It is true that almost every young person, even those in rich homes, are weighed down by many things, in their desires to fulfil their dreams. It is true that young people from working class and impoverished backgrounds appear to have very few options in life, apart from continuing a life of slaving for others in order to barely survive.
It is so easy to collapse into a defeatist attitude, give up on our dreams, and go with the mindless destructive flow of clubs, bars and parties, alcohol, drugs, cheap and dangerous sex, crime and the inevitable hospitals and prisons. And of course, an early grave. In fact, because millions of young people are trapped in this dead end, Zambia has a young population! 82% of Zambians are 35 years or younger!
We Zambians die very young in large numbers because we are poor. We have very few old people.
It is very hard to be alive after 40, actually, for many young people in our country. At this age, life becomes an endless struggle to prevent death. As for young women and girls, they have twice the burdens men and boys carry because our society regards them as half human. It is not supposed to be like this. Life is meant to be enjoyable and fan; an exciting trip of new discoveries every day, and an ever-growing expansion of human possibilities, including love.
You are alive, not dead yet. You have infinite choices and possibilities ahead of you. To be alive in fact means to know this; that you are a living being with infinite possibilities. The joy of life, therefore is the journey to explore these possibilities, and to expand your life and the lives of those around you. Do not let anyone or anything take away this truth from you, including me and at times my caustic, rustic, negative and quite debilitating comments.
You are alive, that is the most important thing. You have life, and therefore infinite possibilities to live your life. You can think, therefore you can dream. You can act on your thoughts and dreams; you can do things. Therefore, you can create. Because you are alive, can think, dream and act on your thoughts and dreams, you are a creator. You can create a better life for yourself and all those around you.
It is not an impossible limitation how far you have gone in education. It is not impossible to escape the prison of your poverty. Your history, although it is your present moment, is not your jail; you can escape it. You can create your future from a smart reading and intelligent use of your history and your present circumstances. It is not important how many times you have tried something and failed; it is important that you do not abandon your thoughts and kill your dream. Keep improving them, though!
Act on your positive thoughts to advance your dreams. Fail as often as it will take to succeed. Never, ever, give up on life. You see, life never gives us problems for whose time to solve has not come. It is a problem precisely because it has a solution. Never ever stop striving to find the solution! The joy of life is also in solving problems, especially tough problems.
It is, in fact, big problems, that need big solutions, that create big things in life, and give us the greatest satisfaction and happiness! If you think your life is impossibly tough, you have the beautiful life-giving task of turning your life into endless, infinite possibilities for living it; that is your challenge.
I have failed a million and more times in my life. Success has been rare but its magical attraction has been my guiding light, throughout life. I have known hard times, genuine grinding hard times. Impossibly hard times too, I have known them all.
Imagine waking up in a nightmare. You are in a country where you know no one, yet. You have nothing in your pockets, not even an identity document. Imagine that the last time your mouth was visited by some food, very bad and little food, was some 72 hours ago. Now, imagine that this is one of the most dangerous and violent places on Earth, where you have just woken up into.
Now, with some great effort because even your eyelids are weak with hunger, you try to open your eyes. A few inches from your face you see a strange old African face with wrinkles that would make the Amazon River ashamed of its twists and turns, peering at you, very intently. Fear paralyses you. Faintly your ears pick up a sound flowing from the lips of this frightening fellow. You say something softly. Then in English, the fellow tells you to bloody wake up, move away from the open spot you have been sleeping – people are planning to get you and chop you up for muti – for traditional African medicine. In a flash of a second, you suddenly come alive again and run away for your dear life.
That was me, in a country I had run away to, after the failed coupe against Chiluba, by Captain Solo and his friends. Now, you must ask: because I did not know where I was, nor did I know any streets including the one I was in, where did I run too? I ran into a freeway – they don’t call them “freeways” for nothing, you know. Exactly three months later I was leading and running with high level national government planning work.
A few years later I was the first African board member of a prestigious socio-economic research institute. And then, of course, I started thinking and dreaming about abolishing the colonial boundaries of African countries and creating, out of this rotten violent colonial rubble impossible to develop, a United Socialist Africa, as a single united happy country, capable of developing.
Today, together with others, I lead an organisation dedicated to achieving the dream of a united Socialist Africa, and Socialist world. In this dream I am not alone. I stand on the great shoulders of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who first articulated this possibility in front of 31 other African heads of state who met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 24 May 1963.
One day this dream will come to pass, and then Africa can genuinely begin to solve its problems and provide true development, justice, peace and happiness to all its peoples.
Dear young Zambian, do make 2022 the year you fight to abandon the things that diminish your life and the lives of others, and the year you begin thinking and dreaming and acting about a life full of possibilities, development, democracy, joy, laughter, love, justice and peace because you and all human beings will live full lives! Act to win your dream. Dreams can and do come true, if you act on them.
Do have a productive and life-full 2022!
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