All I Ever Wanted Was You

I have been stuck up in the corner of my mind the entire day

Afraid of wandering because I am sure away from it, I will find you

Before I knew you, I had solace to myself

Never worrying about things that seemed mediocre to my mind

Sadly now, all I have to myself is a corner

You have the entire part of my thought process

Is that fair? Is it?

My mind tells me it shall pass.

It has learned to digest this because well, all my friends have said so

And yet I am not sure

I have never been unsure all my life

All I am now is a wreck, wondering whether I have right to think the way I do..

All I ever wanted was you… And I got a clone of you😭

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Crashed

I decided to take on a challenge in your absence

This is much lesser than what I anticipated I would do on a day like this 6months later

I promised not to think very often of you and yet you are what my thoughts crave for

Maybe I should be moving in a direction opposite but you are my early morning coffee beckoning me

I am fully aware that opposite roads always have a junction

It may not be at the first stop, neither may it be after a year

I know however, that we will end up meeting someday

And I will have my eyes glued on you like you are a visual magnet

You will hear my heart beat like it ran a marathon

At that point, you will know my fears, you will know I want you still as much more than I did then

At your sight, I will wonder how life has been to you; fair, nasty, great or excellent

The sight of you will make me wonder whether I made the right choice walking away from the fire that still burned on the inside

Or worse, it will cross my mind—that dreaded curiosity

On who warmed your bed while I was away soul-searching

Would she be of light-skin or black. They say black is beauty and I know it is your favorite

But I also know that while we were together, you stared at fairer girls

Whose skin you made me envy—sometimes they were slightly Hamisa’s tone

But still you stared as though oblivious I watched you

And while you did—you took my heart with you

See I am now over you like the burger I had the day we went bungee-jumping

Memories of you are etched in a file that is almost facing delete

And yet I know almost doesn’t count… it never counts

I almost caught the bus the night we broke up

You didn’t believe me because you thought I was out cuddling with the guy whose eyes were beautiful

But if it counts, I almost caught that bus

The bus in which I saw over the news crashed.

I still wonder why you held bitterness after you got to know the bus I was supposed to catch to meet you, crashed

But perhaps you wanted me out of your life long before I knew you did

And that more than anything, crashed me more than that bus could ever have!!

She was vulnerable when it came to him… He had crashed through her universe, kissing her soul— N. R. Hart

 

Highlights From The 5th Annual Hotels and Restaurants Expo!

The past weekend, I was over at the 5th annual Hotels and Restaurants Expo at Hotel Africana. The event is organised every year as a unique platform for awarding all hotels, in different capacities, recognizing their contribution to both the Tourism sector and Food industry.

When I was assigned to cover the event on behalf of the team, I was ecstatic; for many reasons but the most important being “Food”. I love diversity and there is nothing that best describes that like food. We have thousands of foods from each of the regions here in Uganda and display of all these was what I was hoping for.

For the most part, this particular food event did not go as I anticipated. There was a lot left to learn for its organizers. I did speak to a few exhibitors about what they thought about the event and they expressed disappointment.

Miriam, Director of Signature hotel in Jinja said ” I have been to different hotels and restaurants expos across the world but I am very letdown by our own. Where are the people? She asked. We have been here 3 days and the only clientele coming in are the ones who have come to access the restaurant. 

Another exhibitor said that the organization was done abashedly and the public was not given much time to let the expo sink in as such a great idea to attend.

In my view, the event was not given much publicity, you do not hide a social event from the public and expect a turn up. Also there was not a collide of performances to grace the event. They could have had a headlining international chef or performance. This always attracts the crowds.

However despite the loopholes, there were some really graceful experiences that could be a foundation for next year’s edition. Allow me to indulge you with some pictures!!

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Two women, one totally okay with flaunting her body and another not bold enough.. Beyond that, they are both African!!

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Give me a bouquet of rose colored petals and we could make love throughout the night~~Anonymous

Meat on skewers, in aluminium foils roasting away on mesh were one of the sights lined up at the expo. The businesses that made the most money were those that decided to take their chefs out of the Kitchens right into their exhibition grounds. I didn’t really plunge in because my craving was not chicken neither was it meat!!

