Saturday, April 1, 2023

“The youth are the future of this nation”

As a patriotic Motswana living overseas, a PR and media professional and a current student of International Relations I have taken keen interest in the latest turn of events in Botswana.
Political debate has never been this intense and hot.

BDP has become a ‘drama queen’ with its factions – the A team and a ‘new bouncing baby’ BMD formerly Barata Phathi.

Botswana’s political centre stage has attracted the attention of the young and the old alike and the world is watching, including President Robert Mugabe.
The political landscape is getting a new definition.

If Kutlwano Magazine was still that one from back in the day, we could have a lot to write about to ‘Mmamalome’.

One thing that one should find interesting in the whole BDP melodrama is the awakening of the youth from their long siesta. There are two questions one should ask; is the young people’s confusion about their role in society over?

Have they been pushed too far and this forced them to grow up too quickly, politically?
There are some interesting media articles and comments by young people welcoming the new splinter party. You might be wondering why I am just talking about youth and not about the disgruntled members of BDP and the society as a whole.

I love young people. In my opinion there have been stereotypes that portrayed them as shallow minded, irresponsible, too young to think for themselves, not confident enough to lead and hence could not be trusted with the future of our country.

They are referred to as ‘Leaders of tomorrow’ when they think they can start doing it today. I am aware that politics need patience and control which is missing in most of young people, but we all learn as we go.

Young people are generally impulsive and can act in a wrong manner without thinking.
But with mentorship and advice of the older generation they can take out the best in them. A country cannot think for tomorrow with yesterday’s ideas.

The problems our nation faces are new and require new ways of tackling them which the old guard cannot offer.

Young people would have a better understanding of the situation now and are better equipped to tackle the situation.

While the nation moves on from one idea to another the old generation remains stuck with the old framework that they realized early on, they continue to see all situations and solutions to them through this same old understanding which may no longer be valid.

And I always battle with the fact that people never accept that these are different times. Instead of tackling current issues and problems as today requires and permits, we want to go back to those old days and we mistakenly call that CULTURE and not ‘OLD CULTURE’. Culture simply means that a group of people who share beliefs and practices identify the particular place, class, or time to which they belong. Culture is itself dynamic. Youth became an important part of the American political agenda in 1934 and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt made this social group her specific concern by sponsoring the formation of the American Youth Congress. She was terrified that America might be losing a generation. ‘”We have got to bring these people into the active life of the community and make them feel that they are necessary,”’ she wrote. Due in part to her contribution, American youth acquired a new value system and last year the youth saw Barack Obama to his inauguration as the first Black President after they said, “Yes we can”. Powerful energy in the world is found in young people. They are the driving force, the breath of a nation. There is nothing impossible in their minds. They can build or destroy the future of any country. I do not doubt that young Batswana can change Botswana’s whole system and this could be the time they need think to do that. I see young people as young guns and it’s proven that they can turn any stones around. They have to become a part of the politics to facilitate the reconstruction of a better society and a country. BDP and her ‘child’ will feed us a humble pile.

In the latest developments our youth have shown that they have their own positive points like, they are not averse to positive change where they can exhort their senior counterparts to act when required. Movements and revolutions that failed or succeeded have always been driven by the youth of the nation. Be it the failed Tiananmen Square protests or the successful overthrow of the monarchy from Nepal, youth have been an important factor in all these revolutions. So politics may change but the key question is “will it be a change for good or bad”?

I must however state that youth is generally impulsive and can act in a wrong manner without thinking so they need mentorship. I have realized that young people have stamina and can challenge the established norms with their fresh outlook. So a young person with patience and maturity of an old person can turn around the situation. Also, an experienced individual with an open mind can bring in the changes. Young people can change politics, but it would require a lot of initiative and perseverance with dedication to the right cause and love for the country. They can instill the much needed energy and ethics to the rusty political system, they have their own charm, but the experience of the elderly must be respected. And I wish to thank all those young people who continue to show Botho, Tlotlo and Setswana as they climb the political ladder to our elders. We must agree to disagree.

They are our elders and they can beat us in all the mental games we think we are good at. Lastly, politics is a game of passion, patriotism and management. Though the youth does not lack any of these, the veterans just have an edge when it comes to management. So the political system must have both these parties co-existing.


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