Watching TED Talks is a popular pastime at CN&CO. We visit regularly to clear our heads, have a laugh or get inspired. TED Talks open our minds, spark new ways of thinking and can lead to some very interesting conversations. Each week we pick a favourite and publish it on a Tuesday, because we like how “TED Talk Tuesday” sounds. It’s also a way that the CN&CO team play their part on spreading ideas and helping to make the world a better place. This week’s talk is posted by Francois Joubert. Here’s why he choose it:

“Your silence serves no one,” arguably the statement that lingered with me for days after I watched Luvvie Ajayi’s TED talk. And considering it’s June and we South Africans commemorate the brave heroines and heroes of our segregated past who stood up and spoke out against the inhumane injustices against them. Silence was no longer an option, and their acts of protest and riots against the then status quo was an act of such bravery that it ignited more acts of bravery and ultimately served the greater good of our now democratic, free country.

Ajayi unapologetically considers herself a “professional troublemaker” and as an active activist through her writings have ruffled up a few very important feathers. Although, the latter was never done out of malice or revenge or any other stereotypical reasons as portrayed by women playing the ‘troublemaker’ trope in every single soap opera out there (Sammy from Days of our Lives, I see you). Her acts of being one of the brave ones to also speak out against injustices was always done to serve the greater good.

Indeed, Ajayi has caused trouble where trouble was due, stirred the pot because she was sick and tired of being satisfied with burnt food because society and its ideological pressures demanded this of her- as it does so for everyone. Candidly, Ajayi admits that being a troublemaker comes with its fair share of fear, fear that creeps in and fester feelings of rather retreating and keep your mouth shut. And to this Ajayi makes yet another point that made me sit up, listen, rewind, and listen again: “People and systems count on our silence to keep us exactly where we are”. Now, like me, please read this and read it again… Take three deep breaths and read it once more and wait for some dim glimmer of ‘wokeness’ to settle in.

All things considered, this is 2020 and everyone with a social media account thinks their voices and thoughts are post-worthy even though most of the times [in my humble opinion] it amounts to a whole lot of noise. Regardless, this generation is equip with platforms that makes it way easier to voice injustices or support those ‘trouble-makers’ who chose to speak up. We have platforms that can start important conversations in minutes, and we should naturally use this. Although Ajayi does raise three valid points you need to ask yourself before you make the (social) conscious decision to stir things up. The first, “Do/Did you mean it?”, second “Can you defend it?” and lastly (and the most important point) “Did you say it with love?”

These three points I deem so crucial and relevant to practice in everyday life. And these three points are more useful then ever given the current global socio-political climate we find ourselves in. We need troublemakers now more than ever.

BUT, if you decide to become a troublemaker in your own right- I will leave you with expanding a little on these three IMPORTANT POINTS: when you stand up and speak out against any injustice you inherently disagree with make sure you stand by your guns and mean what you say. But, if (and most likely when) you are met with any backlash or adversary, be ready to stand your ground by having your facts and weapons sharpened to defend yourself. But even before you start any of the latter, make sure that the your fundamental intention(s) to become a troublemaker is to always do so for the greater good. Use the original troublemakers of our own countries history as an exemplar of the youth justly standing up against the apartheid regime for the purpose of the greater good for ALL.