It is evident that young people in Africa make up to 60% of the population and this indicates that there is a great need to harness on the involvement of young people in order to ensure that there exist freedom and respect for human rights within a society. However, there are about three major concepts that need to be focused on in order to ensure freedom, and these concepts of tolerance, peace as well as the effective application of the rule of law.
Moreover, it should be noted that freedom is not only limited to the listed concepts, but they serve as the most crucial concepts that need to be applied at all times in order to ensure that freedom for all citizens is not limited in any way or infringed. Peace is usually associated with the absence of war and to some extent, this is very true. However, peace is when there is no poverty and the people within the community equally enjoy the prosperity within their own community. However, so many people in Africa are victims of poverty hence challenging their freedom as citizens to pursue their desired goals and ambitions so as to provide for themselves and to the economy of the country, therefore in order to overcome such a challenge it is time for young people to be more involved in ensuring freedom for all.
One basic example will be that in my very own community, poverty has escalated due to various reasons such unemployment, cronyism, just to mention a few; which has affected many young people both in the urban and rural areas. Therefore, in order to challenge such an issue and advance freedom in my community; the following aspects should be maintained so as to create a solution to this issue/ problem.
These aspects include training, research, conducting more campaigns or parades so as to advance the importance of maintaining peace, tolerance and the effective application of the rule of law. As discussed in the latter, peace is when all members of the community enjoy the benefits equally whereas tolerance is respecting the different opinions, ideas of others irrespective of those ideas being different from your own personal point of view and lastly the rule of law is when there is no bias in the application of law and when the law principles are equally applied to all members of the community despite the status of a person. In terms of training, young people should be trained on the essence of peace, tolerance and effective application of the rule of law, and such pieces of training should be conducted on regular basis in schools colleges or universities as well as including young people working with non-governmental organisations.
However, before this training can be conducted a proper, detailed research should be carried out so as to find out the different opinions of people within the community concerning such a problem and the exact number of people affected. The research will enable the researcher to be more informative and be able to share with others the possible ideas that could be the solutions of advancing freedom. The other aspect will be that of campaigns, campaigns usually educate others on a specific matter which is a concern within a community or raise awareness. Trained youth should conduct campaigns in schools and such campaigns should be informative, direct and reflect the possible goals of conducting such campaigns. Not only should these campaigns be informative but should edge more young people to be more involved, edge more young people to establish groups, which will vigorously fight for peace, tolerance within a community in order for all members to enjoy the prospects of freedom. Such can be done by holding more campaigns or parades in schools, which will teach students about peace and how poverty can be overcome when prosperity is equally shared and enjoyed by all citizens within a community.
Furthermore, local stakeholders should form partnerships with young or youth leaders that advocate for peace and tolerance. Therefore, with that, in conclusion, in order to advance freedom, more young people should be involved and the discussed concepts should be upheld at all times. Just as Nelson Mandela said, “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lesego Gaetwesepe is a law graduate and she is intrinsically passionate about human rights, community building and empowering young people. She is a participant at the YALI Regional Leadership Center in Southern Africa and was also part of the #ageofconsent project. She was also part of a project facilitated by NACA (NATIONAL AIDS COORDINATING AGENCY). Ms Lesego is currently a volunteer at Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project and also represents the organisation at the UNESCO Pan African Youth Network for building a Culture of Peace, and she is also taking up training as an ASFL (African Students for Liberty) Local Coordinator.