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Baba Buntu is an Activist Scholar and Founding Director of eBukhosini Solutions; a community-based company in Johannesburg, specializing in Afrikan-Centered Education. As a Pan-Afrikan educator, writer, mentor and practitioner, Baba Buntu has more than 30 years of experience in conceptualizing and contributing to programs on social development, innovative entrepreneurship and cultural empowerment. He has founded a number of community interventions based on practical approaches to Black Consciousness and decolonial methods. With experience from working engagements in Afrika, the Caribbean and Europe, Buntu’s passion lies within people-centred development for practical empowerment of Afrikan youth, families and communities. He holds a Doctoral and a Master Degree in Philosophy of Education from UNISA.

Do young Africans have a future?

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I constantly come across young Afrikans who just give a blank stare in response to the question: “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” You might also have asked yourself, do I have a future, and if I do, why is it so difficult to SEE it? If you are older, you might have asked yourself why so many Black youths seem to not care about their future. Here are some clues you might want to consider:

  1. Being Black

Living in an anti-Black world where your humanity is not only questioned, but ridiculed and denied, teaches you that the only place you can belong is on the margin. The centre is not available to you. To dream and envision a future, you need a centre.

  1. Living with an unresolved past

The many layers of falsified, corrupted and untold Afrikan history becomes “evidence” that you belong to a people who have never achieved, and probably never will. Over generations, this becomes accepted. To dream and envision a future, you need to know your past.

  1. Living in the Globalised Information Era.

It seems that the effect of living in the Age of Information is not necessarily empowerment, but exhaustion. The overload of information is more overwhelming than capacitating. It makes you small and insignificant. And not bothered. To dream and envision a future, you need information that empowers you.

  1. Doubting Self.

Afrikan culture has seized to be a defense/building mechanism and has become relics of ancient fluff and tourist-packaged clowning. Culture is supposed to teach you what to do when you are in trouble. Afrikan culture doesn’t teach this anymore. To dream and envision a future, you need a culture that gives you relevant tools.

  1. Not being affirmed.

Young Afrikans, increasingly, have very little sense of belonging. They come across as needy, emotional, moody, bored and craving. More than being silly and lazy, this is a result of the X-generation we allowed them to become. To dream and envision a future, you need people around you who can locate you.

We cannot shout at young people for not being ambitious, and not take a long look in our own mirrors. Who of us have taught them how to deconstruct colonialism? Respond to racism? Affirm their history? Handed over tools of relevant Afrikan culture? Woken up the spirit of resistance, warriorhood and entrepreneurship?

Maybe young Afrikans’ lack of ambition and planning skills for the future is not a result of laziness, but the dysfunctional quality of political-cultural tools that we have inherited and passed on….

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