On what would have been the late Nelson Mandela's 105th birthday, the Ichikowitz Family Foundation released key findings from the Africa-wide African Youth Survey (AYS), showcasing significant support for democracy among the continent's rising generation.
Conducted over four years, the survey engaged over 4,500 young Africans between 18-24 years old from 15 countries.
According to the AYS, a clear majority (55%) considered Nelson Mandela the most impactful figure on Africa, far surpassing Barack Obama at 12%.
The study also highlighted that 74% of respondents believe democracy is the best form of government, but 53% emphasized the need for an Africa-centric model instead of replicating Western-style democracy.
However, the survey revealed obstacles hindering Mandela's dream of a democratic future. More than half (53%) mistrust national leaders and elected officials, making the political establishment the least trusted institution.
Discrimination experiences affected 47% of participants, and only 52% believed their countries treated everyone fairly under the law.
The study also shed light on the issue of equality and gender-based discrimination. The majority (83%) felt their countries should do more to protect ethnic minorities' rights, while concerns over women's rights and gender-based violence affected 79% and 81% of respondents, respectively.
Regarding LGBTQ rights, opinions were divided. Only 38% called for more support for LGBTQ people, while 59% expressed satisfaction with their community's status quo.
Ivor Ichikowitz, Chairman and Founder of the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, emphasized that Nelson Mandela's legacy remains a work in progress, urging the younger generation to be catalysts for change and uphold the mission for a democratic Africa equal for all to thrive.
The AYS findings offer a profound glimpse into the thoughts and aspirations of Africa's youth and highlight the importance of continuing Mandela's vision for a united and democratic continent.