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As an event sponsor, I received a certificate for it… A guy I am thankful for took the picture!! 

 

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Signature Hotel in Jinja put on quite a lavish display!

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The cook-off judges.. 

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What do chefs talk about when they gather?? That I left for you to imagine!

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Back in my high-school, I pursued the cooking course–Home Economics, there is a beauty in laying out your cooked products than there is in trying to cook them all in a given time!

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Beauty!!

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Cherry decorated beds oozing love were equally present at the expo!!

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Not butterscotch, neither is it velvet.. This is the Black Forest… I can already taste it on my tongue!

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Table Lay out…

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Centre pieces done by Hotel Africana

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Looking for Art and Souvenirs, Uganda is the only place you will get them in Plenty!

Sarah Blick(in black dress)– A chef at Hotel Africana walked away with a brand new  Hisense 42 inch screen. She was more excited than any I have seen. She lost her words, lost her sanity(just for a while haha) and almost cried. She was privileged to have her Mentor, Mariam Bachu who was ecstatic for her win.

Ojara Brian, a chef at Shangri-La hotel emerged the best throughout the competitions. He was awarded 2 million shillings and a fully paid trip to Brussels. He is not the kind to scream or jump but you could see in the way he kept smiling!!

He is very laid back however I managed catch a slight interview with him.. Watch below

 


I would like to hear your opinions, this is my first photo filled blog post and the photos were taken by myself. Same can be said about the edits!!

Thank you!!

Brown Skin

Today I met the Brown skin
I call her that because it was what she was known by back when I knew her
Brown skin and I went to the same church
She was the light that filled most boys’ nights
And the reason most girls wore envy as a garment
She had all the handsome, masculine and well framed men under her whimsical
Acting like dogs would at the sight of a chicken bone
We on the other hand had the chaff; smitten, beaten and weak
The kind that would frail on cold mornings and sneeze more than whales
We held onto these weaklings’ hands, mostly dissatisfied but appreciative of their advances
Unfortunately, our necks remained craned to the men we wished to have
The men Brown skin treated like dots

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Overtime, we grew up, moved on and forgot these men whose fiery glances toward Brown Skin tore at our hearts
Our prayers changed to “Father in Heaven, we thank you for the unanswered prayers”
We realized we didn’t get them then but we were in a better place to make them wish they had invested in where their eyes were not
More often we went off singing Hallelujah and winking at Karma like “You are loyal bish”
We were happier than Jack and Jill on their way up the hill after we met their glutton looking bodies
We were more confident than Red Ridinghood when we realized they no-longer had effect in the affairs of our hearts
Oh the relish.

Forgive me, I tend to lose myself in too much thought
Let us get back to where we began
Oh yes, I met Brown skin and there was something oddly odd about her
She had lost a glow; both her own and her maker’s
She looked worn out, hard stretched and flustered at her 22
She had slew long before the world caught onto the slay queen trend but now she looked slain
In my bell bottom jeans, faded maroon tank top and fish open shoes, I couldn’t be compared with her.. I looked far better
She had tonnes more skin and age
Just one look at her and I knew what the cause was.
Just one look!!

Brown Skin was not jolly as she was before
She had long lost her spark
She had gotten comfortable
Heeding not the gospel of levels
You don’t stay in the same place for too long and expect to remain relevant
And just like that, the boys had come and gone same as the men
Coming and leaving like seasons
Enjoying her smile and hearty chuckle and later finding agitation when her dimples showered the sides of her temples
Had she soared, had she moved, she would have found inspiration from someone else
Possibly even finding a mentor to guide her through her life’s purpose
Maybe she would still have attracted all the men to herself because her glow would only have gotten stronger and better
Maybe we would still be jealous of her
But then she would be in a better place with a better outlook on life
But she stuck to the same, to what she knew
Scared of taking a step into the waters; fearing that she may drown

No this is no memorial message to Brown Skin
As a matter of fact, she is alive and maybe well; living life as the young people would say nowadays
She just looks faded as the black cloth you last let go
She looks drained, thirsting for more and not knowing where to get it from
Feeding on Inspiration and motivational speeches from “Servants” that have forsaken the words that give Life.
These servants are just not speaking to dead minds, they are influencing decisions
Her soul dies everyday but her Spirit was long buried
Under the clamp of man’s ideas—Religion
Oh give me a glass of wine, I am not jealous of Brown skin anymore— I drink because she has deliberately veiled herself
I sympathize with her but I pray for her more
In my bell bottom jeans, I write about Brown Skin
For the first time today, she didn’t say “Hmmm, she stretched out her hand in polite greeting!!


