the exchange- in the nearby future.

I am particularly excited for the third day of the conference where it will be all about sharing ideas. Even though I will be involved in most of the training sessions, it will be exciting to hear about the ideas of the participants. CYAL will be able to work with individuals to help them formulate their idea, and one lucky person will get some $$ to help them realize their dream. To see that what Okenfe and I envisioned is becoming a reality is a blessing

I have always believed that anyone brave enough to be in a leadership position is crazy. Thankfully, I am in good company! I have been there since the beginning and have seen the organization grow.  I am really proud of the CYAL team, and particularly honored to be working with young people who believe in our vision, and are dedicated to carrying out our organizations mission.

We invite you to join us for our journey to Cameroon: http://www.gofundme.com/8hs62o

CYAL Team - Cover-3


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The Malala Yousafzai story in Africa

At 11, Mariam* discovers that instead of going to school, she will have to get married to an older gentleman. This means that she has to stop going to school. Her last act of defiance is running away and finding shelter with an international group that could protect her and find a way to continue her education. Her family finds her, takes her home and after beating her, she is married off. She dies at 13 during childbirth.- this was in 2011, and unfortunately, a familiar story in Africa.education-10-21-06-senegal-girls

Reading the Malala Yousafzai story should have every girl-education activist in Africa thinking. At 15 years old, this Pakistani girl became the symbol of girl education. But let us not kid ourselves- we have seen this story before, and we still do. Unfortunately the story of girls education in Africa is just as unpleasant. It might be getting better, but to this day, girls will always be the last ones chosen to attend school. A great number of girls go to school at their own risk. They risk the ostracization from their families and communities, and most of the time, they will have to leave school to get married– YES- Child marriage is a thing- and it continues on to this day. With all this talk of Africa rising, and African being the final or the next frontier, we have forgotten the battles such as girl education that we still need to fight.
imagesStatistics show that $12 is the average amount spend on girl education in Africa. That is if the girls have been lucky to attend school. In 2012, PLAN released Because I am a Girl, a report on girl education in Africa. The stories untold, and the reports you won’t hear in the media is that girls in Africa are fighting for their education, but they constantly lack the support they need. They lack visibility- thus “if it is not seen, then it’s not happening”. In Africa, we have missed the mark in championing ourselves, championing children who are the future of the so-called “Africa Rising”.

Organizations that work with children get less support because those who are advocating for them, particularly in Africa, are few and far between. Unless an organization has a celebrity-like individual championing for their causes, then these organizations become obsolete- so to speak.  Thats why organizations like United for Kids Foundation are to be admired. They are slowly restoring hope in children’s lives. Other organizations like US-Africa Synergy are making sure that African girls/women are empowered, and contributing to their societies. More importantly, they are also working to end the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)- this is an entirely different post. But the message is clear. These organizations tell our children that we care about them, and are not waiting for them to get an education because we can care about the contribution they are making in society.  After all, before any African youth can become an “Afropreneur”, they have to reach that awkward age of “adulthood”, and be accompanied with a decent education, formal or informal.

All that being said and done, there is hope. You can bet on that these kids are not waiting on us to get it together and realize that we need invest in them.

At 15, Aine Armando Wasso in Mozambique refused to get married and pursued her education despite opposition from her family. She was able to get the support she needed to be able to get the money required, and five years later, Wasso’s future is bright.
The misconception on a girl’s education has been that they don’t need it. Some of the parents believe that boys are smarter than the girls. Although this is disproved every day.
For example, meet Maud Chifamba, a 14 year old orphan who is an advocate for child education in Zimbabwe. Oh has it been mentioned that she is the FIRST girl, scratch that- student at her age to be admitted to college in Southern Africa? She was not shot, nor spend months in the hospital, but what Chifamba did was educate herself under strenuous circumstances, with no money to attend school. At a very young age, losing her parents, she learned that her future was in her own hands and she needed to fight- and fight she did.

These stories are just very few among thousands of stories of African girls and their plight for an education. So let us admire Malala for what she hopes to do and accomplish- but maybe its time Africans realize that Malala might be a symbol for child education, but the real work is up to them. Malala will not be traveling to Africa to solve the issue of girl-education.

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How to Write About Africa…..

There are Articles that are always a good read. So  I am sharing with you, one of my favorite articles that was brought to my attention by my friend Chris. Its funny, but oh so sadly true.

