Africa has often been portrayed as a vulnerable continent — desperate for, and dependent upon, Western financial aid. However, Independent Media believes in African progress — and that its youth are a critical component of its development, says Executive Chairman Dr. Iqbal Surve.

To that end, we created The Young Independents (TYI), a youth-centric branch of Independent media that encapsulates the “now generation.” TYI serves to amplify the voices of young leaders that are the pulse of Africa through an online platform and annual young African leaders competition.

Predictions are that over the next 15 years, a significant share of the global workforce will be in Africa. Therefore our strategy is to be pan-African, youth-friendly, and global. With the youngest population in the world, this market gives TYI a wider scope and greater opportunities to sell our product.

The Young Independents produces original content that showcases and inspires Africa's young leaders.
The Young Independents produces original content that showcases and inspires Africa's young leaders.

The Young Independents content

All of our content and competitions are directed at this young African community, offering editorial elements that provide insight into the challenges African youth face, as well as the inspiration to face them. The power of the digital space in Africa enables TYI to reassess the youth market, and introduce a product directed at our youth that is unique, accessible, and mobile-friendly.

Under the directive of Millennial Editor Saajida Francis and her team of talented, young, black creatives, the platform provides comprehensive 24/7, youth-related coverage, using 20/20 storytelling methods. Topics include everything from lifestyle and recipes to education and sci-tech, and are meant to guide youth through the African reality, with relatable narratives and workable solutions.

The top-100 young African leaders competition

This annual competition is directed at young, inspiring Africans who are challenging and changing the game, one action at a time. The competition was founded by Mike Ntsasa, who believes that the prevailing narrative is one of a despairing young person who is a “ticking time bomb.”

Independent Media's Young African Leaders contest celebrates youth-driven initiatives across Africa.
Independent Media's Young African Leaders contest celebrates youth-driven initiatives across Africa.

“This storyline does not even begin to help us understand the challenges that face youth,” says Ntsasa. “It merely serves to represent young people as passive, inactive, and resigned to their fate. The voices that currently dominate this narrative are those of the despondent, the elderly, the academics, and the politicians. The voices of our youth have to be heard. We must listen to what they have to say.”

Launched in 2015 by Independent Media Group, the competition celebrates the spirit of Africa’s youth by focusing on exciting, youth-driven initiatives across the continent. Our search involves identifying Millennials who are at the top of their field — or poised to become such leaders. They are our top entrepreneurs, award-winning creatives, and key business drivers, aged 35 or younger.

The competition also seeks to encourage youth dialogue, to inspire our young people to connect and build a common vision, whilst seeking to address the many challenges they face. Our dream is to see Africa’s youth coming together with a common vision — sharing their ideas, challenges, experiences, and knowledge to build a productive future for the continent.

TYI calls upon all sectors of society to help the next generation focus on productivity and positive action, rather than on dependency and consumption. The stories of these young candidates serve to inspire many more young people to be proactive in their hunger for social justice, and their efforts to create a better society.