Countdown to Ratification of the African Youth Charter: Campaign Launches with Debut of Upbeat Public Service Announcement
Johannesburg, 10 December 2008 - Today, on the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Union (AU), Speak Africa and UNICEF will launch a public service announcement calling on member countries to expedite ratification of the African Youth Charter.
Its goal is to increase awareness of the charter’s existence and to stimulate youth and civil society to lobby governments and civic leaders to take immediate action.
Designed to appeal to young people, the 30-second announcement takes the form of a quick-cutting, up-tempo, hip hop music video. Against a driving backbeat, DJ Kenzhero, one of South Africa’s hottest hip hop disc jockey, spins records and raps about the importance of making the charter legally binding. Simultaneously, in a bold, graffiti-like font, key words—such as “gender” and “equality”—representing some of the charter’s main focal areas, appear and float across the screen, reinforcing the video’s message. Rhymes were written by the multi-talented writer, poet, emcee and actor Kabomo Vilakazi while beats were produced by beat-maker and one of the sharpest turn-tablist’s on the scene, DJ Papercutt. It is available in all of the official languages of the African Union including Arabic, French, Portuguese and English.
The spot was produced by Jungle Works, a South African production company, in collaboration with the youth-focused communication platform Speak Africa, UNICEF and the African Union. Speak Africa members are youth leaders from across the African continent who train and receive training in advocacy and media production and undertake activities to increase youth participation in public discourse. Throughout 2008, designated the Year of African Youth, Speak Africa has been working in close partnership with the African Union and UNICEF to amplify the voices of young people in discussions about the continent’s development.
Although the charter was formally adopted two years ago, it has been so far ratified by only 11 countries. Legalization of the document will formally enshrine the basic human rights of young Africans and provide the framework for an accelerated youth development agenda in Africa.