“Who will keep peace in Africa now that colonialists have left?” This was the question that generated the most debate during the morning session of the Africa Day celebrations in parliament this past week. It was a question posed by the Executive Director for the Centre of Conflict Resolution Dr. Adekeye Adebajo during his impassioned speech summarising the state of the continent. Leaders who refuse to step down, corruption, violent extremism are some of the reasons that he said stood in the way of Africa’s development. His moving speech generated a lot of reaction, especially among the young people in the audience. We spoke to a few young people and here’s what they had to say:
Theo Petron – Philippi Youth Development Council
“Leaders should be accountable. We can’t expect peace without our leaders taking part in the process – inside and outside of parliament.”
Yonela Mazuka – Philippi Youth Development Council
Mazuka said the question was asked incorrectly, “You can’t start with peace. We need to start with the root cause of the problem first.” He went on to add that African issues can only be solved by Africans, “we are not inferior or incapable to such an extent that we cannot deal with our own affairs.”
Edward Mfulwane – Pan-Africanist Youth Congress of Azania (PAYCO)
“Colonisers haven’t gone away, they may have left physically but their systems are still in place today.” Edward said the question have been focused on what creates the conflicts in order for us to know how to resolve and prevent them in future.
Onke Jezile – Learners Movement of South Africa
Jezile emphasised the importance of African identity by saying, “There will only be peace in Africa when we know who we are as Africans.” Only when we can define who we are can we resolve the many issues that plague our continent. She said that we need to address our differences so that we can be united as Africans.
Photography by Bulumko Gana
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