I am Doing My Bit Empowering And Endorsing The African Dream: What ABout You?–Nelisiwe Matte
Several times I have been asked why Africa Elevation? Or what does Africa elevation do? How is Africa Elevation sustainable? All these are valid questions for anyone interested in the work we do but to be thoroughly honest I have struggled to answer these very questions with an adequacy I would be content with. The reason is; upon founding Africa Elevation I didn’t have a specific goal, and I know this not what the CEO of an organization whose core objective is to help young and upcoming youth realize their potential should say or rather write out loud but am not one for false portrayal.
As opposed to a specified goal I had an indisputable purpose; to help others discover theirs. My purpose has a lot more to do with getting how we as African youth particularly can do to help each other embrace our goals and more importantly enact them and that is what sparked the birth of Africa Elevation.
I come from Bundibugyo, a fairly small district in the western region of Uganda and as I was doing some research on the net about Bundibugyo and our people, it was kind of aggravating that when I googled the term “bundibugyo” second on the list of the results that appeared was the Bundibugyo virus (BDBV). Apparently one of the notable things we are known for is the fact that an Ebola-like virus was first discovered in our district in 2008 after a devastating outbreak that engendered the death of hundreds within Uganda.
Irked by this I turned to a book my father gifted me years ago, but wouldn’t be bothered to read at the time entitled TRIBE; a hidden history of the mountains of the moon written by Tom Stacey, an English man with somewhat of an envious passion for the Rwenzururu (commonly known as Ruwenzori) people. Of course I was also perturbed by the accuracy of most of his literature on my people and my homeland! Suddenly a caramel macchiato wasn’t so much of a sine qua non for my existence. It did however give me a sense of comfort to know that most of his writings on this particular book were guided by a Mukonzo (tribe homed within the Rwenzururu kingdom) academic, Arthur Syahuka-Muhindo.
From this book I came to learn that I bear heritage to such a beautiful, creative and powerful people who still hold the capacity to rise above all the hindrances or impediments that may have been placed before them.
I also came to the conclusion that I had an obligatory responsibility to play a part in celebrating and empowering indigenous Africans and even endorsing the idea of the “African dream.” Africa is my home and I shouldn’t have to leave my home to have a fair shot at success. There is such a myriad of opportunities in Africa that haven’t been fully exploited. Shedding light on those opportunities is pivotal to one day witness and experience an Africa that isn’t bound by the chains of poverty.
Creating platforms that enables hardworking and success driven Africans to showcase their potential regardless of their field of expertise is quintessential in breaking barriers and opening doors that can very well lead to growth in their respective fields.
Going beyond borders to study the success of other continents will also serve us tremendously in an evaluation of policies that may better suit the socio-economic enhancement of our people. Additionally also facilitating avenues within Africa that celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of African individuals and organisations alike will not only preserve but also bolster a sense of African pride.
Growing up in a middle class home, I don’t really have a sad story to tell, my story is actually pretty close to perfect in my books (and yes, it’s okay to acknowledge your blessings). My parents are amazing and worked really hard to give me the best they could, so on that front I’m quite thankful. I suppose my grunting really arose from the vast difference I saw between what I had and what even my very own relatives lacked and it was really just one thing; money. Most will be hesitant to attest to this but money or lack thereof really does make you better or worse off.
With money a lot is possible but without it, almost nothing is, and this is a reality every observing African understands undoubtedly. So, therein laid the foundation of my purpose. I went a little further and asked why it is we still remain so poor yet we have a surplus of natural resources to exploit? Poverty in Africa is still at a rate of nearly 50% that means half of us can’t afford to live decently. For me, it increasingly became hard to just air out this grievance and not do anything about it.
I have a problem with the disgrace poverty brings to our people. Girls are married young and denied an education or a chance at living out their potential because their families are desperate to survive. Boys are made soldiers at the promise that their efforts will fend for their homes. Young women sell their bodies so they can have a taste of a life they would otherwise never afford and as a result they bring another life or worse contract HIV.
Young men resort to crime and waste away their talents just so they can live! Poverty restricts, it inhibits, it places a cap on potential, poverty dehumanizes. I can’t say I will single-handedly eradicate poverty, but my purpose is to ensure I call upon as many people as i can to join the fight against it and that is the story behind why I created an organization that could achieve just that.
Will you join me? Please follow us @africaelevation on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and visit our website: www.africaelevation.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org