Keeping it real with the youth.
A couple of months after the historic Obama election, the son of Kogelo was down to business. He was out there visiting American youth in their high schools and colleges. Being the top notch orator he is he didn’t fumble with words as he addressed the American young society. He once told a young audience to aspire to be more than just rappers or basketball stars. In his words “ Mr. Obama said, “our kids can’t all aspire to be LeBron or Lil Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court Justice. I want them aspiring to be President of the United States of America.’’LeBron happens to be a famous basketball star while Lil Wayne is one of the most popular hip hop artists in the world.
If anyone thought these phenomena is limited to the USA, you are wrong. Youth in Kenyans urban population are also aspiring for careers in the entertainment and sports industries. However who can blame a young man who envies and wants to be like Mc Donald Mariga, a Kenyan youth who grew from humble beginnings to achieve greatness by being the first East African to ever play in the Serie A Italy’s top soccer league. The young chap isn’t just playing at the top league he dons a jersey for one of the world’s top teams, Inter Milan alongside football maestro s like Cameroons Samuel Etoo, Brazils Maicon and Italy’s Cambiasso.
For this reason anyone would be wrong to blame a young man from Kibera, Kariobangi or Mathare for chasing a football or athletics dream. The same goes for the entertainment industry, with artistse like Jua Cali, Nameless and Red Sun raking in millions in cash through endorsements and performances any young man or woman would be tempted to venture into the entertainment industry.
This explains why there is an upsurge in the number of young Kenyans trying to get a break into the entertainment and showbiz industry. Venture into Dandora , a slum area in Nairobi and the site that greets you is that of young men seating in groups, at certain designated places otherwise referred to as “base”, trying to conjure up some rhymes or just chatting the day away about this or that hip hop artist. Not so far away from these bases, there are graffiti walls, a major component of the hip hop culture, usually painted by these same young men and women. One is amazed by the artistic talent put into the images you see.
This goes to tell you that, these youths do not luck talent. What is coming out is that there is a missing link between development and these youths talent. Today’s Kenyan youth also need an “Obama “not just to tell them to aspire for greater things but also teach them how to achieve those dreams. The youth need to be equipped with enterpreurship skills that can help them convert their skills and talents into incoming generating initiatives or ventures.
Development partners should not only focus on organizing stage events where the youth come and showcase various dancing and rapping talents, they should also invest in long time initiatives that will socially and economically empower this youth hence securing their future.
Empowering the youth socially and economically is one thing that can solve almost half of the problems this country is facing. First economically independent youths will not rush to get handouts from rogue politicians who use them to push their own agendas, instead a young man will concentrate on working in his shop, garage, studio or carwash instead of going through a day of heckling and running from riot police.
On the other hand occupied youth will have some income hence issues of crime will decrease drastically. Whats next is that we will have a country full of responsible youth who will be able to vote wisely, which translates to good governance and leadership policies and eventually a new brighter Kenya.
Marigas photo : Mc Donald Mariga, the first Kenyan to ever play at Series A and the Champions league.
Jua Cali; One of the most celebrated artiste who uses music to motivate the youth on being independent.
Graffiti: A graffiti master piece painted during the British Council’s Wapi events that happens monthly.