Our Today’s discourse is sure taking a new dimension to special areas of concern; as we approach a critical moments in Africa’s development, we are indeed pushed with the unending problems of violence, restiveness and catapulted hike in domestic anomaly. First let us deal with violence the way it may appear in the youth contemplative standpoint.
There are different types of violence perpetrated by youth and to tackle issues of similar vices in most urban and communities clashes instigated by politicians, but later championed by the youths, should be the focal point for today’s monograph/digest. Interpersonal violence perpetrated by youth is one of the most prevalent and visible forms of violence, evidenced by a rise in the premature death many children and youth between the ages of 10 and 30 years. Youth violence can take several forms: Verbal, psychological, and sexual forms of assault, gang violence, bullying, gender harassment, and the use of child soldiers within armed conflicts.
Cult pressure introduces young individuals to alcohol and drug abusers, instigating in them a psychopathological trauma of fear, and the need to seek for protection, making these individuals susceptible to violence. Experiencing violence within the family also encourages the use of violence against others, the majority of victims being youth. Some have linked mass media exposure, that has been said to glorify violence while desensitizing viewers, has also become a risk factor for youth violence. But the most common denominator of crimes and violence today in Africa, according to a detailed research carried out by SOAR, has everything to do with the system of governance in African countries. When there is good governance, there will be law and order; the economy and sociocultural prospects will flourish unendingly. A situation where the reverse is the case, an emergence of what SOAR called “Reassuring violence” take effect. This is bound to take effect immediately, when all or some vital tools of governance are lacking.
Compounded by these factors is the structural culture of violence. Poor economic conditions such as unemployment and lack of social services and support, especially in urban cities; and negligence by the government in developing communities and rural areas, has helped to set the stage for vulnerable youth to get involved with the prevalent gang culture of these areas. Also, children are widely recruited, often by force, in armed conflicts in Africa, with most child soldiers being recruited from the country of Burma—60, 000 youth and growing. Clearly, susceptibility to violence depends on the environment young individuals are brought up in.
Deaths and injuries from youth violence represent a major health problem in many parts of the world, and recently it was evident in the acclaimed cult fracas in Borokiri-Town in Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria; where a feared Ex-militant leader was gunned down on the head by rival cult gang. But the truth is far from this, as it doesn’t sound like a coincidence. There is a broad range of strategies for prevention of youth violence. Some have proved to be more effective than the others are. However, single strategies are not sufficient and therefore, multiple concurrent approaches must be taken to reduce youth violence. Among the mission statement of SOAR, we have unveiled the strategies towards ending Youth violence in Africa. SOAR cannot succeed without networking with all stakeholders through dialogue. Since we own this generation of Africa, it is our responsibilities to reach for solution and peace. Amidst the stories about the rise and devastating effects of youth violence, there are inspiring stories about individuals with innovative solutions that have the potential to improve thousands of young lives. And right here in Africa, we have the solutions amongst youths, and by networking with other youth leaders worldwide, we can reach a proactive solution to ending violence in Africa. We must stop the Youth violence.
The following is how SOAR plans to eradicate Africa of youth violence:
• Creating a petition or making commitment to help prevent youth violence.
• Starting an interactive group or a project dedicated to informing and empowering young people in African communities about youth violence.
• Educating Young Africans about the devastating consequences of youth violence.
• Helping our communities to provide a support network for youth affected by violence.
• Volunteering for organizations and government, and ourselves forming an Organization base network towards working to alleviate youth violence.
It is our responsibilities to admonish ourselves that, learning about a new global issue is only the first step to developing the skills we need to have a lasting impact. In order to add a voice, we must collectively come together through this forum, reaching out to thousands of youths in Africa to stop characterized violence and war, and resort to propagated peace and development. So let the rest of SOAR’s members who are Africans know what kind of change we as Africans want to see with the issue of youth violence by joining us in our campaign against the following:
2. Political thuggery
5. Restive and pragmatic social unrest
6. Youth Under-development, etc.
May the glory of Africa shine on you as you SOAR higher…
Africa belongs to you and me
Carl Ogunshola Oshodi