I had the opportunity last week to attend a summit hosted by a Faith organization. Theme was “Citizenship in a Democratic society”, organized by the Inter-Faith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA).
The moment I read “Faith” I was ready to shut down my mind because the few times before this summit that I had consciously engaged with Faith-ists, it was with Christians who wanted to force me to believe in Jesus, or with newly-converted Muslims who were shaming me for exposing skin – you know how excited and radical people get. Needless to say, I wasn’t very excited – until I thought to the believers I’ve seen on my twitter and how practical their discussions were, I decided that the IFAPA summit is something my mind was ready to experience.
I will not write out a summary for you on here, no. Instead I want to share with you what I picked up from the summit. I must say, it was brain-stimulating and my mind had the best time there – best decision I’ve made for my knowledge bank this year.
1. Youth are bound to mimic their predecessors
The most part of socialization is through copy-cat mechanisms, and while we all know this our elders like to lead their lives with a “Do as I say and not as I do” attitude knowing very well that it’s not quite as successful as it ought to be. It’s unfortunate that there is also a fast-growing gap between generations which is somewhat of a barrier to inter-generational communications. It becomes challenging for adults and youths to engage and advise each other on matters where one knows better than the other, without triggering defensiveness and rejection.
2. Religious communities fail to relate to the use
At the summit, they used the word “brainwash” in referring to how they would like to encourage youths to be active members of institutions of faith. Although not to mean it in the negative sense, the term itself carries a negative implication because we understand it to be manipulating one’s mind into agreeing/doing/believing. This said to me that these institutions cannot relate to us, and this is a contributing to inter-generational gap which we seem to be struggling with already. This is not helped by the conflict between religions, and the geo-economic boundaries between the youths themselves also counters the efforts to facilitate integration and practice tolerance.
How do we talk to each other if we can’t be in the same space together?
You can read the tweet-summaries of my favorite speeches here on my story account at LindelwaR