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Four Ways To Create A Future Informed Participatory Africa

Growing up I have been told by those who fed me with information, that we are over 12 million people in Zimbabwe (my country). The surprising part is that when I needed to compare the census figure and that of those who vote, a pool of confusion I would find myself in.

The level of participation of Africans made me to call the census folks liars, not knowing that the participation phobia is the disease that most Africans suffer from and was the chief cause of the confusion I found myself in. Older generations have failed to participate, but repeating your parents’ mistake knowingly would point the highest degrees of foolishness that one bears.

Lack of participation usually results in lack of information: lack of information leads to lack of participation as well…the intertwined laws of a civilized community. There are four basic things that have to be done for the young generation in a bid to maximize participation, for democracy is the method that the founders of this country and continent at large chose.

  1. >Modernisation of the news >If we are to make a general survey asking the children about the most boring programme on television and radio, the majority if not all, would point at the famous news and the most boring piece of paper being the newspaper. There are youths and even old people who do not like news because they hated it since the first day they knew about its existence. The reason for the hatred of this information injecting programmes/projects is that it’s not modernized and made as family friendly: it’s more like news is for grownups or those fathers who wake up early in the morning for work. There is need for the modernization of news in order to increase participation and awareness. Just like the way the news is categorized in accordance with languages, the same should happen with age as well. News for the children and the youths should be designed, creation of informative cartoons not just funny non human figures that teach our children to be clowns orally and action wise too. For future Africans to be participative and be civilized children and youths friendly news programmes and newspapers should be taken as a priority.
  2. >Children and youths participation in news and media programmes >There are a number of media programmes designed for young people but decorative participation has made the targeted group to lose interest. “Anything for us without us is against us”, is a saying that most youths on this continent base on, if an initiative is said to be for youths let it be so, give the young people chance to run the initiative from start to end. If adults jerk in, then how are the young people going to learn? How are they going to run it in the future? Information imparting projects for youths let them be run by the youths, and adults just need to support financial and through some guidance, for a face similar to mine –a fellow young person- makes me interested in the programme, motivates me as well.
  3. >Accommodative internet >Let me my point with a personal example, I joined Facebook for the first time in 2009 (I was 11 then) but due to the fact that it was not child friendly then I found myself deleting the account seven months down the line. I rejoined it in 2012 as a result of peer pressure for ‘Facebook absence’ would point one as a naïve folk; but still it was not good enough for me for it was as good as text messaging and viewing some people’s pictures and posts, it wasn’t fun to me still. The Facebook guys knew and they kept on upgrading introducing new features like reactions, commenting through pictures, emojies e.t.c and today even my young sister who is 13 is addicted to Facebook because it friendly to everyone. The internet is a global community where a lot of people… especially in this 21st century era… acquire their information from. Youths friendly website are of importance for they play a crucial role in informing young people. For example in Zimbabwe we have www.zimleadershipmag.co.zw a website that covers Zimbabwean leadership related issues only and is designed in a way that its friendly to any type of visitors, and there should be many that covers many aspects of young people’s lives for the internet is now the source of fun as well as information for young people, thus youths friendly websites is a way to go.
  4. >Creation of habitual electors >The wise men who survived before us once said that, ‘bad leaders are elected by good people who do not vote’, therefore for one to voice his or her concerns or what he or she either likes or dislikes the ballot paper and the booth are the right tools to use. Usually the problem that Africa faces is that of vocal and non voting members of the community and it’s a habit that has developed amongst many grown up Africans, but that’s not the end for a glimpse of hope there is, through the creation of habitual electors. It’s easy to teach and hard to unteach, so Africans should be caught young to avoid this schizophrenic actions that Africa is suffering from now. Children as young as the first grade should be taught to elect their group leaders, class monitors and prefects. Even at church young people should learn to elect each other for leadership positions for it train them to be civilized and be participative, they would have the capability of differentiating a good and a bad leader. The leaders will also know the actions that sustain them and those that can terminate the office; it also makes the leaders to develop a sense of servitude. The habit of participating then would be developed and in the future we will not have problems with people who complain about political leadership yet they’ve never stepped into a voting booth.

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