The legacy of the late struggle icons Albertina Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela Mandela was celebrated in a more empowering manner by the Northern Cape youth this year.This was done through a literature project called “An Author’s Pen, Paper & 100 Words”, which was implemented throughout the Frances Baard District.The project featured Gr. 7 and Gr. 8 learners from Delportshoop, Barkly West and Kimberley who were trained in writing an essay about one of the three icons, with the aim of compiling a book.At least 120 of the learners who participated in the project, gathered at the Mayibuye Cultural Centre in Kimberley on Saturday, 27 October, where they were handed certificates of completion.The programme, which is the brainchild of aspirant youth Dimakatso Molefi, was funded by the national Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.Molefi said she was inspired to start the project after the realisation that they are lacking many opportunities.She highlighted the need for today’s generation to know more about their history, including the 100 years legacy of Mandela and Sisulu.“The learners did research on one of the three icons and incorporated it into the apartheid regime and our democracy.“In their essays they were further expected to highlight the factors of today’s life in their respective communities.“They were also required to highlight solutions in the process,” Molefi said.“I grew up seeing this gap and decided to motivate the youth so they can do anything that they put their heart to in terms of growth,” she said.According to her, the current school syllabus does not really cater enough in terms of solutions for the youth of today to follow up on.They were given the platform to express themselves in writing on how to curb current challenges they are facing through following in the footsteps of the icons.“These icons that we zoomed into, fought for this democracy that we are enjoying today. They strived to make their voices heard.“No one saw a women as a leader before, except them,” she emphasised.“We are running this project to encourage the youth to encourage their peers.”According to Molefi, the book, which they are in the process of editing, will consist of 120 pages of the essays written by these learners.She promised that the book will be archived for future generations to access.Molefi remained grateful to the national department for recognising the project as the first literature programme by a female youth.According to her it was challenging to start off the project as all doors seemed to have been shut in her face.She said with the Department of Education she was discouraged by prolonged challenges. She further mentioned that they had to decrease the number of schools taking part due to lack of funds.Molefi hopes for the programme to run annually so that they can incorporate a new concept each year.The aim is also to cater for the stories of traditional leaders so that young people can have more in-depth knowledge of where they come from.One of the learners, Bridgette Barnard (13) of the Boresetse High School, said the project has equipped her with self-confidence, more especially in terms of stage-fright.She chose Albertina Sisulu as her case study due to the massive role that she played in child development.“I want to be just like her when I grow up so that I can help and empower my community, more especially children,” she said.Nyakallo Moroka (12) of the Masiza Primary School said he wants to motivate his community to wisely use the freedom that they were granted by those struggle icons.He pointed out that young people know what to do with their freedom except that they are too lazy.“The freedom those people gave us – what are we doing with it now? “Young people should study and work hard in order to finish school and become future South African leaders,” Nyakallo said.