The annual Bottomup Speak Up Festival was held on Saturday 7 September at the Nassau Auditorium, Groote Schuur High School in Newlands. The Speak Up Festival is a public speaking skills programme of the non-profit organisation, Bottomup. It is the second year this programme is taking place and it aims to educate learners about critical social theory while developing strong communications skills. Learners from Zeekoevlei and Lotus River high schools and Fairmount Secondary School delivered speeches with the theme of “Recognise, Analyse and Re-imagine”. This theme aims to question the dominant narratives and stories that exist around them by connecting their personal stories to the wider structures and systems that shape these stories. The learners spoke about issues that they experience in society and re-imagined these issues. Lotus River learner Lynn Matsvimbo spoke about emotional tax and how people are required to share their wealth with the family. She said the youth are given a responsibility. “We need to support our elderly parents,” she said. My fear is having to get educated to take care of my family. My fear is to work to sustain the responsibility my parents have to take on,” she said. Gradi Lumbila, also from Lotus, spoke about mindful racism. Lumbila said racism is something that is taught and not displayed as openly as it used to be. “Join me in re-imagining to not see colour,” he said.Ashlyn Harland , from Fairmount, spoke about big promises and disappointments. She touched on the voting age in South Africa, youth pregnancies and the lack of jobs for the youth. “I am born free but free from what,” she asked. Harland said she hears the struggle of the youth. “Everything changes but everything stays the same,” she said. “Why should I wait till I turn 18 to make a change.” Ashley Visagie, co-owner of the Speak Up Festival said the learners explored issues that occur in society and school. Visagie said the learners worked with everyday issues and think critically about what is going on. He said the organisation invited the learners to explore these issues on a deeper level. “Action without reflection is meaningless,” he said. V For more information visit www.bottomup.org.za.