Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki recommended youth organizations that are virile, conscientious and have integrity for Africa to experience the much desired developments in the various countries and sectors that make up the continent.
The South African leader said this while participating in the Toyin Falola interview series held virtually on Sunday and hosted by a scholar and professor of African history, Toyin Falola, with his operational base in the United States. United of America. Toyin Falola’s interviews were particularly geared towards amplifying African voices with the aim of providing a set of solutions to the many problems plaguing the African continent, on the one hand, and also celebrating Africa’s emerging successes. .
In this edition, the panel of interviewers, led by Professor Falola, had an accomplished academic, Professor Paul Zeleza and a journalist, Naledi Moleo.
Reacting to a wide range of issues, Mbeki asserted that young people are the core of the solutions needed to solve many African problems. According to him, “what is important in involving young people in terms of political leadership is that young people themselves have to build very strong and conscientious youth organizations to be very active. These youth organizations should be very active in addressing some of these challenges: unemployment, bad governance, bad politics. This is how they become, not only leaders of the youth, but leaders of the nations. We need active, conscientious and organized youth organizations to build Africa.
Tracing his trajectory in South African politics and leadership, he informed his audience that growing up with political awareness was systemic. “My generation was blessed to join the African National Congress (ANC) at a young age. For example, when I entered, I was thirteen and a half years old. From then on, we were engaged in these issues of apartheid, development of Africa, policies and many others. We grew up in the movement. At the time the youth league members elected me to part of the executive which was part of the youth league leadership. So it wasn’t someone’s handing over; it was part of the natural process of growing up in the youth league. After being elected, some may say that this one is good enough to be on the executive committee.
Much later in our lives, we were given more responsibilities such as being the representative of the ANC in other countries. For example in 1975 when I was told that I had been co-opted to the national executive of the ANC, it was because I had worked in the ANC from time to time. A vacancy opened up and I was asked to replace him. There was a time when eight leading members of congress left and their departure left a major void within the ANC. But there were some tasks to be done. We were the next group of people. We were approached by management to fill slots. We resisted that. But there was no one else and the management insisted. Again, this was not a discount but a matter of progression through the ranks of the movement.
“I knew Mandela and worked with him when I was 19. He used to call me at his house; we struck up conversations. What I didn’t know was that he was testing me on the issues they had discussed at the ANC leadership. It’s an ongoing process; there’s no sense of a relay being handed over. It was systemic growth,” he said. -he declares.
Mbeki, who turned 80 on Saturday June 18, 2022, was thrilled that his greatest moment was his participation in the successful struggle that brought an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
“We are proud of the release; that we are engaged in a struggle that has defeated the apartheid regime and system. This is a very good and wonderful achievement for many of us. After its liberation, South Africa tried to make its contribution to the historic task of development of the African continent. The apartheid system was very offensive. It was the commitment of all those who wanted the liberation of South Africa. And necessarily as a consequence of that, there were many expectations that once South Africa was free, it would provide space for a lot of other things to happen.
“We tried to do what we could to make our small contributions to the development challenge in Africa. I think that’s a feat. I must also say that it was a time when the rest of the world treated Africa with a certain respect. This is why, for example, we agreed with what was the G8 on what became the G8 Africa Plan. We worked with them on this and told them that they should base their commitments on what Africans want in terms of development and not impose on Africa what they consider necessary in terms of development. They agreed. It was a special time when the rest of the world listened to what Africa was saying. You have to go back to that period,” he said.
During the session, Mbeki addressed issues surrounding South Africa’s liberation and post-independence era, key challenges faced during his tenure, constitutional reforms and the impact of reform programs under the administration. Nelson Mandela.
The interview was streamed live on various social media platforms and was viewed by numerous representatives of the African Union and 31 countries on TV and radio; thirteen heads of state would have been connected on a special link.