End: This is just not any poem… If you read to the end, I would like to hear/read your thoughts😊😐.. Thank you!

JACK MA: I see Huge Potential In Africa’s Youths.

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At 2:30pm on Friday, 21st July, Jack Ma made an entrance into a fully packed hall at the Kigali convention centre. He was flanked by Asian comrades dressed in perfectly straightened suits, carrying bags and tech savvy gadgets. These Asian comrades, I later found out were Chinese Billionaires too(Your association circle defines who you are). This was at the just concluded #YouthConnektAfrica summit and the wait to listen to Jack Ma was a session most delegates had anticipated.

His opening statement on African soil was; I have not come to Africa to sell Chinese products, there are already quite a lot of them here. I come to empower African entrepreneurs to create their own Alibaba platform.

During the “Spotlight with Jack Ma” session which was moderated by Julie Gichuru, Jack Ma spoke prudently about businesses, career decisions as well as youths being the engine that will drive Africa towards globalization to realize its entrepreneurial potential.

Here are a few things I managed jot down as he spoke to us during the session.

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If you are hiring, Hire a person that is more intelligent than you are. Hire the person you think would be your employer in 5 years.

Have a global vision and do it the local way. Think big and think the future.

We don’t own our policies; other people’s policies own us.

We cannot waste the lessons learned the hard way. Look out for stories on failure, there is something to learn from them.

Conquer the boarders. We are not different. We shouldn’t let boarders limit us from doing business

Today is difficult, tomorrow is more difficult but the day after is more beautiful

Jack Ma philosophy:  In business, first comes the Customers,  second the employees, and third are the shareholders. When the first two are happy, shareholders are happy too. Spend most of your time on your customers and not your competitors. Customers help advertise your business for you that it helps you beat your competitors.

Focus on the 3Qs that lead to success:

  • IQ=Smart=Know what you want,
  • EQ=Wise=Know what you don’t want
  • LQ=Love=Be passionate

The third world war should be the war against poverty and disease

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”

 If you want to be big company, solve big problems. if you want to be small company, solve small problems.

The difference between young people and old people is this; Young people think about tomorrow while old people are always thinking about yesterday.

If you want to change the world, change yourself first. This is more important and easier.

Please notice that everything that whatever comes out from his abundant speech is a quote..

“Alibaba’s greatest success is hinged on youths and women. Youths have hope and eagerly take on challenges whereas the women tend to think about others more than they think about themselves. If you empower these two groups of people, then you will be successful.” Jack Ma emphasized

Jack Ma on whether he intends to have Alibaba in Africa said “We cannot bring Alibaba to Africa; Africa should build its own Alibaba. I see huge potential in Africa’s youths, No matter how big your vision is, you have to start small”.

“Africa has to start thinking of Globalization, selling things to other African countries, the future of E-commerce in Africa is much bigger than in Europe, bigger than in America, also don’t wait for government to build infrastructure before you start, If you wait for everything to be okay before you start, that means the opportunities are already gone.” he continued

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When the plenary session on which Jack Ma appeared with Rwandan President H.E Paul Kagame, UNCTAD Secretary General, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi came to a close, there was chance for journalists and media to have a session with the Alibaba group boss and Dr Mukhisa Kituyi. Here is where I had a mini-interview with Ma..

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Me: You have visited Rwanda and Kenya and you mentioned earlier that you intend to invest in the African continent; is two countries out of 52, sample space enough for you?

Jack Ma: Two countries are not enough. This trip is a learning trip. I visited Kenya and Rwanda because of the development and entrepreneurial growth taking place in those two countries. I intend to have my team come back to do a pilot study as well as work closely with our contacts in Africa.

Me: What is the difference between Information technology and Digital technology? Aren’t these phenomena replacing manual labor?

