As promised, we kick off our Africa Month Talks feature; reflecting on a few things pertaining to our continent in forms of conversation with young Africans under the theme, African Identity Meets Urban Culture in the Digital Era. Our first chat is with a young South African, Ra-ees Moerat.
Ra-ees is the founder of Industry Talk on ZuzaNation, a creative writer, journalist and radio presenter on Hashtag Radio. Ra-ees has a love for people and a great desire to see businesses succeed. He is incredibly invested in the people and his primary focus is on creating content that contributes to the growth of society.
What's your current state of mind about Africa?
I feel proud to be an African at this point in time, primarily because a variety of the countries on the continent are progressing steadily, in terms of their mind-set changes and the new policy implementations. I feel love towards Africa, because it is in this continent where I have achieved some of goals and where I will achieve the rest.
What does it mean to live in a global village with access to technology?
To live in a global village and have access to technology for Africans mean that, we are able to conduct business virtually across the borders of our countries and our continent. We are able to keep up-to-date with latest developments, despite the location of the development. It means that we are able to develop our continent to its full potential by being part of a global village.
Africa Rising to me means that we as Africans have taken our struggles and is now in the process of flipping those struggles by venturing into entrepreneurship and empowering ourselves.
How do you maintain your African identity in the urban sphere?
It is challenging to maintain your African identity in a sphere driven by Western Culture. However, I stay true to my accent, my African swag, I practice my religion supported by Cape Malay culture and I affiliate myself with local brands. I enjoy local music and I address the socio-economic issues of our continent in public. This is what makes me identifiable as an African.
How are you using social media currency to impact not only your personal life but YOUR Africa?
The largest portion of my social media following is Africans. I usually post general motivational quotes to kick-start my fellow Africans’ day. I also address socio-economic issues and African politics on my social media to create a safe space where the public can engage in these topics.
What's your interpretation of Africa Rising? - Your views on the state of African Identity?
Africa Rising to me means that we as Africans have taken our struggles and is now in the process of flipping those struggles by venturing into entrepreneurship and empowering ourselves. Today, having an African identity is somewhat exotic. It is a privilege and we are being respected for it.
Your views on freedom in the digital era we live in and how do you ensure your VOICE is heard in the digital space?
It is important to express your right to freedom of expression as stated in chapter 2, section 16 of the constitution of South Africa. This filters into ‘freedom in the digital era’ where we now find ourselves. We need to censor ourselves responsibly, while not curbing the practice of our freedom of expression. We shouldn’t allow our content to amount to hate speech or cyber bullying. I ensure that my voice is heard by only publish relevant content in the digital sphere.
What does Africa Day (25th May) mean to you?
This is a significant day because leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1991. It is a day for us Africans to celebrate our unity and ponder on how far we’ve come as a continent. Africa Day to me simply serves as reminder that I am an African.
Generations before us fought for our liberation. What do you think is our fight as African youth?
Our fight as the youth of Africa is against socio-economic issues. We need to give special attention to the fight against our inability to access post high school education. Education is the key to alleviating other socio-economic in the continent so we need to fight for good quality and accessible education.
What makes you proudly African?
We are a diverse nation on the continent, with a multitude of cultures, traditions, personalities and religions. We have tolerance and unity. We are proud of identities as Africans and we don’t shy away from everything else that comes with being African.
Your dream for Africa?
My dream for Africa is to be free from socio-economic issues, where generations to come can live life to its fullest.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a guy who’s been loved by many and made a difference in society through the work that I do and my role as an activist for the people.
Follow him on the following platforms:
Website: Industry Talk
Facebook: Ra-ees Moerat