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‘I often meet the real leaders of Africa (Youth) searching for external transformational leadership. Essentially they are looking for themselves.’ – Brian Tamuka Kagoro

A good number of us were peeved with the recent development of Zimbabwe’s 90 year old president Robert Mugabe, being elected as the Chair of the African Union. Several articles flooded the internet with people expressing utmost disappointment and anger; others declaring that Africa, as usual, had set itself up for failure considering its vision of a transformed Africa with forward looking and pragmatic leadership.

Others labeled it as a ceremonial appointment taking into consideration that the election of the chair which rotates on a sub regional basis was to go to the southern Africa states.

In the midst of all this however, I wish to challenge you young leaders. Change begins with you and not leaders in high seating offices. Whether you, I, eastern or western powers critic or welcome the said elections, we are responsible of what we do on a day to day basis.

Be the change

To illustrate this let me share an excerpt from the Power of Now  by Eckhart Tolle.

A beggar had been sitting by the side of the road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by.

“Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap.

“I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “what’s that you are sitting on?’

“Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.”

“Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger.

“No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.”

“Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.

I am that stranger who has nothing to give you and who is telling you to look inside. Not inside any box, as in the parable, but somewhere even closer: inside yourself. From what you choose to do on a daily basis, be it socially, economically or politically, be the change you wish to see in Africa.

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Nyaguthii Wanguii

Nyaguthii Wangui Maina is a Pan African enthusiast and activist whose main passion is the youth and girl’s and women’s empowerment; she is a blogger who believes in telling the African story from an African perspective. Nyaguthii volunteers as a weekly columnist of YouthHub Africa; a cyber-community for young Africans involved in social change. She is also keenly interested in governance, democracy and policy issues and blogs on the African Union Commission’s DGTrends platform. In Kenya, Nyaguthii is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and works with the Permanent Mission of Kenya to the UN offices in Nairobi. She tweets @nm_wangui and blogs here

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rotimi

Rotimi Olawale, co-founder of youthhubafrica.org is a youth development expert. For more than six years he has been involved in leading youth advocacy efforts mainly around the Millennium Development Goals. In 2006, he represented Nigeria as a youth ambassador at the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit held at the UN Headquarters in New York. Rotimi has held several global leadership positions including; member, UNFPA Global Youth Advisory Panel for 2 years; member, African Youth Panel. Rotimi is currently involved in shaping local, national and global policies to benefit youth and also leverage opportunities for young people. He was listed by the Nigerian government as one of 15 Nigerian youth on the world stage in 2008.
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