This article was originally published in Granta 92.

How to Write About Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina

Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Drum’, ‘Sun’ or ‘Bygone’. Also useful are words such as ‘Guerrillas’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Primordial’ and ‘Tribal’. Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans.

Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.

In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.

Make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls, and eat things no other humans eat. Do not mention rice and beef and wheat; monkey-brain is an African’s cuisine of choice, along with goat, snake, worms and grubs and all manner of game meat. Make sure you show that you are able to eat such food without flinching, and describe how you learn to enjoy it—because you care.

Taboo subjects: ordinary domestic scenes, love between Africans (unless a death is involved), references to African writers or intellectuals, mention of school-going children who are not suffering from yaws or Ebola fever or female genital mutilation.

Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can’t live without her. Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed.

Your African characters may include naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermitic splendour. Or corrupt politicians, inept polygamous travel-guides, and prostitutes you have slept with. The Loyal Servant always behaves like a seven-year-old and needs a firm hand; he is scared of snakes, good with children, and always involving you in his complex domestic dramas. The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe (not the money-grubbing tribes like the Gikuyu, the Igbo or the Shona). He has rheumy eyes and is close to the Earth. The Modern African is a fat man who steals and works in the visa office, refusing to give work permits to qualified Westerners who really care about Africa. He is an enemy of development, always using his government job to make it difficult for pragmatic and good-hearted expats to set up NGOs or Legal Conservation Areas. Or he is an Oxford-educated intellectual turned serial-killing politician in a Savile Row suit. He is a cannibal who likes Cristal champagne, and his mother is a rich witch-doctor who really runs the country.

Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Also be sure to include a warm and motherly woman who has a rolling laugh and who is concerned for your well-being. Just call her Mama. Her children are all delinquent. These characters should buzz around your main hero, making him look good. Your hero can teach them, bathe them, feed them; he carries lots of babies and has seen Death. Your hero is you (if reportage), or a beautiful, tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who now cares for animals (if fiction).

Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank. When talking about exploitation by foreigners mention the Chinese and Indian traders. Blame the West for Africa’s situation. But do not be too specific.

Broad brushstrokes throughout are good. Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa. African characters should be colourful, exotic, larger than life—but empty inside, with no dialogue, no conflicts or resolutions in their stories, no depth or quirks to confuse the cause.

Describe, in detail, naked breasts (young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small) or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies. Remember, any work you submit in which people look filthy and miserable will be referred to as the ‘real Africa’, and you want that on your dust jacket. Do not feel queasy about this: you are trying to help them to get aid from the West. The biggest taboo in writing about Africa is to describe or show dead or suffering white people.

Animals, on the other hand, must be treated as well rounded, complex characters. They speak (or grunt while tossing their manes proudly) and have names, ambitions and desires. They also have family values: see how lions teach their children? Elephants are caring, and are good feminists or dignified patriarchs. So are gorillas. Never, ever say anything negative about an elephant or a gorilla. Elephants may attack people’s property, destroy their crops, and even kill them. Always take the side of the elephant. Big cats have public-school accents. Hyenas are fair game and have vaguely Middle Eastern accents. Any short Africans who live in the jungle or desert may be portrayed with good humour (unless they are in conflict with an elephant or chimpanzee or gorilla, in which case they are pure evil).

After celebrity activists and aid workers, conservationists are Africa’s most important people. Do not offend them. You need them to invite you to their 30,000-acre game ranch or ‘conservation area’, and this is the only way you will get to interview the celebrity activist. Often a book cover with a heroic-looking conservationist on it works magic for sales. Anybody white, tanned and wearing khaki who once had a pet antelope or a farm is a conservationist, one who is preserving Africa’s rich heritage. When interviewing him or her, do not ask how much funding they have; do not ask how much money they make off their game. Never ask how much they pay their employees.

Readers will be put off if you don’t mention the light in Africa. And sunsets, the African sunset is a must. It is always big and red. There is always a big sky. Wide empty spaces and game are critical—Africa is the Land of Wide Empty Spaces. When writing about the plight of flora and fauna, make sure you mention that Africa is overpopulated. When your main character is in a desert or jungle living with indigenous peoples (anybody short) it is okay to mention that Africa has been severely depopulated by Aids and War (use caps).

