Let’s be youth who make a difference

2019-06-20 06:00

“Tell my people I love them, and they must continue the fight, that my blood will nourish the tree that bears the fruits of freedom. Aluta continua.”

Those were words of none other than Solomon “Kalushi” Mahlangu, then at the tender age of 22, who was facing the gallows.

I decided to use this quote not necessarily to dwell on the past, but to draw attention specifically to his age when he uttered these words.

One can only imagine what I or you would have said under such circumstances, or the mental state we’d be in, when facing such a brutal end!

I am sure like any other human being Mahlangu had personal dreams he wanted to fulfil in life, but these may well have been curtailed by the repressive conditions of his day, never mind the circumstances of his end!

Decades later, we are tempted to believe that it is supreme sacrifices such as his that have enabled major long-term dreams to be realised. We owe to Mahlangu and many others some of the important freedoms we now take for granted.

We will forever be grateful!

Some niggling questions do linger, though, especially in the aftermath of Youth Day, which is intended to draw our attention to such sacrifice. For instance, have we of later generations made any real strides in ensuring that the generations that come after us will benefit from our actions?

I believe we can no longer wait to shape the future of future generations, and to take our cue from such gigantic characters such as Mahlangu, who left their indelible legacy on this country that we draw life from.

To think he was only 22 – imagine that!

But then, without looking too far back, we already have the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Caster Semenya, who are doing their bit to show that what is possible. After all, age is just a number! It isn’t what counts. It is the qualities one possesses that enable us to make a crucial difference in society.

So perhaps from now on we should stop and take stock of our purpose on earth, and act accordingly. I believe if we stop procrastinating and act now, we will go very far in making a difference.

Yes, there will be challenges, which previous generations had too, but how we face them will determine the extent to which we triumph in the end.

As that old cliché goes, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

Things may look gloomy, and some may even feel despondent, but remember the sun will rise again as it always does.

Just find yourself and your purpose, and work towards it diligently, and it will be realised.

Let us be the youth who can be looked at as having made strides to ensure we change our environment for the better!

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