05/11/2008

"youth have the power to change things"


Big Deal's been catching up with Kepha from Kenya, as Kenyans celebrate the Obama victory with a national holiday because of Obama's Kenyan heritage! Kepha (24) set up the Kibera Community Youth Programme, supported by CAFOD. Here's what he had to say today! Read more

"I draw inspiration from the victory of Barack Obama. For us as young Kenyans, we saw that something we thought was a dream – change - can actually happen.

We are not just dreaming, we can see it happened in America this way, and we should be no different. It’s really been electric, Obama winning. For Kenyans it’s been a unifying factor. For the first time people are proud to be Kenyan.

It’s amazing that for the first times Kenyans are speaking one language, from the President, who’s declared it a national holiday, to the Kenyan on the street or in the slum. It’s a big boost for togetherness and healing, and to the peace building process. We spent the night together watching the proceedings with an American flag around a bonfire. People hit the streets, joking and celebrating.

The last time Obama came to Kenya, he visited Kibera and spoke to people, and he was very popular with Kenyans of all tribes.

Yet it is important to note, we Kenyans are presenting ourselves as his roots, and yet we mustn’t gloss over this; we have our hands dirty with the violence at our own elections.

Someone can be elected regardless of their ethnic background, regardless of their economic status, or family background; that’s really where we have to learn a lot of lessons, as do the leaders of our country. If our Kenyan democracy was close to that, we wouldn’t have had the election trouble this year.

Obama’s story is the most inspiring story! It’s a powerful message to young people. Obama said he really wanted to congratulate the youth, who were supposed to be a generation of apathy, but who proved they weren’t.

It helps me as to talk to youth here about their power to change things. Obama’s win is a clear message that we can build our own path, and we can do it without just seeming like rebels.

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