African Young People: Who Are You? By Warren Nsoseka Lee

As questions come our way, most of the times we realize that they are just repetitions of the same questions. But the big question is; what do we make of them?  One of such examples could be found in one of the key questions employers ask prospective employees: what can you do? This in itself is a substantially compelling question, but what is most ironic is its baffling reception by the employee. How do you walk up to an employer after compiling a compelling Curriculum Vitae and you are unable to respond to the question what can you do?Well, this is not today’s matter. Let us see who we truly are.

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WHO ARE YOU? The question of identity, far from ethnicity or physical description is as tricky as the one mentioned earlier. When asked this, the reaction most often is like that of someone whose attention is called to his uncombed hair, of which he wasn’t aware. When we learn to know, and boldly talk about ourselves, we pass a big exam in life. Let me share this little quote with you from an introduction to a project document I wrote once:
“Many youths now build castles in the air from futile fantasies in disregard of their hailing backgrounds. This has led to numerous disappointments which nowadays place them at the mercy of addiction – cigarettes, hard drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity in order to show off a standard, since these have rather become the “morale” of the age.” (NYF 2015/Version 2)
The result of fake or swollen identities as is the case with social media identities versus real life identities conditions most people to live a whole life trying to find more evidence to an earlier projected fake standard.  In fact, I read someone sometime ago said that if we truly were who we seem to be on Facebook, the world would really be a heaven.


Moving around through the communities and talking to fellow young people, the question of self has always been priority. Getting to know one’s self is the basic step to getting to build one’s self. The question of who we are then becomes one we (you) should be asking ourselves (yourself) every time until we (you) have truly answered it. 

Throughout life, we work so hard finding solutions to issues, impressing people, performing great tasks and lots of heroic deeds but we quit the world not knowing who we are. Knowing one’s self entails giving one’s self to one, away from the businesses of life, academics, jobs and family,to the quiet of nature. It is some sort of solitude. This precious moment could last an hour, fifteen minutes or even a day or a week or a month, but all the time used finds just a single second and that tick alone tells you who you are. Remember this is not a war, so you must not fight with the mind to know this. If you do, the mind will tell you of an ideal image of you, one you fantasize about and not that which you truly are. This moment is a moment of honesty with one’s self, when you let your spirit meet your body by totally surrendering to yourself without argument. Let your ‘self,’ talk to you.
The question of knowing one’s self can take several attempts to come to fruition. When you have the answer, you will find the following:
LIKES AND DISLIKES: You will find your likes and dislikes. Note that what you like may not be ideal and what you may have disliked was the ideal. This self-check is meant to help you see who you have become.
TALENTS: This simply means natural ability. It helps you build skills.     
POTENTIALS: Both material and intellectual. Helps you design your goals wisely.
PALS: You will see clearly the network you have revolved in and it will explain partly why you are who you are. 
Tell yourself who YOU want to be.
Take your natural self (abilities), and from it, frame the skills that would make you be the ideal person you want to be.
Get the right education for it.
Get the right mind for it.
Get the right network for it. 
And Be YOU. Be DIFFERENT. That’s how you were made. 
About the Author
Lee is a highly committed young man at the forefront of several youth empowerment and orientation initiatives. Professionally, he is a sociolinguist with particular interest in conflict resolution. Lee is passionate about youth education orientation, talent building, sustainable development, and ICT education for kids. Since 2012, he has worked on several projects including Orienting to Inspire and ‘Keep the Girls in Class’ which have impacted over 3000 youths with about 60% of them, now able to make good education and career choices, and build their skills. He most recently co-founded No Kid Behind to bring ICT towards children and also encourage volunteerism among young people

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