Today — April 4, 2017 — marks the 49th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s death.

Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-storey room in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

He is one of my biggest personal heroes, and I consider him one of the most influential and brightest minds of African descent.

In my opinion, I think his life, journey and struggles in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, in many ways, represent the current aspirations of people across Africa for political freedom, economic prosperity and social development.

Africa’s biggest chance to transform its future lies in the hands of its youth. Numbering over 600 million today, we have the energy, courage, talent, creativity and numerical might to make our continent an envy of the world.

I have watched this Martin Luther King speech for far too many times than I care to remember. Every time I watch it, I feel he’s talking to us, Africans.

He says that “at your (young) age, what you do now will determine which way your life shall go.”

Sadly, the African continent has reached a precipice. Now is the time to choose. We can mobilise Africa’s abundant supply of human capital and natural resources to create a beautiful future for our continent, or we can continue to fight among ourselves, and shamelessly continue to depend on foreign assistance and aid — and remain the pitiful stock of the world.

The future of Africa is in the hands of its youth.

Martin Luther King was only 39 at the time of his death. But at that age, he had already successfully convinced a generation of black people of their right to believe in their dignity, self-worth and “somebodiness.”

In this short speech, Dr. King says: “Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you are nobody. Always feel that you count.”

Let’s show the world how much Africa counts.

Let’s show the world that there’s no stopping us.

Let’s rise, Africa!

Video credit: Goalcast