You’ll also need a nightclub called Tropicana, where mercenaries, evil nouveau riche Africans and prostitutes and guerrillas and expats hang out.

Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care. ■

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ARREST JOSEPH KONY….but before you do, please buy the $250 Kit to help you do that!

Okay, if $250 is too much, you can buy a cheap bracelet…only $10, but wait…want a special bracelet?…it will only cost you $30.  Don’t want a bracelet…then how about a T-shirt?

Oh wait… have you watched the documentary? Cried a little? You might have even been very angry that such a man exist… Alright. So what do you know about Joseph Kony and the LRA?  How about that Kony, is not actually in Uganda? at this moment, he could be ANYWHERE in the East African region.  Oh yea, and those numbers of the children who are still child soldiers- exaggerated.

Ah but forget that! The documentary says that Joseph Kony must go…and so he shall, by you going to the Invisible children website and donating or making a purchase. By the time you check out, you have probably forgotten who Joseph Kony is, and child soldiers…wait what child soldiers. But as a college kid, or young white American, you feel REALLY empowered, and very good about yourself because you have “helped some poor children in Uganda”.

Allow me to break down Kony 2012 for you.  A couple of years, some young Americans went to Africa and “discovered” that alas children in Uganda were being made into killing machines. They made a movie about it… it went rapid around campuses, and Invisible Children- the movie and organization became a humanitarian fad.  However, as the years went by, these young Americans romanticized these Invisible children, and were emotionally stuck on Kony, refusing to move on.  Kony became the IT guy. The villain, the new “World’s Most Evil man”. So what did these young men do… they decided that in-spite of the 26+ years of struggle, they would be the ones to end the reign of Kony,- all in one year!…. TA DA!

Now who wouldn’t want to give money to a cause that would bring the end to such an evil man? The marketing is sexy, and oh yea Russell and his team get to hold a gun and pose for a picture…. ( I think I am confused now- weren’t they supposed to be advocating against violence and guns? Hmmm but they pose with these “kids” and guns that make them look a bit like Rambo)

This actually might make one wonder… in the Lifetime movie about Russell and his friends, which actor gets to play him… I will vote for Brad Pitt especially if he has that perfect blond cut

anyways, enough about that.

In the last couple of years, there has been such a rise of the moral and virtue infatuation with White America. It is one thing to think that you are better off than the rest of the world, but quiet another to call yourself an expert of an issue even those living in the country have been tackling for 26 years.  A kid decides to take a trip to Africa, makes a documentary about invisible children. Great! Okay, we support that. In that time, we needed the world to be aware that Joseph Kony was at large and turning children into killing machines.  But what about after 2005 when the ICC, on 33 accounts of crimes against humanity, issued an arrest warrant for Kony?…. or EVEN…when in 2006, Kony met with a UN rep?  Does Jason Russell really wants us to believe that people, those who know and understand these issues MUCH BETTER than him, did not know that Kony was a live, and he had committed crimes against humanity?

So fast-forward to 2012 and blond haired (assuming well intentioned) Russell decides that he will not rest until Kony is arrested. But wait, there is a catch…HE WILL BE ARRESTED IN 2012.  Let us forget the whole ideology behind this foolishness…but really, in a couple of months, you are going to get TECHNOLOGY to track Kony down? Does it even matter that Kony and his cronies are not in Uganda? Even as the government of Uganda affirms that because of the documentary its going to do everything possible to capture Kony. You have to wonder, if Kony is not in Uganda, how is Museveni and his set of cronies going to arrest Kony? Better yet…How is Russell and his army going to really capture this man?  I mean, about 26 years later, they still haven’t caught this man…but 2012 is the magic year. ( On a side note…I want to know what is magical about 2012)…maybe Russel could enlighten me on this.

Let us be fair…the film is IDIOTIC.  Yes, it is said. it is foolish, it is insulting to the MANY Ugandan NGOs and individuals who have actually been doing work on the ground.  In fact, it is disrespectful to every African who knows that this film is an ego booster and a moral check for Russell and his friends. Yes, they made Invisible children, and the hype has died down…so whats next… LET THE WORLD KNOW WHO JOSEPH KONY IS…except, the world already knows Kony.

