This is the future

2011-06-18 17:31

They vary in age, class and appearance but if there’s one thing the delegates of the ANC Youth League have in common, it’s their outlook on life and their very strong desire to change the world they live in.

They are the future. And this is who they are.

The vast majority of the 5 500 delegates arrived at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on the first day of the conference in busses, ferried in from far away places.

At a first glance they looked remarkably similar. Men and women alike wore jeans or trousers while most of them wore their allegiance to Julius Malema on boldy emblazoned t-shirts and sweat shirts bearing his name or face.

They have an average age of 24 or 25, young men and women in their prime.

Many of them are students. Many more are working folk, holding down regular jobs that would place them firmly in the bracket of lower income earners. Some of them are unemployed.

That didn’t stop them blending in seamlessly with the more privileged delegates who drove to Midrand in their flashy cars. Maybe not surprisingly, Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes Benzes were the preferred vehicles of choice among the ANC junior elites this week.

Their style is sleek. They opt for flashy shoes, if not in bright colors then in shiny tones. They also sport soft leather jackets, designer jeans, bright-coloured shirts with high-rise collars.

The men wear man bags slung across their chests. The women wear deceiving wigs.

They are the moneyed youth. They have landed. And they mingle effortlessly with the senior leadership.

And in between these elite and the regular rank and file, is the middle class layer of men and women.

As they all sat should-to-shoulder in that main hall where the congress was held this week, there was little that could tell these youth apart. Regardless of their standing in life, they are all desperate for change.

They have fallen in behind Julius Malema’s pledge to bring on the next stage of the National Democratic Revolution; economic freedom. And they want it now, in their lifetime.

They are the new revolutionary youth and these are some of their views.

Molaodi Mogoaladi is 31 and he is from the Free State’s Lejwe le Putswa region. At 31, he reads water and electricity meters but he says he is happy to have a job.

“As the black majority, I think the majority of wealth must be ours as the rightful owners of the land. We can’t be having political power and be poor at the same time, because that power is useless,” said Mogoaladi.

Zenzi Khoza is 28 and hails from the Vhembe region in Limpopo. She is self-employed and has just started out as a green crops farmer. She says she is driven by the freedom brought about by the ANC but will fight until full freedom is won.

Mbalenhle Sheme is 19 years old and comes from the Lower South Coast region in KwaZuluNatal. She is a student of human resources. She comes from a strong political family and says that she is taking up where her parents left off, but that her fight today is for “economic freedom”.

Nomvula* is 22 and works for a prominent financial institution in Johannesburg, though she comes from a wealthy family in the Northern Cape.

She doesn’t want to give her real name “because I am firmly behind Juju and his nationalisation plan.

 I can’t tell my bosses that, but what I see each day at work makes me see that Juju is right.

Someone has to fight for change and I think it is going to be us.”

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