What it means to me to be a young African leader

18th October 2019

Young people have the power to make a difference. Raleigh alumni Kennedy was recently named as one of the 100 most influential young Africans for his work as the CEO of communications agency Serengeti Bytes. He writes about the power of young people to be leaders as members of what he calls the 'generation unlimited'.

When I learnt that I have made it to the 100 Most Influential Young Africans, I was at loss as what to do with it. However, nothing felt flat and everything was meaningful. Checking the long list with spectacular biographical details, I was convinced that a new generation of young Africans is rising. Hailing from different parts of the continent and working in diverse industries, we all had one thing in common – to achieve excellence, despite the barriers.

100 of the most influencial young Africans. Kennedy is one of them.

Being on that list reminds me that there is a lot to be done in taking Africa to where it should be. Moving our homes from the verge of uncertainties to something definite and better. Being better for the land and our people. Does it sound a cliché? Maybe it does. But with patience and consistency, it can definitely be done.

It does not matter where and how you make a change. I made it onto this list through my work as the young CEO of Serengeti Bytes. Earlier this year, a client approached our company for support in publishing and marketing his book. It was the first book to both of us as young people. The book turned to be the best Swahili suspense novel in Tanzania and we plan to take it to every Swahili speaking community. Against the odds not forgetting that publishing industry thrives hardly in modern settings, it reached huge success. However, if you ask me how we did that; I would just show you our impeccable team of young people, which flaunts determination, passion, and resilience.

You do not need to be told about the power of young people as you can find by yourself how the young people are the largest population phenomenon. Over 70% of Africa’s population is youth below the age of 35. That makes Africa the youngest continent on earth. Nevertheless, youth representation in decision-making levels – be it in political leadership, public service, even businesses – is still very low. Quoting Sahara Reporter in ‘the youth crisis and our collective challenge’; the youth have been debased and criminalized; they have been portrayed as a menace and social nuisance to society. Going down to our roots, we are far from being the lost generation as we move things ways better and further than those before us do.

Young leaders in Africa, just like everywhere across the world, are children of technology. Reflecting on how young people have been able to demonstrate their power, I dare to quote a daring example from the #NotTooYoungToRun movement in Nigeria. At first, it was taken as a chase for clicks, but it turned out to be a successful movement in redressing underrepresentation of prominent parts of the population across the globe. That is just a small part of the action needed, which leaves more to be desired. With everything at stake, we should now seek a more diversified and inclusive tagline, #NotTooYoungToMakeADifference.

In the future, there is hope embedded in our aspirations. Big histories have not died with the list of 100 Most Influential Young Africans. Everywhere, young people are the same and yet so different. We are railing against status quo and all sorts of injustices. It is the dawn for the young generation. What a time and what a generation to be alive. Here we are, the generation unlimited!


The voice of young leaders should be heard. Is there is an issue that you are passionate about? Write a blog for us and share your voice. Get in touch at alumni@raleighinternational.org 

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