The Arab Revolution Goes to Southern Africa

African and Arab youth have started a new conversation about their futures and their countries. This is a conversation that the men and women in the corridors of power never bothered to engage in.

The Arab Spring was not a spontaneous reaction. It didn’t just suddenly “spring up” from nowhere. Politicians and their backers often try to distort revolutions by claiming that they are chaotic events organised by youth who opt to be idle, then restless and eventually lawless. To a South African youth struggling to gain university entrance to the point of being trampled on in a stampede of five thousand others scurrying to grab the same opportunity, or a Swati youth eating cow dung so that she can take her ARV medication without the treatment eroding her stomach, or a DRC youth suffering through or forcibly committing sexual terrorism acts, the adoption of the Arab Revolution as courageously carried out by Arab youth is not an unreasonable option. In fact, it may be the only mechanism left to Southern Africa’s youth to effect political change in their lives and countries.