Youth Day

2008-06-18 00:00

On Monday South Africa celebrated Youth Day, a day which, because it honours the contribution of young people to our democracy, has joyful connotations, with perhaps a tinge of revolutionary fervour.

However, many Youth Day rallies around the country seem to have lacked these qualities, as politicians lectured, or perhaps harangued, those present, inveighing against crime, gangsterism and drugs, against xenophobia, against violence and degeneracy.

Jacob Zuma, addressing an ANC Youth League (ANCYL) rally in Thaba’Nchu, told his audience that the ANC would focus on disciplining bad behaviour in its ranks. Indications were that the party aimed to purge incorrigibles or “rogue elements”.

It seems politicians are coming to recognise that the younger generation — that is, the country’s future leadership — is an angry and violent one. Reference was made to violence in schools, for example, and to the sometimes leading role of young people in xenophobic attacks. If only Zuma would rebuke the leader of the ANCYL who, signalling his complete contempt for the rule of law, stated that he and the ANCYL “would kill” for the ANC president.

The trouble is that youthful violence is in many cases quite beyond simple party discipline and that those prepared to commit violent acts in the name of the party are likely to continue on their violent path even after having been purged as “rogue elements”. What leaders have not yet fully faced is the root cause of the violent mindset of the young — the violence of the country’s history, the violence encouraged by disrupted family lives, the violence caused by hopelessness and by the bitter disappointment that democracy has not brought with it the promised freedom and prosperity for all.

So politicians and other leaders who have chosen these themes for Youth Day are beginning to think along the right lines and it’s to be hoped that some of their hearers were reminded that democracy requires the responsible participation of every citizen — each taking responsibility for their own behaviour and for the well-being of every other member of society.

Let us hope that in their desire for democracy many remain impressed by the conduct of such committed democrats as Nelson Mandela. Heaven forbid they take their cue from our neighbour to the north, where President Robert Mugabe, in the name of his own peculiar brand of democracy, is showing his complete disregard for accepted democratic processes by announcing that guns are far more powerful than mere crosses on ballot papers.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.