Today marks the 35th year of the Soweto uprising. This day, in 1976 young people went far and wide in the streets of Soweto to protest for better education and to fight against the use of Afrikaans and Bantu education which was an education system solely for black people. They achieved that because they fought in unity and they had a common objective in their minds. Although many died, they conquered that ill-system. So today, with the help of social media, how do we (Youth) fight the challenges facing us?
In post-apartheid South Africa it can be argued that we all stand equal chance of making it big in life. As young people of this country we cannot claim that we fought for liberation, and yet we are the one who stand to benefit the most. The youth of 1976 liberated us, they had a compelling cause to pursue and boy did these youth achieve a system greater than themselves?
Our constitution calls on us to heal the divisions of the past, improve the lives of all citizens and free the potential of each person (Check the preamble). Notwithstanding the significant achievement of the afore-mentioned youth, our struggle remain that of poverty, unequal access to education, diseases of every sorts and high rate of unemployment. These are the challenges that clouds today’s youth in this country. This is the plight that the youth of today in the democratic South Africa Should fight for? We should sweat and shed tear in pursuit of overcoming these challenges.
The planning commission led by Mr Trevor Manuel, has identified nine key challenges that confront South Africa in eliminating poverty and reducing inequality.These are: high unemployment; poor education; disease; divided communities; uneven performance by the public service; the marginalisation of the poor by spatial patterns; corruption; a crumbling infrastructure and the fact that the economy is resource based. Of these, two stand out: unemployment, and the quality of education for most black people. All these are what I see as the plight that South Africa’s youth should fight for.
Cyril Ramaphosa, the vice-chair of the planning commission he pointed out that unemployment and poor education exclude millions of people from sharing in the fruits of democracy. For many of those with jobs, the large numbers of their dependants and long travel distances means that they remain poor. Most of the poor are black, female, low skilled and they often live far from economic centres.
We must first start by getting to the bottom of the causes of these problems and try to come up with the plausible solutions. That can be achieved through engaging in conversation by using social media and other platforms.
With liberation, came constitution, with constitution came the bill of right and with the bill of right came FREEDOM. Freedom? What to do with all this freedom? Freedom has so many complex sides to it. The right to buy; the right not to buy. The right to spend; the right not to spend. The right to care for the poor; the right to live one’s life without giving a damn about the poor. The right to care only for oneself. These are the consequences and the pleasures of freedom that we enjoy today.
I believe that with a common purpose, a united spirit of co-operation and mutual sacrifice, we too, like the youth of 1976, can defeat the challenges facing us today. The youth of 1976 took conscious steps to address challenges that faced them. In pursuit of economic emancipation, together we can enjoy the fruits of democracy.
happy youth day……