Africa’s Youth Should Rebel Says Former South African President Thabo Mbeki

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki

The youth of the African continent should prepare themselves for a rebellion against their older generation and claim their leadership role Thabo Mbeki said on Saturday.
Mbeki who was addressing the Youth 21 global leadership forum in Nairobi, Kenya said two thirds of the continent’s population was the youth and that in 2045 they would be the leaders responsible for the two billion projected continental population.

“To ensure that [the youth] actually exercises the leadership everybody rhetorically accepts and proclaims is its due, the youth must organise and ready itself to rebel, so to speak!”

“It would obviously be unnatural that I, a member of the older generation, would easily and willingly accept that younger people, my own children, should, at best, sit side-by-side with me as co-leaders, fully empowered to help determine the future of our people,” he said.

He said the new generation should define its unique and historic contribution to their societies’ development, otherwise it ran the risk of betraying its mission which would condemn the continent to “the out-dated views and prejudices of the older generations.”

He said the continent’s future depended on achieving the objectives in African Youth Charter of “peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic growth and development and gender equality” to which all African Union member states were bound to.

For the youth to take up their leadership role, it was imperative that Youth 21 global forum establish how the older generation should enable them to “discharge their obligation to exercise leadership” and “organise itself to play this role…in the in struggle for the realisation of its goals,” said Mbeki.