To those much is given, much is expected. This is the principle that we at Lapid Leaders operate within. Far too often people across the African continent get caught up with what is wrong with the continent, with a heightened focus on the quality of leadership across many nations. In the process, many individuals abscond their responsibilities and believe that they have no role to play in progressing the African Dream.
However, this is very far from the truth. If you can read this blog, if you can access Facebook (or any other social media), if you have even gone through high school let alone university or college; then you are by all standards one who has been given much. In a continent where more than 60% of the population live below the poverty line; in a continent where high school education is an expensive affair, anyone who has been the beneficiary of this must know they are what we refer to as ‘talented tenth’.
In a book Talented Tenth written by W.E.B. DuBois in 1903, addressing African-Americans, he writes, “Was there ever a nation on God’s fair earth civilized from the bottom upward? Never; it is, ever was and ever will be from the top downward that culture filters. The Talented Tenth rises and pulls all that are worth the saving up to their vantage-ground. This is the HISTORY OF HUMAN PROGRESS; and the two historic mistakes which have hindered that progress were the thinking first that no more could ever rise save the few already risen; or second, that it would better for the unrisen to pull the risen down”
Pay it forward
As Africa’s talented tenth, we must then ask ourselves, ‘How are we paying our good fortune forward?’ We must train the next generation of African Leaders to continually ask how they are paying forward the good fortune of being part of the talented tenth. We must recognize that being part of the talented tenth comes with a responsibility; a responsibility that W.E.B says is the reason for human progress. The history of human progress has always been that the talented tenth rise and pull others up. Service to the community is the place to start this journey of paying it forward.
We are fortunate enough to live in a society where there is no lack of places where we can pay it forward. What we lack is the recognition that we truly are those who are given much, and if the gifts we have received end with us, then we will have failed.
Over the next few months, the newest cohort of Lapid Leaders will provide mentorship to girls in a local rehab center; some of the Lapid Leaders will provide administrative assistant to needy local schools; some will support local NGOS achieve their missions. They will become friends, mentors, and teachers to some kids who may not be willing to trust them at first, or to pay attention, or care about what they say. They’ll need to develop great patience and powers of observation. They’ll see and hear some things that may shock or embarrass them. They will get an opportunity to give back to society, to recognize that they are some of the luckiest members of our communities.
In the end, they will have grown into better servant leaders, the kind of leaders that this Continent craves for. We are looking forward to this experience. Tomorrow we share ways that volunteering can work for your career