Former South African President and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was named the most influential person among Africa’s youth by a survey commissioned by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation.
The survey, titled African Youth Survey 2020, saw 4,200 young people aged 18-24 interviewed in 14 African countries: Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The results of the survey, released on Friday, a day before Mandela’s birthday, showed that 86% of respondents said they still saw relevance in his values in the present.
“Of the multitude of his values, roughly 50% of respondents either chose freedom (30%) or non-racism (19%) as the core value they identified with,” the report read in part.
The survey also found that Mandela (55 percent) was viewed as having the greatest impact on Africa compared to anyone else.
“Regardless of the positive or negative association with leaders, African youth were clear-eyed about which individual had the biggest impact on Africa during their lifetime,” the report said.
Former US president Barack Obama was second with 12 percent foolowed by a tie between American billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates and current U.S. President Donald Trump, both with six percent.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation welcomed the results of the survey noting that Mandela’s stand against inequality was fitting in helping Africans tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has exposed the gross inequalities around the world, the glaring gaps between the haves and the have nots, and many in Africa are finding their survival under threat because of lack of access to health care,” the Foundation’s spokesman Luzuko Koti said.
As efforts to find for a vaccine for the deadly virus continue, there is concern that wealthier nations could scoop promising medicines against the new coronavirus, leaving developing countries, particularly those in Africa, empty-handed.
A potential vaccine is not the only area of concern where Africa is feared to be left behind. The continent has also struggled to procure COVID-19 testing kits, personal protective equipment and other critical equipment such as ventilators.
Later on Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is scheduled to deliver the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture entitled ‘Tackling Inequality: A new social contract for a new era’.