To be young is to love life, no matter what. Youthfulness is life, hope, adventure, experimentation and triumph over all adversity!

Genuine youth is appetite for challenges. It is the desire to know, to learn and to conquer. Youth is ambition. Youth is rejection of limitations on life imposed on society especially by the failures of the older generations. Vitality, impatience to get things done, active and alive all the time; these are the ingredients that make being young exciting.

An insatiable appetite for information, knowledge and skills are the abiding quality of the life of any young person. When this appetite is lacking, the older generation uses the family, school and church and if these fail, prison, to educate the young! To be for ever knowing, learning and acquiring new skills is what exciting youth is all about.

To be alive, young people love and need freedom. They need to be free from hunger, ignorance, diseases and all forms of authoritarian and dictatorial control whether from guardians, school or government officials.

Good young people hate oppression, discrimination, domination, suppression, exploitation and all such evils. It is this which makes young people radical and revolutionary: they want to change the world into a better, safer, happier and loving place free from all the things that harm and kill life.

Above all else, young people demand love, happiness and a world full of joy, all the time. It is adults who poison young people with their failures, hate, domination, exploitation and wars.

The bad mixture of Zambia’s inherited poverty, unemployment and grotesque inequalities and the on-going vicious and brutal war being fought in Ukraine for the domination of the world between the US and its NATO European allies on one hand and the Russian Federation on the other hand threatens to drown out the possibilities of enjoying their young lives, for billions of young people world-wide and especially young people in poor countries like Zambian.

The war in Ukraine has changed the world for ever. For many months, years and perhaps decades, the cost of most basic goods will be too expensive for the majority of the world’s peoples whose countries are poor like Zambia.

Poor countries are being bullied to side with one or the other of the Super Powers, in the war in Ukraine. For the first time in more than 70 years the world is faced with the possibility of a nuclear war, which could turn all of us into ash.

The whole word has never needed young people with the qualities described above.

The world now needs its young people to stake its right to a life lived fully! They must oppose all wars as means of solving human problems. Failure by young people to demand their right to a full life may lead to the obliteration of the Earth and all that lives in it, for neither the US nor Russia are willing to accept defeat in the war in Ukraine. It is young soldiers both countries are sacrificing on the battle fields. It is young people of the whole world whose lives are being messed up, by this war.

It is about how to survive, and possibly thrive as a young Zambian in these new conditions, I am concerned about. Young, poor, unskilled, uneducated, unemployed, educated, skilled, employed – the majority of Zambian young people face similar problems of poverty and absence of meaningful economic opportunities, regardless of their education or skills.

It is time to learn as much as you can about the world and Zambia, for starters. Being ignorant is the best way to guarantee yourself a permanent place at the bottom of the pile of human suffering. It is time to acquire as much knowledge as you can, and ask as many questions as there are gaps in your mind about the world and Zambia. Your ignorance is a powerful weapon in the hands of those who benefit from your poverty and unemployment, and who promote war.

A stubborn unwillingness to understand the world and Zambia limits your options of participating with other young people in fighting poverty and political oppression. As a young person, do think of the whole world as your country. You have a right to struggle and survive anywhere where it is easier and safer to do so. You must fight for universal human citizenship. Africa, for example, must become what it is; one country. International wars will end only when nations are abolished.

Do not regard the government as some Father Christmas whose role is to give you the gift of life. Understand the government as something we all pay to facilitate and protect human lives in Zambia. Unless Zambians produce and create the wealth they need, collectively, the government will also always be a poor one! Demand from the government that it creates the best conditions for you to thrive, to express your intelligence and talents and to create wealth. That is what we, the people, create and pay government to do.

Now, here is the trick. It starts with your brains, then acquiring information which is turned into knowledge and, combined with skills, the capabilities to produce wealth are born! Money is an input in this process to acquire the other things needed to turn ideas into products, in the production process. Only when such money is used in the production process does it become useful through the inputs money enables us to buy. The good money is what we get when we exchange our products with what others have produced.

And so the starting point is to use your brains, your ability to think, and the knowledge and skills you have acquired, to improve human lives by producing solutions to human challenges, and trading in the solutions you produce, that you then get rewarded with money – the means by which you can continue to buy the things you need to continue to live and to produce solutions to human problems and needs.

Your challenge is that you start with “the lack of money” as your fundamental problem instead of first deciding how you want to be a useful member of society by producing the actual things yourself and other human beings need to live full lives.

Once you approach things this way you will suddenly appreciate that we are a rich country full of natural goodies such as air, water, gold, copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver, uranium, hydropower and so many others we are yet to discover. Good rains, excellent biodiversity and a geography conducive to many economic and social activities are some of the positive things we have, naturally.

More powerfully, we are a young country with a young population – people who can work and live for a long time and ordinarily should have the strength and desire for a full life. Combined, all these things with our infinite number of challenges and you will appreciate how rich Zambia is with opportunities, for young people!

At this point, your ability to suppress greed and appetite for unearned money and learning how to work with other young people become important. Three or more young people committed to working together to produce something society needs to answer its needs are preferable to an individual young person pregnant with greed and a grotesque appetite for money and material things.

Armed with some of this kind of thinking, a young person will see Zambia’s problems and challenges as great opportunities to contribute to uplifting Zambians and oneself, by working with other young people, to provide actual solutions to our problems, and thus creating wealth.

There is a saying that great problems and challenges lead to great solutions and achievements, and fulfilling lives. Young people have a historic responsibility to fully assume their historic mission, by being the solutions to today’s problems and challenges!

(Comments to: kalindawalo2010@gmail.com)