This weekend I attended the InkuluFreeHeid (IFH) Young Professionals Network launch in Greenside, Johannesburg. IFH is an organisation that uses networking and funding to create partnerships between thought leaders. These partnerships are meant to work towards solving social and economic problems in our country, South Africa. To find out more about them and maybe connect with some of their projects you can check out their website, http://www.inkulufreeheid.org/.
At this weekend’s event they had Rev. Frank Chikane as the keynote speaker; He spoke on the youth’s role in contemporary South Africa, placing emphasis on the need for passionate and innovative young professionals. I managed to get a few thought provoking statements and decided to share them today.
Speaking on deepening our democracy
“If there is anything [that is] vulnerable it is our democracy.”
He placed great emphasis on the need to understand our role, as citizens, in ensuring our democracy is protected. This would require us to be active citizens and thought leaders.
Speaking to the need for young people to join together
“The bigger you [as a collective] become, the more powerful you are.”
What I understood from this is that it was not just about IFH as an organisation but the youth getting on one page even if they are working from their own spaces. It is important that we are working towards a common goal.
Speaking on pressure towards corruption in the work space
“If they ask you to do an irregular thing, ask them to put it in writing.”
He continued to speak about the bigger picture of the challenges we face in our country. Telling us that we [as citizens] are not the only people feeling the pressures of corruption. One will find that even heads of states are being terrorized against the interest of their people because power seems to have the last word but it will always be the official that has to take the repercussions. He then referred back to the previous quote reminding us of our ability to hold the power we need to curb corruption.
Speaking on contemporary South Africa and the role of the youth
“We were the generation that had to fight at the end of [that] war… your generation must be innovative [enough] to find solutions to today’s problems.”
He continued to say, ” The trouble is with us now […] you cannot wait for government […] You cannot wait for big businesses to do it voluntarily; They won’t! […] We as South Africans must think […] I would like South Africans to put their hands together to solve the problem[s].”
In the Q&A I asked him if he thinks inter-generational conversations are important and if so what would their role be?
He began by emphasizing that they are important as a lot can be taken from the knowledge and experience of the generation before us; however, we must be careful not to inherit the inhibitions of those that came before us to a point where we are unable to move forward. He summed it up well with this quote:
“Do not allow the past to arrest the future.”