Open Cards: The generational gap

August 10, 2015, 8:41am

The generational gap

More often than not most African countries have failed to make the transition from an era where politicians have to be benchmarked on current achievements as compared to war credentials.
This is a typical set up in most countries in the Southern African Development Community where revolutionary parties are still in firm control of power. South Africa a regional economic powerhouse is still steered by the African National Congress while other countries like Namibia have thrived under the ruling Swapo Party, Zimbabwe is ruled by Zanu Pf.
The list of revolutionary parties in Sadc cuts across most of the 15 countries. Ironically the same revolutionary parties meet almost on and annual basis to bench mark achievements and also compare notes on what is that they are doing to make it worthwhile for their countries.
Amidst the domination by revolutionary parties which are pretty much steered by the comrade generation is also a vibrant youth that feel education should be the benchmark of a public job tender or appeasement. The generation that is credited for bringing independence to the youth and also creation of the civil liberties enjoyed today.
This is the generation that saw how hell can be on earth while fighting a brutal colonial settler who would do anything under the sun to maintain the status quo as it was.
Somewhat while any right thinking African youth sees the contribution done by the comrades who went to war to attain independence as the ultimate sacrifice one can make to their country, they also believe it will take forever for a generational transition to come into play.
The average youth in any of the Sadc country pretty much believe the dominance by those that went to war in all aspects of the economy and political space is one that will not varnish sooner than expected.
It will take quite some time for the war generation to feel that they have done tremendously well in all aspects and perhaps consider that the time is now or sooner to start making a transition that will see young people thrive across the spectrum.
South Africa gave birth to one political firebrand in Julius Malema and he had all the beliefs that at some point he would see the youth of his age moving into the political space but that was not to be. While the exit of Malema from the political landscape was a simple expulsion for the normal man on the street a political expert will understand that there was more to it behind the scenes.
The South African scenario is a classical scenario of how the generational transition has somewhat created unnecessary friction between the war generation and the modern day youth who want to break into the political space.
Perhaps there is that need for the revolutionary parties in the region to start driving towards an agenda where the button stick of the means of production politics and the economy are gradually handed to a rather ambitious youth that is coming up today.
Of course when such transitions are being mooted there is need for strict guiding measures that will make sure the cde generation does not feel they are being pushed out and also make sure that the young generation does not feel they are being catapulted to the climax without being given ample time to grow.
Generational transition in any aspect is one that calls for a good management and understanding of events leading to where we are today politically and where we are going economically. Indeed while the young person of today will feel they have an entitlement to a good life because they have the right educational credentials for it they should also understand that someone could not get those credentials because they were busy creating the a favourable environment for them.
Such an understanding between the cde generation and the vibrant youth will inculcate a sense of mutual respect between the two generations. It will provide the comfort that is needed to move forward and at the same time give the comfort to those that went to war that they will always have a part to play in the future.
Never at one point will it be sane to compare the contributions of the Nelson Mandela generation to the Malema generation. It will also be insane to believe that simply because the Malema generation are late comers to politics they have not done enough to appeal to the normal person.
What would make sense though is to admit that the cde generation is essential to solving all the problems that we face today while also understanding that when the button stick is being passed to the youth of today it will be done in a manner that appeals to all the generations.