I have been through a lot of challenges as a teenager growing up on the dusty streets of Sithobela, Swaziland. Walking 7 km to and from school every day, working long hours in the fields just to get food... However, unlike most of my peers, I have in the back of my mind a sense of true determination and perseverance, in spite of all the difficulties I am faced with daily. One question I trouble myself with is, "persevere for what exactly?".
The answer stands right in front of me: my country is a 3rd world country; I have seen orphaned friends due to HIV/AIDS and many people relying on food donations to survive. With all that being said the question can be rephrased to, "what would satisfy me the most?". The answer lies in undoing all those injustices I previously listed. The only way to achieve that is through empowerment of the youth, the future leaders of the country and the world – lifting my peers to the level of self-belief that says, "it’s not where or how you began but it's where you end up that matters".
It would be absurd and insensitive of me not to acknowledge the immense gravity of negativity overwhelming most of my peers, that is perhaps because it has substantial ground. Most of the time I picture life as a race, a marathon to be specific. However, this race does not uphold equity because some people get head starts putting them at an advantage to win the race. But, I believe that’s even more reason to push for victory, regardless of your starting position in this race of life. The moment we forsake complacency and take what we have and make the best use of it is the very moment the situation will take a turn.
Poverty, famine, disease... all those are conditions currently slowly eating away my family, friends, country, and continent. Now, there may be a million reasons for the problems faced by Africans today, but I believe our focus should be on how to lift ourselves out of this misery, rather than how we got here.
A lot of young people in Africa have lost faith in themselves and their capabilities by virtue of birth, and I personally feel that is not reason enough to deprive yourself, your country, and the world of the true capabilities embroiled within you.
TeenzTalk's Blog is here to amplify youth stories and perspectives on topics including personal challenges, self-care practices, initiatives in their community, and more.