This poem was written by PfAL4 scholar Donnas Ojok for the PfAL@LSE launch on Monday, December 15, 2014.

Because we are-‘the referees’

By Donnas Ojok (PfAL4, Uganda)

(Dedicated to LSE PfAL Scholars)

Donnas Ojok (PfAL4, Uganda) performs his poem during the PfAL@LSE launch
Donnas Ojok (PfAL4, Uganda) performs his poem during the PfAL@LSE launch on December 15, 2014

The ball is on court
Ready to be played
To be played by pros who just woke up from sleep
The whole world is waiting to watch the game
The game is a battle of life and death
The playfield stretches from Cape Town to Tunis
From Djibouti to Freetown
The field is dotted with snow-capped, high peaked mountains
And around the corner are deep and dark scary valleys
The dazzling sunlight is so hot
Yet all of a sudden, a nice breeze ensues
And cools up the players
The rainfall is so torrential
Yet out of the blue, a warm temperate condition emerges
And dries up the players

When the referee blows the whistle
The game will start
But it will never stop
The players will play and never get tired
The profuse sweating will generate more adrenaline
The game will renew and inspire more action
It will generate courage and inculcate passion
It will a create a ripple of waves that never cease

Winning the game depends on the referee,
The referee is right here, here, right now
It is you and I
It is the new generation of African leaders
Fred Swaniker calls it Generation4
With vigour and valour
With determination and hard work
There is no turning back
No falling down
No wasting time
Because this is the moment
This is the moment to rise high and reach the mountain top
And sing the songs of victory as we celebrate

The referee needs support, mentorship and advice
He needs a full set of skills
To understand the new leadership and global dynamics
He needs a network of people who inspire him and teach him
And people who positively criticise him
He needs a new paradigm shift in the way he acts, thinks and behaves
He has lots to learn
Yet he has very little time
He should never give up
But instead be so strong
Strong the like Egyptian pyramids which has stood the test of time
Because the tasks that lay ahead are enormous
They are so challenging and complex
And yet with sharing and love
Innovations and creativity
Ingenuity and restlessness
They will be so simple
Simple, just like drinking a glass of water
Thank you PFAL, the Lalji family and LSE for making us referees
Because we surely are – the referees-