Unfortunately, these self-proclaimed experts on Uganda have forgotten about Museveni.  Where was Jason Russell when the youth were protesting around the elections in the country?  Where was the Stop Museveni campaign? Does Russell and his associates really think that Museveni and his band of brothers did not know where Kony was? Did they not think that it was important to address the issue of Museveni, him being one of the worst  undercover murderer and collaborator in many regional conflicts?  What about rehabilitating the children who have managed to escape the fighting?

These “activists” and I really call them that in the lightest manner possible, are more harmful to progress in Africa. yes, the world needs to be AWARE…(such a sexy word), the world needs to know, but what happens after awareness? And what happens when you are making people aware the the LEAST possible facts possible?

It is rather sad, and even to a point disgusting, that people are eating up this PR stunt. Trust me, like many other social movements, this one will die down in a month (if we are even that lucky).  What is disappointing is that even some African Activists are eating this bullocks up. They are swallowing this maniac attempt to boost an ego of washed up activists whose inability to move on has caused them to morally decide the fate of people they barely understand.

The video is moving. Truly. It is touching to the soul. Right music, right scenes….hey, how do you think Hollywood has managed to have so many blockbusters?  But it is a sham. The movie makers either have no idea what is going on, or they do and they are completely misrepresenting the issues at hand. Either way, they need to stop the pretense, an face the fact that they are making a lot of money at the expense of children in Uganda and the Kony name.  It is a good marketing campaign for all that its worth.

But I maybe wrong. I might be completely out of touch with those Ugandans who are pissed off because another white kid decided to be their savior. (sorry, diplomacy failed me there)… And off course jeopardizing the work of those in Uganda.

If I am wrong…maybe someone could enlighten me: How does buying a $250 kit, camping outside for one night, t-shirts and a bracelet, stop Kony, and get him arrested?

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From Dinner Talk to Action- What African Independance means.

About two years ago, there was an article by the NY Times, that featured Senegal’s celebration of their independence 50 years later. The 50-year celebration was to be observed by all of France’s former colonies. That was all good and well, the only disappointment was that the real celebrations were not taking place in Africa, but in France. Leaders from Senegal, Mali, Niger, Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mauritania, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad and Madagascar were all invited to Paris to parade their troops along the Champs-Elysées on Bastille Day, the national holiday of their ex-colonial ruler.  Wouldn’t this strike one as odd? To celebrate your independence, you had to go to the land of the former colonial powers. That was a shame…one can only hope that Senegal still feels the brunt of that shame.
In the next four or so years, several other African countries were  following suit in celebrating a whole 50 years of independence. Countries like Senegal, in building a huge statue bronze, wished to bring about pan-Africanism or they wished African Renaissance. However, since Africa is free in word and not in deed, one had to wonder why they were spending good-earned money on frivolities that would end up in dust.

But what is there to really celebrate?

The last fifty years have given little to celebrate about. Africa has been the epicenter of wars, famine, pestilences, and some very very bad leadership. The African is no better off than he was under the colonial rulers. The land is not his own, the food he produces is not enough to give him income, and the leaders he trusts to look out for his interests steal whatever little is left and puts it in an off-shore account. This is not to mention international players including governments that are in pretense of caring only to depress that African even more. And don’t forget the corporations who use him as means of cheap labor. – yet, he is INDEPENDENT. ( There must be some other meaning of independence other than being able to navigate freely etc).

Indeed, other than being alive, and having been well endowed with complex nature and beauty, the African has little to celebrate as far as independence goes. -maybe being a live is enough reason to celebrate?- It it not a total catastrophe off course. There are things to be admired (otherwise, it would be rather depressing). There are cities that have been modernized and they seem to be working with some sort of efficiency. This is to say that it is not all gloom, but for the 90% that is rather dark, there needs to be solutions. Sadly, while it would be entertainingly pissy to blame all of Africa’s problems on international players and the African leaders, the people are also to blame. It might be time to realize that Africa is not a monarchy, nor a family business. Africans have to take a stand, for the AU has miserably failed them. If the African man is to have something to celebrate about, it will be up to him make that happen.

Africans are known to talk about politics. In fact, in African societies or communities, politics embody every aspect of life.  At the dinner table especially, Africans will gather and lament on political issues that affect their communities. They will come up with solutions that never leave the dinner table. At the  of the day, nothing gets done and the next day, the dinner talk resume.

With new revolutions rising, and having seen the Arab Spring come into a fall too soon, maybe it is time to take the Dinner talk into action. Young Africans might need to really put their words into action or else doom is the word of the day.

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