DAY 26: Celebrating Self (in a broader national context)

by Koliwe Majama, at Harare, Zimbabwe, 22 July 2017

The wisdom I wish to share is inspired by a quotation in my favourite book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which I got as a gift from my best friend in 2009. The book is about a young Andalusian shepherd who journeys to Egypt, after having a recurring dream about finding treasure there. The quote reads, “The sheep had taught him something even more important: that there was a language in the world that everyone understood, a language the boy had used throughout the time he was trying to improve things at the shop. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired”

I tried to organize a day of reflection on accomplishment and purpose. In the Global South there is a general depreciation in the recognition/importance of self in critical socio, political and economic processes not only at national but regional level by especially the youth. This is evidenced by fewer young people participating in critical nation building initiatives, regional platforms/debate and contributing to a vision for a better tomorrow, for particularly Africa as a continent. These reflections are critical at this moment as a means of motivating greater participation in nation building, raising consciousness on the importance of having an opinion/vision for a nation and ‘being counted’ in spite of the position one takes — as long as it is driven by ones patriotism.

Saturday 15 July 2017 was a Day of Learning that marks the beginning of a forty day journey to curate motivational statements by young Africans to inspire participation in national-building initiatives processes in their respective countries.

The journey dubbed #self40 acknowledges that there is low participation by the youth on the African continent on important social, cultural, political and political issues that will tomorrow affect their well- being. Fewer young people dare to take the lead, initiate or have an opinion on current debates and processes, such as elections, law and policies and development in their country or at regional level.

Journalist, media and digital rights activist, Koliwe Majama’s Day of Learning held in Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare with nine dynamic young Zimbabweans formulated the introduction of a motivational text that will, hopefully, cut across politics, religion, gender and class to motivate and spur into action a newer generation of influencers on the African continent.

The Day was attended by a carefully selected dynamic initiating group of this exciting initiative include aspiring politician, Fadzayi Mahere, Feminist, Fungai Machirori, Disability rights activist, Masimba Kuchera, Communications specialist and activist, Nyasha Musandu Visual artist and lecturer, Masimba Hwati, Senior Political Journalist, Wongai Zhangazha, Young member of the Jehovahs Witness Church, Sherman Baloyi, Artists Manager, Chido Musodza and motivational speaker, Tinashe Nyaruwanga. The group shared their experiences in mobilizing and participation in their different spheres.

The group employed Koliwe’s word technique, ‘Word check’ to reach a consensus on the thematic issues for the forty day motivational journey. Each participant tcame up with three words to summarise what, from their experience, would be of importance in as far as inspiring or motivating young Africans. The top three common issues from the list included Creativity, passion and inclusivity. Each participant was then asked to come up with between one to three sentences using each or all of the words. An editing process to merge them together followed and come up with a compact introduction, which reads:

I am the 21st century. I am a child of the new age. Passion is the fuel that drives me. Much as I am excluded, misunderstood, sometimes deemed to be a nuisance because I was ‘born free’, my voice can be heard and validated if I am connected and made part of the process to build my nation and my continent. Inclusion in is an acknowledgement that regardless of gender, sexuality, race, religious or ideological persuasions, my thoughts, ideas and opinions matter and can be counted.

On Friday 21 July, 2017, the text, will officially be shared as a link on the Age of Wonderland Facebook and Twitter accounts and a call made for contributions to the motivational article under the hashtag. The contributions to the original text may be one sentence or more but limited to forty words. Although the exact contributions may not be incorporated, the curation will attempt to include as many of the ideas and issues raised in the week as possible. Hopefully the text will cut across contexts and realities on the continent.

Every Monday, within the next forty days, that end on 9 September, 2017, the new curated text will be publicised to ensure that the followers are part of its development.