Jack Ma: The world is transforming from IT(Information technology) to Digital technology. The more we embrace digital technology and not feel like it is taking away our jobs, the more accomplished work we can do. And in the end, create new jobs as well.

Me: What is your take on Entrepreneurship in Africa?

Jack Ma: I am impressed by the passion of entrepreneurship in Africa. I have traveled across the world and most people I have met are either scared for or worried about the future. However, the people in Africa have confidence in the future. Africans have passion and ideas.

Some of the projects Jack Ma announced to start in Africa.

*Under project number one – 200 African young entrepreneurs are to work at Alibaba headquarters with the aim of gaining experience in fields including; e-commerce, Artificial intelligence and Internet to develop their businesses when they return to Africa

**The Second Project – Alibaba group will work with Universities in Africa and governments to train specific courses including; Internet, Artificial intelligence, and e-commerce.

***Third Project —  will be a partnership between Alibaba and Paradise Foundation of china – this project will deal with promoting and supporting Environmental conservation efforts in Africa especially protecting elephants and other precious animals. A prize will be given to 50 rangers for the next ten years to thank them for their tireless efforts in conservation.

****Fourth project, Jack Ma pledged to invest in youth to show his confidence in Africa. He will invest $10 million in the African Entrepreneurship fund to support young entrepreneurs realize their dreams.

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What will baffle you about Jack ma; Asia’s richest man.

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  • He was rejected at Havard university for 10 times.
  • When KFC first came to China, 24 job applications were submitted. 23 people got jobs apart from him.
  • He learned English by going to a local hotel that hosted tourists every day so that he could meet people. He also bought a radio so that he could listen to the English broadcast.
  • After he graduated, he got a job as an English teacher, making about $12(UGX. 43,200) a month at a local university.
  • He first shared the idea about Alibaba group with 16 people in his sitting room. Jack Ma told everyone to spare all the money they had and invest it in the idea he shared with them. He told them the project was likely to fail, but if they succeeded, the rewards would be unimaginable.
  • According to Forbes, Jack Ma’s net worth is 35.4 billion USD( I honestly will not calculate this into UGX.)

Tony Elumelu: I Owe My Success To Someone That Believed In Me.

I love stories. I seek to tell them too. Stories of people and their culture, their ups and their downs, stories about life, love, patriotism, solidarity and just about anything. Therefore when I received an invite to attend the #YouthConnektAfrica Summit, the first thought that came to mind was the opportunity to tell new stories. I was going to a new country and while there, I would come face to face with diversity.

Therefore I sought a camera… I needed to document these stories. And a camera I got.

I arrived in Rwanda Wednesday morning, I experimented with the camera about what settings it had and what shades were better when—(I am no photographer neither have I taken lessons for it..It is something that I love to do for leisure–however I am now considering getting lessons in this field).

By Thursday, the camera and I were well acquainted, charged and ready to collect stories to tell back home. I entered the red-carpeted pathway leading into the complex. I was taking random pictures, of people walking up the stairs and rumps, others taking a look at the exhibition area, capturing emotion and excitement, capturing activity and motion too. When my Spirit said those were enough for the time being, seeing that we had an entire day ahead and yet it was just 9:15am. I shut the camera and let it hang around my neck.

A few meters into the auditorium, a lady smiled at me. She stopped me;

  • Her: “Excuse me,
  • Me: Yes?
  • Her: Good-morning
  • Me: Good-morning to you
  • Her: Ummh.. Are you the lady photographer I am waiting for? I just spoke to you a while ago. She says this gesturing to her phone.
  • Me: No it isn’t I. (I shake my head negatively)..
  • Her: Oh.. Okay.. I will just wait on a little longer.
  • Me: Okay then.. Have a great day.

We exchange smiles as I walk away. I head right into the fully packed auditorium. There are people everywhere. Some seated, others standing, some speaking into the phone, others talking to their immediate neighbors. There are people everywhere. I walk in and take a seat next to a man that later introduces himself as Robert, he is from Tanzania—He owns an ICT firm there. I introduce myself too and request him to watch my bags for me. He says it is okay.

