It is Time to Live!

A time comes when you need to start thinking about life. A friend of mine usually says that “life is never that deep,” but it really is deep. A while back you were a toddler relying on your mother for basically everything. The next moment you were a 7 year old that could read and write and all of a sudden this thing called Adolescence came knocking on your door and because it was so fascinating, you welcomed it with open arms (as if you had a choice.) You started producing hormones, then suddenly you’re told you could become a parent if you aren’t careful. And the next day, you are about to become a young adult…

Is life still not that deep?

It really is! Life is so deep that you don’t know what might happen to you in the next second. You might end up toothless (you have to stop eating meat), broke, crippled or even DEAD. God forbid, but you really need to start thinking about such. What do you want to be remembered for once you are no longer there to speak for yourself. I am not saying you should live a perfect life because that will be insanity but what are you truly striving for?
Do you want to be remembered as the person that existed but never lived? Do you want to be remembered as the person that pushed till the end? If you aspire to be known as the greatest person that ever existed, then that dream starts with little things. It starts with having a vision, though this might sound like a cliché but it is true.

You are young. Your adrenalin should be at its peak. You should start doing things that you are scared to do.
Be kind to people. Offer help where there is an opportunity for you to impact one’s life. Be open to learn something new. You are never too old to learn. Try to learn how to play a guitar, piano or anything instrument that fascinates you. Learn a different language through Youtube and interact with people of different cultures. Start thinking about what you want in life. Get a journal and write dit all down. The kind of house you want to live in ( be specific in terms of colour, location, number of bedrooms it should have, events you will host, and who you want to live with.)

Hope for something. Always look forward to the next day. Like I said, you never know what might happen. Be thankful. The ability to show gratitude is the nerve to continue doing good. Your actions have an impact on others, when you are grateful to others, they will continue to be grateful to you and others. Authentic gratitude makes you humble. Everybody loves humble people.

Learn to give. Offer your time, your attention and yourself to others. It is always good to give. It makes you valuable and increases your importance.

Stay true to yourself. This is not easy, especially if you live in an environment where you are compelled to succumb to the norms of the society. Never compromise your values because you want to be accepted.

Finally, you start living when you realize how blessed you are. Someone somewhere doesn’t have a bed to sleep on, a mother to call, a home to go to, a friend to lean on, an education to aspire to and no hope. Begin to realist that being alive is the greatest gift given to mankind. Even though life might be too short to do all the things I advised you to do, it is the longest thing we will ever know. So live.

Seminal Readings Term 1

A few things make ALA the peculiar school that it is– Entrepreneurial Leadership (EL), African Studies, the diverse community and so much more! One of the things under “so much more,” is the Seminal Readings.

Yhuup, seminal readings! One week of each term in the academic year we drop everything to read (some) really interesting texts. Schedules get freer and bags lighter as all school related items are replaced for a big seminal readings booklet.

The discussions students and teachers have during this time are known to be thought evoking and address critical issues in Africa. They help us begin to think about what we need to do to really be the next generation of African leaders.

For those outside the academy, here’s a list of the readings for this term!

Year 1

Theme: Founding Beliefs (in relation to ALA)

1. Statement from the Dock at the Opening of the Defense Case at the Rivonia Trial – Nelson Mandela
2. Speech from the Founding of the Organisation for African Unity – Kwame Nkrumah
3. Getting to the Heart of the Matter; An Interview with Wangari Maathai – Wangari Maathai
4. Entrepreneur as Hero – Candace Allen and Excerpt from Nobel Lecture – Mohammed Yunus
5. The Talented Tenth – Du Bois
6. Letter from The Cathedral of Milan – Bill Shore

Year 2

Theme: Resistance and Oppression

1. Animal Farm – George Orwell
2. Message to the Tricontinental – Ernesto “Che” Guevara
3. Letter to Thomas Auld – Frederick Douglass and Letter to Birmingham Jail – Martin Luther
4. Enfranchisement of Women – Harriett Mill and The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle
the Masters House – Audre Lorde
5. Pray the Devil Back to Hell – Gini Reticker
6. Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations – Haile Selassie

Have you read any of these? What did you think?!

International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO)

May 17th every year marks a very important day- International Day Against Homophobia. This day is quite significant this year to the international community given the passed legislatures in Uganda and Nigeria. It is an important day to reflect about the injustices done to the minority i.e. LGBTI community.

ALA has started early on the mission of curbing homophobia and the Sexuality Discussion Group (SDG) started a campaign called LoveIsLove campaign, where people share how they overcame homophobia.

Some of the stories that have been shared are:

“I always found it easy to be in a social space and come with my significant counterpart and be boldly introduce them as my girlfriends/boyfriend and not be afraid to face any judgement or hatred, but the day a close friend of mine told me that they were gay I realised that I was fortunate because they would have to think twice before introducing the partner. That’s how I overcame homophobia”

“I overcame homophobia when someone really close to me came out and told me they were gay. The fear and prejudice I had towards LGBTI people was something I wouldn’t be able to inflict on this person”

An event should not always have to occur for one to overcome homophobia. It starts with simple things. Avoiding comments like “#ThatsSoGay” could help you to overcome homophobia, giving gay people the respect they deserve as human beings is a good start.

