Olumayowa Okediran is the Outreach Assistant for African Liberty Students’ Organization.
I am very excited about the rapid spread of classical liberal thought on campuses across Africa. African students are beginning to figure out ways to wrest their freedoms away from the hands of irrationally powerful governments. The fight for freedom on African campuses has seen such a huge increase this past year. We have waited long for this…
This year, the continent has witnessed several protests in reaction to despotic regimes: Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. All African states saw common men speak out in defense of their freedoms. African students have joined in the battle too, but in a non-violent manner.
The African Liberty Students Organization (ALSO), the student arm of African Liberty, is advancing freedom on African campuses and peacefully contributing to the struggle for freedom by promoting the philosophy of libertarianism.
ALSO was established just about a year ago, after AfricanLiberty.org’s Director of Outreach, Adedayo Thomas, reached out to students at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB), Nigeria. The group began with just a handful of students interested in the study of liberty, but ALSO now has several chapters and budding chapters across the continent. These students organize periodical seminars and group discussions on free markets, individual sovereignty, globalization and the rule of law.
Works of several authors and thinkers such as Frederic Bastiat’s Selected Essays on Political Economy, Johan Norberg’s In Defense of Global Capitalism, Adedayo Thomas’s theatrical adaptation of Ken Schooland’s novel Adventures of Jonathan Gullible and Ayn Rand’s tomes have been made popular by ALSO. Members form study groups and organize seminars centered on the study of liberty. These books, and several other titles, are available in ALSO’s libraries and are provided free to students interested in understanding the workings of a free society. Of all the authors, Bastiat seems to be the local favorite. His clarity and practical solutions provide powerful ideas for solving Africa’s numerous challenges.
In the last year, ALSO chapters have organized several events and have hosted other and often more distant libertarian speakers like Ross Kenyon of Alumni For Liberty, Astrid Campos and Glenn Cripe, both of the Language of Liberty Institute.
The Advocates For Self Government’s World’s Smallest Political Quiz has assisted ALSO in its outreach activity by helping potential members find their place on the political map. Its game-like approach provides an interactive avenue to reach out to students on campus.
Cumulatively, about 600 students have attended meetings, seminars, workshops and picnics organized by the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta chapter alone. The University of Dodoma chapter in Tanzania has also recorded about 200 students at its events. Many of these students end up endorsing libertarian ideals.
Members of ALSO have also taken the fight for freedom to student government in the hope of introducing the idea of limited government regarding the way campus student bodies are run. The past few days have seen a sort of fiesta among ALSO UNAAB members since colleague and co-vice president at ALSO UNAAB, Ms. Sakirat Lawal, won at the elections as vice-president of Students Union Government at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. The beauty of her victory is that her manifesto was based on limited government. This is quite a rare feat to accomplish in a political environment driven by collectivist and statist ideals.
ALSO is spreading like wild fire along with libertarian ideals. African campuses are being set ablaze with students passionate about the study and promotion of liberty.