Before masterminding the highly effective 2012 “Get Kony” viral marketing campaign for Sketchers, Kony (who was simply Joey Jo-Jo back then) spent his early 20s working at Orange Julius and fronting several unsuccessful garage armies. Here’s his take on what it’s like to create a functional militia:
It was really hard. I had all the right ideas, but none of the necessary tools. You hear a lot about inspiration being the biggest hang up. That’s bullshit, it’s all implementation. After struggling to maintain order in the ranks for almost a decade, it just dawned on me: children. I could use children.
Before he was His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular, Amin was no more than a barrista at Carribou Coffee.
Oh man, my twenties were hard. But, I find even the most cliched advice holds truth: Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Even if the job doesn’t exist and all the medals are for things you made up.
Muammar “Knife Ass” Qadhafi
Gone, but not forgotten, the Libyan “Mad Dog” with a YOLO fashion sense that made even Kanye jealous knew early on that ‘hustle’ meant more than posturing and swag.
Ugh, I wish I could erase that entire decade from my life! [laughs] No, I made a lot of mistakes in my twenties but I learned a lot of important lessons. While my peers were off getting drunk and partying at nightclubs, I was working hard to bomb nightclubs and maim hundreds of people.
Jean Bedel Bokassa
Bokassa started off as an orphan that faced a lot of bullying. He worked through it, and explains the importance of finding the delicate balance between finding yourself and real effort.
You have all this freedom in your twenties, and it feels natural to sleep in and just get to work whenever you happen to wake up. That’s a bad idea! Keep using that alarm clock, and make sure to get a good breakfast. For example, I would get up at 7 am every day and eat several children before setting up my day plan of eating a couple more children.
Joshua Milton Blahyi
Easily the GG Allin of the Liberian Civil War, Joshua Milton Explains that you don’t have to give up your punk rock sensibilities in adulthood.
You make a lot of sacrifices. Some are emotional, some are financial, and some are small children. But, your twenties are great. That’s when you really understand that you can be whatever you want! Not just a Leo, or an English major, or someone with a mental disorder. One day you’ll be sitting there, and suddenly you’ll think, “wait, I’m not Joshua Milton Blahyi, I’m General Butt Naked and I can take over the government with the help of Satan and my dick!
A lot of us experience that “kill whitey” rage in our 20s as we work out our issues with gentrification and white guilt, but what happens when we settle down and have to find ourselves in adulthood? Bobby talks on the calm after the storm:
You’ve still got some of that teenage angst left. You still want to rebel against the generation before you. You get a little bit older though, and you start looking around, and you see a genocide here, a genocide there, and suddenly all that stuff you rejected in your youth makes sense. It’s a lot like that Cat’s In The Cradle song. You get this sweet, knowing feeling like everything has come full circle.
Prior to badly scarring his face while kissing a rose bush, Seal was actually a horrific war criminal.
This is fucked up. Why are you interviewing me?