By Sheryl Christine
“Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you.” Winona LaDuke.
When I wrote “Let’s Spark a Youth Revolution”, I had so much in mind about the youth, not just their agility or age, but their ability, interest, passion and talent to understand and identify with the world’s problems while trying to advocate, disseminate and effect change. And this is my definition of power.
In case some of you haven’t noticed, there is a changing nature of power; the youth understand problems more than before, as the society they live in today is not the society of before. With society’s decadence, the youth are the victims, scapegoats and sometimes perpetrators of murder, rape, robbery with violence and many other vices. Why? Because the government of this country doesn’t create a safe space economically, politically, socially and culturally. Therefore, this affects their mental health, leading to low productivity i in all areas of their lives.
What the youth want is inclusion and to break the cycle of unethical behaviours in political, economic, social and cultural spaces that directly affect them as this nation lacks transparency, accountability, good governance and poor ethics and ethos.
I hail Nerima Wako, the founder of Siasa Place; she’s such a powerhouse and any young person, not just the ladies, would love to be like her. She founded Siasa Place because young people were underrepresented in democratic spaces. Nothing motivates her like creating a safe space where the youth are educated about the constitution, governance and the electoral processes through social media and community engagements in different regions within Kenya. What inspires me about her is her passion for her work and how she impacts the lives of the youth.
I hail people like Tony Olela, a gender activist in Kenya. He champions the rights of both girls and boys, always ensuring that girls from marginalised communities’ access sanitary towels. He also advocates against gender-based violence and female genital mutilation, encouraging caregivers to keep girls in school to protect them from teen pregnancy and child marriage.
Sheilla Magomere, an advocate of the high court of Kenya, child legal specialist and the founder of Legal Sister, a non-profit non-political organisation that creates legal awareness, trains children on their rights and laws and provides pro bono services to underprivileged children in Kenya, who can’t access private prosecutors, ensuring they access justice whether perpetrators or victims of any offence. Sheilla believes that any minor, whether a perpetrator or victim, is entitled to good representation in court.
There are many youth in this country doing so much We celebrate y notable people like Cynthia Nafula Nyongesa, who is passionate about transforming education; Arnold Gekonge; Naipamei Kaikai, who is a champion for zero hunger, climate change and youth access to employment; Habib Omar, who is an advocate of Sexual Reproductive Rights(SRHR), and human rights defender, Tracy Mollo, who is passionate about giving opportunities to teen mums. Zaha Indimuli, through her foundation, brings young professionals from different fields to find practical and sustainable solutions to Kenya’s and the world’s issues from geopolitics, agriculture, employment, mental health, and technology. These youth may not receive recognition; however, it’s not about the recognition; it’s about the change they effect, small or big. They are a definition of power and champions.
The youth can effect positive change as well as negative change. One thing to note is that” one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I may not have recognized other youths who have impacted this country, but I applaud the young people for being the rainbow in the clouds of other young people’s lives. This is the legacy you’ve all created, and that’s why you should always be celebrated.
Remember, “Do not let anyone look down on you because of your youth, but rather set an example for the believers in love, purity, faith, action and ACTION”.