My name is Nobukhosi Ngwenya from Zimbabwe. I am a 24 year-old Masters student, who on more occasions than not sets out to have the silenced voices heard. I will be one of the delegates offering my thoughts on a range of issues on WHYS throughout the conference.
I am looking forward to the OYW conference because I get the opportunity to have my say and get those in power to not only listen but also put pressure on them to do what is best – not for their pockets or envisioned futures but for our today and tomorrow.
I live in a society where the adage “children should be seen and not heard” is tantamount to law. We have youth leagues that are headed and run by individuals, namely men, who for all intents and purposes do not remember their youth. If they do, they remember a troubled youth, one marred by struggles for freedom and democracy. These men cannot truly say they speak on our behalf because they simply do not understand our present realities as the young people of today.
To you the reader I ask: is a child, taken here to be anybody under the age of 18, living under the most dire circumstances imaginable, incapable of saying what they need to make their lives more bearable? Why do we think ‘ah cute’ when a child shares their hopes, dreams, and aspirations for not only their lives but their entire communities as well? Why for that matter is anybody under the age of 35 not taken seriously enough in the political realm?
We are rarely, if ever, in our developing nations, given a platform from which we can debate topical issues. It is through such dialogue, that we find solutions to the problems. They range from security issues within our schools to drugs and alcohol abuse, not forgetting the politicised HIV and AIDS pandemic. However, people may hear us talk, but they do not listen. Participation in such dialogue ends up declining, simply because we are not given the opportunity to implement our ideas. Once participation declines at such a young age, we are less likely to take an active interest in the politics that govern our lives.