You can… if you take responsibility for your future

US President Barack Obama has just finished his Speech in Accra, Ghana. In it, he very clearly lauds Ghana for upholding democracy, and expresses hope that Africa is capable of rising above historic injustice and poverty.

‘The people of Africa are ready to claim that future. In my country, African-Americans — including so many recent immigrants — have thrived in every sector of society. We have done so despite a difficult past, and we have drawn strength from our African heritage. With strong institutions and a strong will, I know that Africans can live their dreams in Nairobi and Lagos; in Kigali and Kinshasa; in Harare and right here in Accra.

Fifty-two years ago, the eyes of the world were on Ghana. And a young preacher named Martin Luther King traveled here, to Accra, to watch the Union Jack come down and the Ghanaian flag go up. This was before the march on Washington or the success of the civil rights movement in my country. Dr. King was asked how he felt while watching the birth of a nation. And he said: “It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice.”’

He was very likely thinking of Kenya, his father’s country when he said;

‘Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.’

He reached out to the young people of Africa, acknowledging that they make up the larger part of the population.

‘And I am particularly speaking to the young people. In places like Ghana, you make up over half of the population. Here is what you must know: the world will be what you make of it.

You have the power to hold your leaders accountable and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, end conflicts and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can.’

Full text of Obama’s Speech in Accra, Ghana on Kenyaimagine

©Juliet Maruru 2009 http://www.jmaruru.wordpress.com

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