Friends & Friction: Youth can start the revolution that SA needs

2013-11-05 10:00

Many people see South Africa’s unemployed youth as a ticking time bomb. It is, in fact, an ocean of opportunity.

An inexperienced youth with a hunger for success is far more valuable than a master on the decline.

Tommy Makgatho, who owns one of the largest wholesalers in what was formerly QwaQwa, started out as a stylist in a hair salon in Soweto.

He left home with R7?000 and headed south. He stuck with the familiar and opened up hair salons. Then he had the courage to break with his past and opened a retail store.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Makgatho is following in the footsteps of other business greats. He is in the same company as Richard Branson, who started Virgin Atlantic without any experience in the airline business.

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, started his company in a dormitory without any work experience.

Every unemployed youth is not a ticking time bomb, but a stick of dynamite like Makgatho. We need many more of them.

These are the people who will start the revolution that South Africa needs to become a global leader.

Imagine if David had tried to make a spear that was longer than Goliath’s? He would not be in the biggest Hall of Fame today?–?the Bible.

Instead, he chose a stone which, coincidentally, is something our youth are very good at throwing.

Success comes with sacrifice. It seldom comes to those who have plentifulplentify resources.

This is why many children of rich politicians and businessmen tend to squander their opportunities.

As Fidel Castro said: “I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I’d do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action.”

We should encourage the youth not to listen to adults because the latter have tunnel vision and a framework that cannot bend with the times.

Often, when adults complain about the “children of today”, they are lamenting the crumbling of the social norms they know.

To become a global leader, South Africa does not need to have an economy to rival China’s.

A small country like Switzerland and the city-state of Singapore have made a global impact with their thriving economies.

Already it is clear that Nigeria will be Africa’s new economic giant.

South Africa must capture and retain thought leadership in technology and politics. After all, unlike most nations our size, we love politics.

Yes, the conditions are ripe for a revolution. We have a restless youth and if Mistress Angie Motshekga’s ideas on education are implemented, they will soon be well educated.

Judging by their contributions in the newspapers, they seem to be losing faith in the system because the adults have done enough to demonise it.

The business world is self-absorbed with shareholders concerned with maximising profits and management paying itself huge salaries.

Workers are forever demanding higher wages and their fight against the youth subsidy is putting them on a collision course with the young.

So, naturally, our youth will feel marginalised and have a high level of discontent.

This is no time to despair. It’s time to unleash the youth’s creative and rebellious energies into starting something new?–?something adults will never understand in their lifetime.

»?Kuzwayo is a mwalimu at Ignitive, an advertising agency

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