The Rise of the 21st Century African Vanguard in South Africa

In an almost Fanonian fashion, we as the 21st century post-colonial, post-Apartheid youth of South Africa have discovered our mission and are working on fulfilling it. With some of us being born after the end of the South African political struggle, hence being labelled ‘born-frees’, we were born with the burden of securing the economic emancipation of our people.

With our country only 21 years into its democracy, and a majority of our economy still in hands of the minority, the struggle for the economic emancipation of the African people in South Africa has proven to be harder than what we thought it would be. It is during these trying times that quality leadership and quality leaders are needed; leaders who will be able to navigate the young and still stabilizing political atmosphere in the country and still be able to find innovative ways to open up the economy for African people. Leaders, in the form of writers, thinkers, activists, entrepreneurs, politicians and civil servants, who will lead the way in new developments in the country through their work and ideas.

The 21st century African vanguards in South Africa need to rise up and show themselves. While some people have been taught to think that vanguards need to be people who are in the academic field or some sort of professionals, this narrative has been proven to not be true. Vanguards are people who are willing to put the needs of the people beyond theirs. They are people who are willing to work hard to see an idea flourish and their people prosper. They are people who, to borrow the words of a great fallen vanguard, are “willing to die for an idea that will live rather than live for one that will die.”

With the country gradually becoming younger and more technological, our mission for the economic emancipation of the African people in South Africa needs to see the rise of African vanguards who are younger and more technocratic. Newer and more innovative solutions are needed to solve some, if not most, of the problems that we come across around the country and the continent. Only younger and more energetic vanguards will be able to lead the way if we want to see these solutions come to light.

The rise of the 21st century African vanguards in South Africa needs to see all the old and overstayed leaders in the country make way for younger and more energetic ones. In order to fulfil our mission to economically emancipate our people, we are going to need a more effective way for young people to influence both the policy development and the decision making processes in both our country and our continent. The rise of the 21st century African vanguard in South Africa will never have any impact if the makeup of the leadership of both the country the continent is hell bent on never changing.

Our country has a huge and untapped resource – in the form of young African minds – that is lying dormant and is finding other non-productive and illegal ways to release its potential. To solve the increasing rate of unemployment among the African youth in South Africa we are going to need the solutions that the young African vanguards in the country have. If not given a chance to be utilized and listened to, the intellectual prowess that these young African vanguards possess will be lost to countries in the West, as witnessed in the past, and we will be left with an intellectual vacuum. The rise of the 21st century African vanguard in South Africa will always be delayed if we continue to try to solve the new problems we face using the same old people. It’s time for a change, it’s time for the 21st century African vanguard to rise!


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