You have heard of albino killings in Malawi, but you might not have heard of Maphunziro265. Countless corruption scandals have made headlines in the dailies, but does the name Maestros Leadership Company ring a bell?
At a time others deem Malawi a banana republic; a failed state, there is a certain sect that refuses to hum the infamous tune.
Writing for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Andrews Atta-Asamoah, senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa notes: “Sub-Saharan Africa is a region where people aged between 15 and 29 will continue to constitute about half of the population of most countries for the next three to five decades.”
To substantiate the threat that a large dormant youthful population poses to the country, picture the 2014 tripartite elections where youths were mostly used as political party poster toys, sad.
Fed up with the placard carrier role youths have been playing in the country, some have dared to take a path of change and challenge the status quo.
With great pride and humility they have vowed to change the face of being young in Malawi. I bet a revolution has begun.
I write not as a griot for individuals who might be out to make names for themselves, but to appreciate the undertakings of a few who believe that life is beyond their tummies. Those who have stretched their hand to touch other less fortunate youths, acts worthy commending, I come to praise these.
Recently, a group under the banner Maphunziro265 has risen among other things to source scholarships for underprivileged youths. Using a very simple procedure, they have developed a website where selfless individuals are sacrificing their money to provide scholarships to help pay for tuition for students studying in Community Day Secondary Schools. I believe, this is an act worth emulating.
Maestros Leadership Company, Klesis Education Initiative and many others are in the same spirit; helping students dive their way into their destiny. If this is not progress, then redefine the meaning.
Four months ago, six youths walked 362 kilometres, from Lilongwe to Blantyre to raise K22 million for equipment at the High Dependency Unit of Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH). It was not because one of their own was sick, as we usually raise an alarm button when our famous artists are down, No! It was all in the spirit of making a difference.
With beautiful smiles, after beating the K22 million target by an additional K6 million, they have unveiled the KCH state-of-the-art unit with modern facilities of international standards. This day, the names Wanangwa Msutu, Duwa Mvula, Milca Mphepo, Tiyanjane Kapalamula, Ruth Gondwe, Ivy Chilingulo and Kalolo Msaka, will go down the memory lane as patriots who left their comfort zone and walked for the common good.
With an education system that has tuition fees skyrocketing beyond the people’s income, the hope of education being a golden ticket to glory is fading as the voucher is now being handed only to those with a signature in society.
Sickeningly, even the few who manage to graduate from the hard fought education, the new normal called ‘experience’ and ‘connections’ weighs them down. It’s more like the system is deliberately skewed to embarrass the have-nots. Sickening!
Challenges aside, this fighting generation has not lost it all, that is if you have ever heard of forums like Blantyre Entrepreneur Pitch Night, Ticheze Youth forum, MHub, Youth Inspiration Movement and several others spread unevenly across the country.
Using these platforms, youths are sharing entrepreneurial and life skills which can help them sail through this troubled economy through self-employment and voluntary work. If this doesn’t call for a celebration, then what should we celebrate for as a nation?
Our founding fathers fought for independence in 1964, 29 years later and the revolutionaries brought us democracy, a concept which is yet to be understood if ever it will. 52 years after independence the Malawian youths have begun a revolution. They are up for more than mere promises which they have been fed on since democracy.
And the difference? The youths have chosen to start the search for a revolution from within. On their own they have taken an initiative to better lives of those on the lower end.
Their strides assert; leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about influencing one another. Get ready, a generation of action is on the rise.