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Building the Africa we want: social media reflections on Africa Youth Day

Today is Africa Youth Day, a day to celebrate and promote the increased recognition of youth as key agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development in all areas of the African Society. As Africans across the continent celebrate Africa Youth Day, we look at social media reflections on what the day means to various people. We also ask our readers what does Africa Youth Day mean to you?

Today is Africa Youth Day, a day celebrated every year to promote the increased recognition of youth as key agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development in all areas of the African Society.

The day was proclaimed and instituted on the occasion of the African Youth Charter in 2006 with the intention to ensure that African youth continue to strive for ownership in Africa’s development.

This year the day is being celebrated under the theme, Promoting youth mainstreaming as a catalyst towards harnessing the Demographic Dividend. Today Africans come together to celebrate a day which highlights the importance of empowering and nurturing the potential of young people to achieve sustainable development.

‪@AUYouthProgram “‪Investments made in the ‪youth will determine ‪Africa’s ‪development trajectory over the next 50 years!”.

African youth often face various impediments which threaten the fulfilment of their potential, from social and economic inequalities, lack of access to quality education, HIV/Aids, political instability (raging conflicts in various countries), various acts of injustice (sexual violence, exploitation, child marriage, child labour and various forms of discrimination) amongst others. With this in mind, today highlights the various barriers which threaten the dreams and aspirations of many of Africa’s young people. The day provides an opportunity for youths to engage on conversations on theses pertinent issues.

South African teenagers listen to talks during a Youth Health Festival on Youth Day in Cape Town, South Africa 16 June 2016. Photo: ANP/EPA/Nic Bothma
South African teenagers listen to talks during a Youth Health Festival on Youth Day in Cape Town, South Africa 16 June 2016. Photo: ANP/EPA/Nic Bothma

In line with the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063, which is a call for action to all segments of African society (including the continent’s young people) to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny, there is need harness the voices and energies of the youth to ensure their participation in the agenda.

‪@AUYouthProgram “We need to give a red card to countries that have not ratified the ‪AfricanYouthCharter. Only 38 have” @MDPIkounga ‪AYD2016”

African youth are not a homogenous group, thus the day has diverse meanings to young people. As Africans across the continent celebrate the day, we look at social media reflections on what the day means to various people, cognisant of the various challenges impeding on youth participation, and opportunities which exist to harness the potential of young people. There are calls made on social media for African governments “to fix the politics of resource sharing, representation [and] distribution” to harness the potential of young people. Others have opined that there is “need [to] empower ‪#Youth [to] increase their ability to personally influence what is happening in their lives and communities” to ensure sustainable development. We look at some of the messages on Twitter.

Twitter messages.

https://twitter.com/The_tinypearl/status/793317811380744192

https://twitter.com/Iynac/status/793366667145252865

https://twitter.com/giveawaytappio/status/793366906132656128

 

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