Homosexuality is not a condition, it’s an identity-just like being Black, Arabic, Asian, American, Hausa, Yoruba, Berber, Zulu, Male and Female.

Celebrate IDAHO daily through small acts of kindness.

Good Girl Gone [For] Bad [Boys]

Over the course of the week, I stumbled upon yet another throwback movie-  “It’s A Boy Girl Thing.” The movie was released in 2006 and is centred around a girl, Nell (a “good” girl played by Samaire Armstrong) and a boy, Woody (a “bad” boy played by Kevin Zegers).
Both characters are of different extremes and they fight often. Nell is a smart, determined and proper young lady, whose values clash with Woody’s, who is a jock that appears not to care much for academics or people.
However, after visiting a museum full of Aztec artefacts, an Aztec god switches Nell and Woody’s bodies to teach them a lesson. At the end of the movie, they return to their normal bodies, fall in love with one another and as fairy-tale storytellers would say, “they lived happily ever after.”

Watching the movie suddenly provoked a thought of the frequently asked question, “Why do good girls go for bad boys?” The question could certainly not be answered by the thought of an Aztec god’s interference in people’s lives as seen from the movie, but all wasn’t lost. In order to answer such a question, we turned to ALA students to get their opinions and answers to such a question.

Many different ideas were heard and some people said…

“Danger is exciting…” – Anonymous
The explanation behind this quote comes from the idea that a girl knows better than to be involved with a “bad” boy, yet such knowledge makes it more appealing to fancy the “bad” boys. Also, the “I don’t care” attitude that “bad” boys give off is more exciting than attitudes of a “good” boy.

“There are no fully “good” girls” – Anonymous
The quote is almost self-explanatory. This quote comes from the idea that every girl has a good and bad side, and the latter side is just brought out or attracted towards the bad side of the “bad” boys.

“It’s an accomplishment” – Andrew Lewis
Andrew thinks that a “bad” boy is seen as a popular commodity in the market amongst girls and the typical “good” girl would aim to tame such a commodity. After taming the “bad” boy, the girl feels a sense of accomplishment that could be translated as being “that girl who has control over this socially inclined and rebellious guy,” as said by Andrew, that the girl enjoys.

“They think they can change them” –Anonymous
This person had once heard from a couple of friends that “good” girls go out with “bad” boys having the hopes of changing them (the boys) and it seemed like a valid reason.

“The “good” girls see something in the “bad” boys that they (the girls) want to be and they can become this thing through the “bad” boys” – Won-Sun Mbengeni
Won-Sun’s quote comes from the idea that most “good” girls do not have the room to do anything that is not categorized as good because of how they grew up, yet they would want to do something “bad”. In order to experience “bad” things, they would choose to go after “bad” boys.

Those are just a few possible reasons behind why “good” girls go after “bad” boys. Let ALAians Media know possible reasons that you think would make a “Good Girl Gone [For] Bad [Boys]”

(P.s note how the title of the article was crafted with the help of Rihanna’s album “Good Girl Gone Bad”… #CrazyLiterature)

One Man, One Vote : Why South Africans Should Vote

“One man, one vote”, that’s what Mandela and his comrades fought for, so why are we not voting?
Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Walter Sisulu and millions of other South Africans fought for the right to have freedom and the freedom to vote is a right that must be enjoyed and taken advantage of. This right was first exercised through the election of the first Black President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who was elected on 27th April 1994. “One man, one vote” after decades of oppression and struggle asking for a right black South African citizens were deprived of, the right to vote. Twenty years later (almost to date) South Africans are going to the polls today on the 7th of May to vote for the new parliament and government. Unfortunately, a number of young South Africans see no point in voting. The reason why this is happening is because they say that almost nothing has changed since the end of Apartheid – just a change in governance and that is all. For some people in townships the life they live is what makes them hopeless. It is said that unemployment, slow economic growth and corruption scandals have tarnished the name of the ANC over the last few years. Which may be true but I believe this is one more reason for the South African people to go and vote! I don’t think staying at home will bring the necessary change that we want to see. It’s time for the youth to rise up and say “Enough Is Enough” but, this time, through the polls – your vote matters. I’m an African, I have seen the same situation in quite a lot of African countries. I must say that, no one will cause the change that we want to see, so let’s take ownership of this journey and make the right choice for our future instead of blaming others for the failures of our past. Be a responsible citizen and vote for the change you want to see.



Is ALA Promoting Cronyism?

For a period of two weeks, second years have been having discussions about conflict of interest, nepotism and cronyism. As the African Leadership Academy (ALA) is transforming the next generation of African leaders, we need to think about what is putting leadership in Africa at stake. The TI Source Book – Confronting Corruption, has helped students question the position they are in, so as to help understand the role they have to take as they embark this journey. Continue reading “Is ALA Promoting Cronyism?”

Why Life Is Like Temple Run

If you don’t know what Temple Run is by now, you must be living under a rock or not a fan of mobile apps. Period. As a Temple Run addict, I am biased and everything stated in this post may be exaggerated. The first time I played Temple Run, I hated it. It was frustrating, I died every two seconds and hated that something that seemed so simple could be so difficult. I played it non-stop and before I knew it, I was making high scores. When I hit my first one million points, the rest was history. That is when I came up with the theory which is: Temple Run is a lot like life. Continue reading “Why Life Is Like Temple Run”