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Africa’s Rising Youth, Shaping a New Era of Change and Political Representation

Africa’s Rising Youth, Shaping a New Era of Change and Political Representation 


There’s been a peculiar trend among today’s African youth—a generation eager to change politics and the economy. It began with Nigeria, notably the October 2020 #EndSARS movement, then the #OBIdient movement during the 2023 General elections. More recently, we’ve witnessed several coups in African countries, and more are on the horizon.

The rising revolutionary movement of this current generation can be attributed to the accumulated anguish and hardship experienced by the average African. Africa, despite its rich resources, has faced one major problem, and that’s leadership. This leadership issue has contributed to the stagnation that, even previous generations before this present one, had found intolerable. Some countries have had over sixty years of independence, but little progress to show for it.

Taking a quick retrospection at previous generations, starting with the generation that saw the birth of independent Africa and the rise of nationalists. These nationalists were the young minds behind the revolution that led to the independence we enjoy today.

After independence came the post-independence era, marked by disillusionment. During this time, there were numerous military coups across Africa. Many countries experienced coups due to disappointment with the indigenous politicians who took over from colonial rulers.

While the period between post-independence and the contemporary era was marked by people who endured the aftermath of military rule. They often claim that the experience under military rule was worse than what we get from our democratic leaders. This generation would prefer to endure the current conditions rather than fight for change.

However, the hardship has become so unbearable, and as a result of this long-standing frustration, recent events in Ghana provide a stark example of the outburst of the present generation, and their cry for a change. Ghana saw a massive three-day protest. 

Initially, the government responded harshly, arresting over 50 protestors, including journalists. To this, Bernard Mornah, a political activist, warned 

“Let president Akuffo-Addo and the Ghana police service be told that anytime anyone resists peaceful change, violence change would occasion. We don’t want to engage in violence, but if they push us to the wall, we have no other option.”

The protest, which was tagged #occupyjubileehouse, lasted until Saturday (Sep. 23), despite downpour and sun. More young people joined the protests, each of the days, marching with placards demanding political change and economic reform. Protestors were bent on going to the seat of government, Golden Jubilee House, but the police barred their way.

Ghanaian celebrities, including Stonebwoy, John Dumelo and many others, lend their voices to the protest, urging the government to act.

However, some youths are concerned that the protest may achieve little without identifying suitable leaders to restore stability. Without this, the protest could inadvertently benefit the opposition party, which they see as still controlled by the same group of elites.

Protesters run after police fired teargas during a June 12 Democracy Day rally in Abuja, Nigeria June 12, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

This mounting discontent among African youth highlights a critical demand for improved leadership and governance. Much like their predecessors, who fought for independence, this new generation refuses to accept the existing state of affairs. They are at the forefront of a movement for substantial change. The outcome of these collective actions will ultimately shape Africa’s future, offering the potential for a more promising and stable tomorrow as the momentum for transformation continues to grow.

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