Linda speaking at the SFL West African Regional Conference 2016 in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Poverty, literacy rates, and youth unemployment are part of a long list of Africa’s biggest challenges. But at the top of this list is corruption. It sweeps indiscriminately across the continent. Africa has countries that have been ruled by dictators for over 30 years, and in others power shifts from father to son. This is only possible because of corruption. In Africa, the phrase “everyone has a price” is put to real practice. Institutions are not independent, as claimed on paper. And judiciaries in many countries are threatened by the executive and rules as per the will of the government.
African Students For Liberty understands that the road to a free society is quite a long one and that things will not change overnight. But we’re committed to grooming the next generation of leaders of liberty in Africa who will fight for a better future. African Students For Liberty was launched in 2013. We have since established a presence in over 18 countries.
One of the things that I’m most excited about in my role at African Students For Liberty is that we have the privilege to train and nurture the next generation of thought leaders throughout the continent. And our efforts are already bearing fruits: our alumni and leaders are leading their own efforts to advance liberty in countries like Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa.
Linda facilitating a session at the Students For Liberty Kenya Campus Caravan on issue-based dialogue projects in May 2017.
The leaders we nurture through our programs have gone on to establish free market think tanks such as the Eastern African Policy Centre (Kenya), Uhuru Initiative for Policy & Education (Tanzania), Liberty Sparks (Tanzania), Center for Free Market Enterprise (Malawi), and popular blogs such as the Rational Standard (South Africa), which are influencing policy changes in their respective countries. Our leaders are able to tap into the many opportunities available internationally in the libertarian world, pick up free-market advocacy as a career, enlighten other students in their communities, and teach peace, love, and liberty.
Very little is known about Eritrea. It is the North Korea of Africa. Its people would rather face hell than remain in the failed state. We were able to connect with those who have left the country to reside in other African countries. As a result, we now have an Eritrean Students For Liberty chapter, which is a growing community of mostly refugees who can relate with the ideas of liberty. The group is led by Bekit, an executive board member and a Ph.D. candidate in psychology from a university in Kenya. Bekit, who was jailed in his home country, has several harrowing stories to tell of his experience. He uses his expertise in psychology to help others who have escaped from Eritrea understand the mind-control tactics of the dictator in power.
We also managed to set up groups in Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, and soon, South Sudan. These countries have something in common: they all face political instability, have experienced civil war, and their people are devastated – a great number of whom have fled their countries. We are working closely with these groups, understanding the sensitivity of their cases and teaching them classical liberal ideas in the most basic of ways. And we are excited to see that leaders from these countries are hosting events and reaching out to fellow youth to give them hope for a prosperous future.
Linda workshopping her project ideas at Africa Liberty Forum 2017 with Temba Nolutshungu of Free Market Foundation (South Africa) during the Crowdsource Liberty session.
Atlas Network trainings have been a major part of the successes I have had so far. I have gained think tank management skills that have had a great impact on my work. They have allowed me to realize deeper insights about our strengths, our product, our audience, and how to manage all of these variables. These Atlas Network programs have changed the lives, outlooks, and motivations to better the world of the people who have participated in them. Without this training, we would not have been able to reach out to over 5,000 young people in Africa with the message of liberty. Having received the requisite skills, I can now confidently manage a think tank. I have read about what other Atlas Network partners have been doing, and their success stories have encouraged me to achieve more.
We at African Students For Liberty are referred to as the Cheetah Generation of Africa. Around us we see so many problems: poverty, unemployment, corruption, death by curable diseases, and many other issues. We know deep down that Africa has great potential. We have decided to take up the challenge to be the leaders of African prosperity. We are taking up the challenge to enlighten fellow youth, impart them with classical liberal ideas, and create the leaders that Africa needs. Through the support of Atlas Network, we are witnessing change in the hearts and minds for the future of Africa.