In an era in which government is the private enterprise of politicians, this generation is required to be more alive to the need for education than ever.
The lives of opulence politicians exhibit while voters’ beg for a loaf of bread, good education, health facilities and access to clean water has always been worrisome, but its disproportionality has taken on new significance in an election year. The definition of government and governance are turned upside down in this part of the world by politicians as education has become so stifled, that young people do not understand the language of politics in order to clearly understand that there is no substantive and inclusive democracy without informed citizens.
It is imperative for youth to reclaim higher education as a tool of democracy and to connect their work to broader social issues. We must also assume the role of public intellectuals who understand there’s no genuine democracy without a culture of questioning, self-reflection and being genuinely critical of authority and the powers that be.
It’s time for youth to develop a culture of questioning that enables them and others to speak against injustice. We need to make power accountable and to embrace economic and social justice as part of the mission of higher education. In other words, academics need to teach young people how to hold politicians and those in authority accountable.
Democracy should not be turned into a tool of the elite, for the elites and by the elites to keep the society benign. People’s opinions are now judged by their ethnic, religious and political affiliation but not by the merit of their intellectual engagement. The duel between the former president Ian Khama and the current president Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has given birth to debates around presumed issues of tribalism while ignoring the real issues such as the existent threat to our democracy and economy; which is corruption and the possible subversion of the constitution.
Society is filled with capable patriots who are demoralized in spirit. The same elements who for decades barely made an impact on the development of our nation are still the ones at corridors of power steering the ship away from mother justice, solely for the purposes of protecting their own selfish interests.
These are the impediments against the youth, and a youth that does not weaponize its mind with knowledge will be victims of the vagrancies of the time — a time in which the security and foundations enjoyed by earlier generations have been abandoned. Youth are not cowards. They are simply withdrawn and not participating with zeal in building this democracy, thereby allowing politicians of yesteryear with a narrative littered with tribalistic connotations, as opposed to preaching national identity, to govern the day.
Youths must overlook ethnic and political affiliations and become their brother’s keeper, because it is not merely a struggle for today only but for the survival of the future. The youth must not fence-sit and pray for sympathy while posterity is in imminent danger.
Young people must be steadfast, generous, honest, civic-minded and think about their lives as a project rooted in the desire to create a better world.They must expand their dreams and think about what it means to build a future marked by a robust and inclusive democracy. In doing so, they need to embrace acts of solidarity, work to expand the common good and collectivize compassion. Such practices will bestow upon them the ability to govern wisely rather than simply be governed maliciously.
It is imperative that all youth wear the spirit of national consciousness while recognising a much broader global community and build within themselves a lifestyle of moral uprightness and stays focused on the hopes and aspirations despite the vicissitudes of life’s torrential waves. Youths, stand for what is right and not what the politicians tells you is right.