Speak of nationalism as a youth, you can afford not to mention Richard Runyararo Mahomva commonly known as ‘Ras Mkonto’ a well-known Pan-Africanist who recently received a Nama award in the 2015 Nama awards as the founder of a youth centered think-tank called Leaders of African Network, LAN, which has published about three volumes.
Mkhonto is now a literature rethink columnist at the Sundaynews that tackles issues to do with patriotism, nationalism and Pan-Africanism. The award came after the Pan-Africanist published two books under the LAN book stable. The first publication was titled Pan Africanism and the second most recent book that he co-wrote with Simbarashe Moyo is titled The Post Chimurangas Explained. Mkonto notes
“I used to think issues of Pan Africanism were of those that are elderly and academia’s. Along the years, I began to familiarize with this ideology and movement that encourages the solidarity of Africans worldwide.”
Ras MkontoWesizwe has grown as a man and as youth leader in the contemporary African society with his leadership positions starting when he was the vice head boy at a mission school, Gloag Ranch mission and this was just the beginning.
In 2014, Mkonto rose to become the year’s president of the Student Representative Council at Midlands State University. He then founded this youth centered think tanks called Leaders of African Neatwork, LAN. That he himself believe it encourages research and youth networking to tackle contemporary issues on African renaissance.
In his words Mkonto says, “about 10 years back, the struggle of self-assertion waskey in my teenage. At some point I became some little rebel, with loads of non-conformity to what was seen as right, like being religious you know! Asking myself ‘who am l.’ The question conceived a consciousness about being African in an undiluted manner and the burdens that came along with that.”
He further added “I was and am still inspired by the peripheral placement of our people since colonialism until this day. It is such marginalisation, strife and the feeling of being lost that causes me to want to be better and join hands with those of a like-mind to liberate the wailing souls we carry in this modern “HOUSE OF HUNGER” as Marechera plainly put it out. So I am inspired by the ray of hope outside that house.”
Mkonto has made impact through the youth think tank center by co-ordinating many young African leaders from different social and academic background including the National Arts Merit Awards nominated Cynthia Marangwanda for her book Shards. Mkonto said that he believes in engagement, and he strongly acknowledges that alone, he can’t go far. But he believes that people have work and when they are political agency nothing moves. So work is his escapism not alcohol or anything most youths in this Dark Age engage in.
Through his self determination and successful publications Mkonto has manage to gain relevance as a academia at the state University, Midlands State University, to the extent of allowing him to published a lecture writing on the nationalist evolution in Zimbabwe.
Mkonto has one example of an outstanding leader in the contemporary African society, Thabo Mbeki, and he believes in South African leader’s ideas of African renaissance. Mkonto added “I have huge amounts of respect towards him.