The stage/podium looks set. There are five empty white seats. The Emcee was up the stage a while back asking people to maintain order as the conference shall commence soon. I walk to the place where there are a plenty of more media persons with cameras and audio mics. I stand there.. At this moment, I am angling the camera, taking shots… Shooting away, some pictures come out too zoomed in, others too bad, others professionally raw.

While at this, a feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn to see who it is, it is the lady I spoke to earlier.

  • Her: Excuse me once again
  • Me: Yes?
  • Her: My name is Clari.
  • Me: Okay. My name is Cynthia
  • Her: I was waiting for a lady photographer that is supposed to take pictures of my boss but she unfortunately can not make it. Do you mind taking pictures of my boss?
  • Me: Ummhh.. Okay.. Who is your boss?
  • Her: He is one of the panelists. Tony Elumelu.
  • Me: Okay. (But I don’t know who Tony Elumelu is)
  • Her: Please get a few clips, pictures of him and what he says. Here is my card. How will I locate you?
  • Me: I will be here. And as you can see, I am the only one here dressed in a green dress…

We laugh about it. She thanks me for taking on the assignment.

I start taking pictures of who I thought was “Tony Elumelu”. Sadly, I later found out that who I thought was Mr. Elumelu was instead Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa.… as he gave the opening remarks (haha)

When Tony Elumelu was introduced by the moderator of the plenary,…. I froze… I then searched for the card the lady had handed me. She is the head of Brands, communications and marketing at Heirs Holdings!! Wooowww, how did this blessing locate me?

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So I gave my assignment my best energy, and I am glad the pictures came out stunning.

Later she asks how it went, and I tell her it all went amazing. She asks me to send her an email so we can chat more about the matter….

Here are a few take-aways from Tony Elumelu while at #YouthConnektAfrica

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Tony Elumelu in company of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina(President of the African Development Bank), Vera Songwe(Executive Secretary on the Economic Commission on Africa) and Diane Karusisi(CEO, Bank Of Kigali) answered to the question – How do we get to 50 million jobs by 2020?

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The soft spoken entrepreneur said that if we hope to get 50 million jobs by 2020, then we need to work together to create more entrepreneurs especially from among the youths. “The Tony Elumelu foundation realizes the importance of Youths to Africa. Therefore we identify, create and also mentor youths to become successful entrepreneurs to benefit Africa.” he stated.

“Africa needs to offer an enabling environment. There must be access to electricity, proper law structures and cross-border policies to enable free movement of goods among Africans. The goals we have set to have youths employed by 2020 require an integrated approach.” Tony Elumelu continued.

The young generation needs a lot of inspiration from their leaders. We cannot continue to fail our youth each day yet hope for a transformation of our continent. Young people are entering the job market, if we do not cater for them now, there is going to be insecurity not only in Africa but everywhere else in the world. Therefore as entrepreneurs, we need to support other budding entrepreneurs. This success is not only for an individual and his family but for Africa entirely.— Tony Elumelu

Mr. Elumelu further pointed out that if promoted, entrepreneurship and innovation among the youth can be an engine of social and economic transformation of Africa.

“I encourage young people in Africa to work hard and turn their entrepreneurial dreams into working businesses. African economies should create a conducive environment, and fix challenges like lack of access to finance, market and electricity, in order to enable the youth to exploit their talents,” he said.

He ended with this>> If we are serious about creating jobs in Africa, let’s come to the rescue of young African entrepreneurs. Tony Elumelu committed to mentoring young African entrepreneurs for the social economic transformation of Africa.

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Tony Elumelu is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. According to Wikipedia, he is worth US$700 Million. In 2010, Tony Elumelu launched the Tony Elumelu Foundation to spur Africa’s development through entrepreneurship and competitiveness.

In his words, he says– “As an entrepreneur myself, I understand what it feels like to yearn for a lifeline, to hope for a ‘big break’, to look forward to enjoying some luck. As a matter of fact, part of my own success is owed to someone that believed in me, and was prepared to invest in my talents and take a bet on my future. It is for this reason that I developed the economic philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent. Based on this guiding philosophy, we have launched successful programmes and forged meaningful partnerships with stakeholders across the globe.”

