The future we can build together
29 November 2016 | Columns
Regarded as one of the best philosophers that ever lived, Plato’s view is that republics are to take full responsibility of three things; the prevailing of justice, the defence and the education of citizens. All the other things are up to the individuals to search and find on their own.
Former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt once lamented similar sentiments. “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”
Plato further goes to say that it’s the responsibility of governments to cultivate and bring forward its citizens’ best side. However, when governments fail in their jobs, the pressure on the individuals mounts to correct that. Therefore, those people should break away from dependence and work hard towards building a future for themselves.
No one is immune - the fundamental difference is that some triumph over challenges while some become the challenge. It only takes preparation to triumph, you reap only what you have sown.
This is to the broken, hopeless, the almost or already at the point of quitting and the frustrated young people with no future prospects of what the future will be. Problems are defined as problems only if you define them so. Some see them as temporal re-enforcers that prepare them for tomorrow and others see them as teachers signaling that they were meant for something else rather than the previously failed pursuit, while others just give up.
If you believe you can do that which you are destined to do, you have to step forward and accept the task presented. It may require one getting several negative comments from external factors. It is also significant to note that among the external factors are the people who pretend to want to see one succeed. It is in your hands to choose how you take the advice.
As people, we have a role to play in our lives, and our existence is not by mistake. We are part and parcel of the leaders of tomorrow. It is important that one must realise one’s full potential and self-visualise the better person. Oftentimes you feel helpless and you conclude that there is absolutely nothing you can contribute to society. The question is what have you tried? How many times? The wise have spoken also that “it is not about how long you have tried something but how you tried it”. In short you will not get a different result if you continue the same way.
Notice that what pleases your heart more than another endeavour you undertake is where you are the ardent than the other. Quoting Chinua Achebe who says “it is writing that when I am doing it I do not feel like I should be doing something else.”
It is sad that youth with the potential to contribute to this country are in liquor stores feeling worthless. For many years, the world has been made to believe the highest earning job is in the mining and agricultural sectors, or in engineering. It stunned the world when the late Dr Myles Munroe famously stated that “it is the graveyard,” that has the richest resources, “because that is where you will find unfinished books and unfulfilled dreams and visions.” What we see rather is an identity crisis in our fellow youth who have given up on their dreams.
The United Nations convened at a conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012 to discuss how they wanted to build a future. They endorsed a document “The future we want” with their common vision being renewing their commitment to a sustainable future for the planet and the generations of people who will come after. They acknowledged eradicating poverty as the greatest global challenge facing the world today. They then vowed to freeing humanity from poverty and hunger. The results of that UN conference are a long process, but governments in Africa must provide mechanisms to help young people to prosper.
We need to work hard to achieve our success but governments should also step in and help us do that which we cannot do individually.
In some instances the youth are isolated, perhaps busy pursuing individual interests with no hope of coming together or collaborating in a business idea. The future we can build is about piercing the soul of the individual with a sense of relevance in his daily physical awakening. It is not just a calling to the youth in the shebeens, in the unintended ventures or unwise pursuits, it is a calling to the genius who is pursuing his endeavour individually to involve those around him. That is why in today’s Astute Conversation, we have not collaborated just for the sake of doing so but for the sake of instilling an awakening of the forgotten dream of an individual youth. There is an African saying, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go as a group.” It’s a legacy of togetherness that lasts because if we are together, if young people stand together as one, there is nothing they cannot achieve.
*Joseph Kalimbwe and Goli Banda are final-year students studying towards their Honours degrees at the University of Namibia.