There is no ‘one-size-fit-all’ narrative of the daily encounters and lived experiences of African youth. From setting up of ideas incubators and business start-ups in response to socioeconomic challenges as well as mobilization for good governance and accountability, young Africans in their different spaces or circumstances are discovering, fulfilling and /or betraying their mission in equal measures as Franz Fanon predicted almost 60 years ago. This study captures and documents the rich but often ignored or underrated experiences of young people and the implications of what they do, or fail to do, for peace and security on the continent. It responds to the imperative to put the unique stories of young Africans in their proper perspective, the same ways that they would prefer them told; than how the patronizing, contemptuous and disdainful manner society often tell them.
Chimamanda Adichie, the acclaimed writer, had warned about ‘the danger of a single story’ a situation in which stories about persons, groups or countries; in this case, the African youth, are sometimes deliberately narrated in negative ways. This may be likened to how societies and governments across Africa to some extent view and treat its young population; often far from who or what they really are. A single story is not only imagined, nurtured and reproduced by layers of prejudices, misconceptions or outright falsehood but also circulated and reinforced in ways that make them assume ‘the truth’ or an element of truth with the passage of time. This report therefore provides a more nuanced and balanced story of African youth, one that began by listening attentively to and learning from them in their own spaces, away from the world of adults, on how much they are fulfilling or betraying the ideals of the present times. The report envisages that the hundreds of youth that took time off the daily grind of livelihood pursuits and survival choices to contribute to the insights offered in this report would see and feel their stories come to life. They had expressed hope that telling their stories would serve as a turning point towards positive change; one that brings about a major paradigm or policy shift from the way government and society purportedly treat youth and issues that affect them.