Yesterday was the long awaited TEDxLusaka talk with various speakers and performers from all walks of life sharing their ideas, knowledge, advice and hope for the African future. The theme was “The Next Chapter”. Here are some of the speakers and what they were all about:
Mulenga Kapwepwe on the importance of proverbs: She opened up the lineup of speakers and as a creative, focused on the importance of proverbs in our everyday life. She shared some examples of proverbs that were shared with her when she was younger and that have stuck with her well into adulthood, for example, when it comes to dealing with getting stuff done she has one that keeps her on her toes;
“Procrastination dug a well and the days began to fall into it”. (Translated from Bemba).
She further emphasized that “A single proverb can have a lifelong impact on your life.”
Agness Fufe on how to create jobs: she highlighted how many people think most times we need to follow the horse or what’s trending in other places to succeed but what we need to do is create jobs from the things we have around us. We should think out of the box with what we have within our reach. We need to realize that in very business we are stronger as a group than we could ever be as individuals. With the right mindset we could learn to smartly finance our businesses to grow them to larger ones, rather than seek financing from financial institutions.
Elijah Zgambo on changing our mindsets: he’s an avid supporter of the arts, having co-founded Street Culture Events and Arts. He said we live in a society where arts are sidelined but he wants to make it matter. It could be an outlet for youth to express themselves rather than get involved in illicit acts like sex, drugs and alcohol.
Julita Onabanjo on youth making the next chapter or Africa: The next chapter of Africa depends on the over 894 million youth under 33 years old across the continent. The Africa we want can be achieved if we empower young people to drive economies, by allowing them to do what they need to do. A lot of youths are championing this next chapter by airing their concerns to the AU and they have said 2017 is the year to let youth be invested in. So far, 2 African Presidents, Peter Mutharika (Malawi) and Edgar Lungu (Zambia) have pledged to advance youth empowerment. Youth have actively stated “Nothing for us, without us.” Young people must re-energize their efforts to have their issues. Dependency ratios amongst families (where one or a few people are breadwinners) have to drop to enable development. A lot of the demographic dividend studies by civil societies, government and NGOs must help to determine what population of any region must be invested in. The 3 priorities of investment in Africa should be in Education, Empowerment and Employment. The African story will not exist without a chapter on youth.
Mwansa Mbewe on creating better solutions: even though his talk was on how to build a better Lusaka in terms of architectural design, one thing that came out in his talk was that “Design is intelligent.” What anyone should take from this is that we must take careful consideration of what we are trying to build and consider its impact, and make sure that there is no ‘bottleneck effect’, where many ideas or consumers are coming in from many directions to come to one tight spot for their needs to be met.
Roy Clarke on holding power to account: we all get annoyed when we see others or when we ourselves are being treated unjustly. Is it nobler to do nothing, or take up arms and take action? He used Hamlet as a reference for his talk, talking about how we all face dilemmas between right and wrong, or on whether to speak on injustice or ignore it. We need to hold the powers that be to account when we notice that they are not doing what they should to invest in us, not ploughing back finances into the communities that they raise money from. He said the effective way to best highlight an injustice is in these ways:
- Choose a good moral issue
- Choose an injustice that’s popular in your region
- Choose a platform that will efficiently support you e.g newspaper or blog
- Choose a strategic method to object e.g through the use of satire, anything that won’t get you jailed 😉
Kelvin Doe on youth changing the world: “Poverty is one thing, education is everything.” To see his story watch this YouTube video. A very smart young man, Kelvin said we need to change the narrative of Africa. It seems as if Africa pushes for innovation amongst its youth, but on the other hand fears it and so in the end nothing gets done. As we innovate, let us not be ignorant of what it is we are building or making, we must know exactly what it is we are working on. There also needs to be a platform that harvests creativity, and supports ideas youths make everywhere.
Stary Mwaba on developing passions: as an artist he understand that Zambia is one of those countries that leaves artsy youth to be of a lesser class instead of promoting that talent. We can all speak up and let those interests be identified at an early age. Not every form of education fits all, some have other interests that can be nurtured. It is another tool of development, promoting the arts and could put the country on the global arts map.
Pompi on taking the wrong test: His whole talk was a deeply moving poem on how a fish learned to climb a tree to fit in, but what if his life’s test and talents are in the ocean? We need to recognize what our talents are and where our tests lie. You can’t call yourself a failure if you’ve subjected yourself to the wrong test.
“We have a recitation based education system but what room is there for innovation?
We go through college or university but come out without an education…”
We need to have less memories of words and more of experience, education needs to become more practical and must notice passion and talent. Tests cannot be uniform because talents are not.
Mark Mandoka on purpose: To know our purpose we must ask ourselves, what would the world be like without me? We should ask ourselves the following questions:
- Who am I?
- Where am I from?
- Why am I here?
- What can I do?
- Where am I going?
A purpose of self gives clarity to pursue our destiny. Life is not like our own birthday party where everyone shows up with gifts for us, we need to change our mindset to the fact that we are gifts to the world ourselves.
Georgina Mumba on disability not being a disqualification: she’s an advocate for inclusive development, where development is being done with all persons included in the development process e.g when a road is being constructed, will it allow for disabled people, elderly, blind and deaf to use it as well without help from others? Zambia needs to rethink its disability policies and be more inclusive, lessening the limitations for many members of society, who hate to feel like a burden to others, which ultimately leads to a narrowing of their social circles as friends disappear, leaving them with no one. Institutions of learning must also join in the inclusive development and add facilities that enable the disabled to still be able to participate in the learning process, and thus maximize their intellectual potential and narrow their limitations as human beings.
There was such a wealth of information shared, I wish many more of you can make it to the next TEDxLusaka event.