African Youths & the chicanery of leadership.
Recently I stumbled upon the pamphlet of a youth seminar which had the theme “Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Leaders” and for some unexplainable reasons I felt very uncomfortable with the theme. I couldn’t really pin point my grouse until it hit me that Yesterday’s youths are actually today’s leaders and not otherwise.
I observed that there seem to be a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the concept of leadership in Africa, many have been made to believe that leadership exclusively exists in political offices, government agencies or even large corporations, forgetting that leadership also exists in the minutest of interactions with people.
Leadership involves seizing the initiative in your own sphere of influence, making a change among family, friends, peers, colleagues and communities, not necessarily because you are going to get paid or recognized but because that is the culture of true leaders. They make good things happen even when there is no praise or glory.
Yesterday’s youths are young individuals who envisage occupying top positions in life and doing great things in future but are ignorant of the fact that whatever future you picture, begins with an action that you must start practicing now. They are people who still do not understand that leadership takes a bottom to top approach- If you want to lead a nation, start by leading yourself, family and those around you now and not later. Before David in the Bible could lead a kingdom, he first led his father’s sheep.
As Hugh Laurie says “It’s a terrible thing in life to wait until you’re ready. There is almost no such thing as ready. There’s only now. And you may as well do it now”.
Many undergraduates still live in the deception that real life starts when they graduate from the university. The truth is that real life starts the day you realize and work towards fulfilling your purpose. Many of the youths (which I am) need to be urgently told that their ‘real’ life started yesterday.
The world needs more youths who are awoke and alive to their responsibility. Don’t wait for tomorrow’s opportunities, maximize and exhaust the one today offers.
Just like Robert Kennedy aptly puts. “This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease”
Olutokun Emmanuel is the Lead Partner, SpotOn Africa, an initiative dedicated to the development and empowerment of African youths.
He is a Brand Strategist, Digital Marketing Specialist and a 2016 Ashoka Scholar.