“In 2015, I heralded the ‘Decade of the African Entrepreneur’ by committing $100 million, to the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme – the first of its kind and scale in Africa. Since then, our alumni – across all 54 African countries – have begun growing businesses and improving lives, contributing to our goal of empowering 10,000 entrepreneurs who will collectively create one million jobs and generate $10 billion in revenue.

We are committed to giving from the perspective of empowering the recipient, rather than making them dependent on us, because prosperity is assured only when ALL Africans are financially independent. My vision for the Foundation is to unlock the obstacles that Africa’s entrepreneurs face, so that they, rather than aid agencies or governments will spur the continent’s transformation.

At the end of our 10-year commitment, thousands of businesses will grow and flourish, driving sustainable prosperity across Africa. This is my vision. I invite you ALL to learn about what the Foundation does, what we hope to do and to discover what we can do together. In doing so, I am confident that we will achieve sustainable development in Africa.”— This is Tony Elumelu’s story, What are you doing to have more than 50 million Africans employed to enable a sustainable and self-sustaining continent??


 

Meanwhile, Clari mentioned that if I had trouble recognizing who he would be among the panelists, I should look out for “A red tie and Red Socks”.. Must be his signature dress-cord.

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Red Socks, Red Tie

P.S– I am honored to have been official photographer of Tony Elumelu on behalf of his team at the summit. He is a phenomenal man… Hand-claps for his life-changing works to the African continent.

Advice: Always carry a camera if you can, you never know who may need your help!!

AKON: We Have The Power To Change Africa’s Story.

At the recently concluded #YouthConnektSummit at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda, youths from across the world gathered to grace this year’s conference themed: From Potential to Success.

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A big percentage of the youths in attendance expressed disgruntled remarks about their governments not being a helpful factor in supporting their innovations, ideas and projects. They argued that in the end, this has scored-up the number of the unemployed.

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The panelist that fervently answered this query was celebrated musician Akon, who got onto the stage amidst ululations, thunderous clapping and excitement. This Plenary session was the YouthConnekt Bridges: Diaspora, the 6th Region. In all honesty, I haven’t been keen to follow up on Akon’s expedites since his hit song “Lonely”. Therefore as the commotion escalated, with youths adjusting their zoom functions on their smart phones to have Akon appear in the same picture with them, while others stood up to have a good view of the legendary musician, now turned business man promenade his way into the room followed by a group of more panelists, I sat still wondering what he would say, would he be singing, rapping or whot?!!!

*I am quite sure the majority of the screams he got were because these youths loved him and what they had come to know about him—his music.

Therefore when Akon began to speak, not only were there audible sighs but unbelievable hand-claps… He ignited a listening silence within the complex from both the panelists and over 3000 youths in attendance.

Here are some of my take-aways from what Akon said at the #YouthConnektAfrica summit.

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“We (the youth) have to be the driving force to rebuild Africa. We cannot depend on governments to do it for us. Their job is to lay down the framework and make sure that there’s accountability for the things that we do,” he said.

“When I was growing as an entertainer, I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to be remembered for just singing and dancing.’ I had to figure out what I can do that will help create a legacy. It hit me in the middle of the first song when there was a sudden black-out,” Akon said while narrating how he came up with the idea of his solar company to power Africa.

Akon further said that Africa has a lot of potential now than ever before. “Not many black Americans wanted to be associated with Africa. You would ask one of them; Yo brother what country in Africa do you come from? and he would go like, No man, I don’t even know where that(Africa) is. However right now many black brothers are willing to speak about their African roots. That can only mean that whatever is coming out of Africa is worth identifying with.”

In regard to funding, Akon advised youths to be aware of what needs their projects shall fulfill before they seek funding. He emphasized this with examples of how he spent a great deal of time searching for funders, and all the while he was rejected until China believed in his proposal plans.

When he was through, I was charmed. You could sit through an entire five hours listening to Akon, he has intelligent ideas and execution plans. He said that what Africa needed now more than ever was unity and that if it were upto him, the continent  would be “The United States of Africa.”

We have the obligation to change Africa and the strength is on the inside of us. The better we start to feel about Africa, the more it shall become contagious else where. “We have the power to decide what the rest of the world should know about us, on our terms. We need more stories of heroism told about Africa and that is our collective responsibility.”

Here is a snippet of what he said–>