On Saturday 10th October 2015 I facilitated a youth forum on Social Transformation in Eldoret Kenya organized and hosted by The UniLife Movement. The event brought together over 50 students from local universities in Kenya, youth leaders and young professionals to discuss the ‘Role of Youth in Positive Social Transformation’
The group came to a mutual agreement that Social Transformation can be simply defined as ‘The change we want to see in our societies today’. These young social transformers concur with me that everyone has the capacity and responsibility to effect social change.
They identified a number of issues that we need to change in the Kenyan and African society today including tribalism and stereotype, corruption, lack of interest among the youth, laziness making youth to want easy wealth and wrong value systems. I will pick a couple of these issues and share with you the arguments that this focused group presented.
- Tribalism and stereotyping
The group of young social transformers was really concerned by the extent to which youth today are propagating tribalism even within their colleges. This has gone to the extent that people are skeptical about saying their second names for the fear of stereotyping. It is sad that this is happening in the corridors of higher learning institutions where the top creme of our country are expected to be gaining knowledge and skills.
One lady from a particular region shared her anger when after introducing herself to her classmates, they asked her what she was doing in university yet girls her age were already married in their community. Listening to this young lady who has come out against all odds of wrong cultural practices to pursue higher education only to be rebuked and stereotyped by her classmates, it got me shedding a tear for this poor nation. It gets me to wonder how much this education is helping our country, if at all it is.
- Laziness and easy wealth
It was clearly brought out that youth today have rich celebrities as their role models. Many of these youth want o own mansions drive luxury cars and live lavishly like their celeb role models, yet they don’t want to work hard for it.
A high school teacher shared how her student is selling drugs and not taking education seriously, claiming he wants to get rich like a popular city politician. According to the teacher, the student sees no need of education when he can make thousands a day selling drugs.
This is the sad truth that is hidden from us every day; we pretend we don’t see when our own young people get lost due to lack of proper mentorship. It is so sad for me that young people want to get rich like so and so without understanding the story behind someone’s riches. Most of the rich people admired by our youth today have come from grass to grace in a long journey of struggles, persistence and resilience. But unless they share their stories, our youth will always think it was a walk in the park.
As much as we have systems in place to combat corruption, from the forum it is clear that corruption is still a great hindrance to Social Transformation. It is sad to hear a young person aged 22 sharing how many times they have been coerced into paying a bribe to get a service they are entitled to. It is even alarming to hear a first year student say how much in bribe they had to pay to get admission into a college they qualified for.
This is the reality that we don’t provide platforms to discuss. One lady, an aspiring model was very concerned that she could be asked by judges or organizers of a modeling event to give sexual favors or bribes in order to be announced the winner of the modeling competition. I am sure we can all relate to this in some way or another.
If this is what our youth are exposed to from an early age, do we have any hope of having a transformed society? Do we see any light at the end of the tunnel when universities are closed up due to tribal incitements to our youth by our own leaders? When university students are getting Sexually Transmitted Degrees that they have not worked for? When we see sections of our society stereotyped on the basis of their wrong cultural practices?
The youth in this country make up over 67% of the population and if we want any social change we can only bank on them. This however, cannot be achieved when they are already contaminated by wrong value systems instilled by our lustful leaders! If at 20 a young lady has paid in kind to get an admission, course marks or win a competition, what kind of society shall we have in 20 years to come?
Verdict? Take Action!
From the Social Transformation forum by The UniLife Movement it is evident that young people need to be engaged actively in transforming their own societies. One of the ways is though such platforms and forums to discuss the reality on the ground and what they feel about it.
We the youth need to get angry! ANGRY about the immoral things going on in this society! ANGER can be a good spark to initiate social change! But we also need to be informed on the correct approaches to address these issues.
We should forget about blame games we play with politicians and realize that we have a role in transforming our societies. We should seek information and learn that hard earned wealth is long-lasting and respected. We should seek education and liberation of the mind beyond the academic corridors. We should take part in all forums that seek to expend our visions and capacities to turn challenges into opportunities.
We the youth have the numbers, we should get a common ground for effecting change in this society, we need a good environment for our children tomorrow, free from old lustful scavengers and full of focused role models and mentors. Mentorship goes beyond words of motivation, it involves getting ANGRY and joining hands to take action and make this world a better place. Our poverty, challenges, hardships and struggles are enough motivation to make Africa a great continent, I pledge my support! Do you?
Let us not wait for those who are not ready, they will find us moving; Social Transformation is a journey anyway! But like is commonly said; you can’t give what you don’t have; let every young person reflect on their value systems and get the right values that will propel their life further into success.
We all have the potential and capacity to effect positive Social Transformation, always remember to #testb4taste; BE INFORMED, BE TRANSFORMED!!