Irene Ikomu is an amazing girl. At 25, she has achieved more than many of her age-mates.
She was a workshop team leader at 19, and before she even thought of opening her first bank account, the then tiny debate-loving girl was receiving her first cheque. Well, all this happened before she blossomed into fame in 2013.
That year, during the town hall interactions between President Barack Obama and African youth, Ikomu was introduced by former NTV news anchor Nancy Kacungira.
She asked President Obama about the viability of the US policy of pumping aid instead of promoting trade, which would create employment opportunities. Ikomu argued that it was trade and not aid that the continent needed.
Just like that, in a single question, she had managed to influence the US to rethink about their relations with Africa. Obama later praised Ikomu during the US-Africa summit.
Ikomu was one of the speakers at the just-concluded TEDx Kampala that was held at the National theatre last Friday evening. Her speech was basically about New Year resolutions, but not in the way you would understand them.
Since she is spearheading the youth’s involvement in public policy, her talk basically focused on government’s resolutions for the country and how they affect people.
“Most of the times, if the government fails at their resolutions – which are the policies, we can’t achieve ours too,” she said.
In her view, Ugandans are highly disgruntled to the point that they care less about what the government is planning. That is why they would rather spend a lot of time discussing foreign football than what can be done to change their situation.
Ikomu concluded her speech by requesting Ugandans to make one resolution for 2016, “to go and vote” because in her view, nothing gives you the right to complain about government if you even failed to show up at the polls.
Like Ikomu, many night’s speakers called on the youth to be aggressive and follow their passion. Mostly in their 20s, many of the speakers had followed their passions regardless of what their parents thought.
Cyrus Balabyekubo alias Babaluku had the most engaging presentation coupled with musicals about his hip hop movement and how foreign languages have made Ugandans think their local lingua is backward. He noted that the world wants to hear authentic stories of Ugandans, not what they are emulating.
TEDx Kampala was an expression by the youth, a chance for them to freely express themselves. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences run by Sapling Foundation, a private and non-profit organization. The conferences run under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading”.
More than 10,000 TEDx events have been held around the world and over 13 are held in more than 133 countries every day.