#YouthDay: 'I tell myself every morning to seize the day' - Samkelwesihle Tunzi

2016-06-16 10:16
Samkelwesihle Tunzi (Supplied to News24)

Samkelwesihle Tunzi (Supplied to News24)

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#YouthDay - Forty years ago, high school learners from all over Soweto decided to march against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. But today, young people have different struggles.

When I wake up in the morning, my first thoughts are, "What does this day have in store for me? What are my objectives for the day? Will I be able to move around the obstructions I might encounter? Today will be a good day. Carpe diem. Let's seize the day, Sam.

I am Samkelwesihle Tunzi, a high school pupil, who at the age of sixteen comes across a lot of problems as encountered by the youth of today. 

Some of the youth today have had to take on the responsibility of heading a family when they themselves are still children because of factors such as broken families, deceased or sick parents, neglectful parents and unemployed of parents.

When we enter high school we encounter drugs, alcohol and other things that can be disruptive to a young person's life. Alcohol and drugs are a very big challenge for the youth today and a lot of us face challenges with coming to terms with experiences like loss or death, stress from school and home so we look for an escape route. We look for happiness and we grab it with both hands… even if it's short-lived.

- News24 will give the youth a voice on our platforms for Youth Day. A group of learners share their thoughts with you. What does youth day mean to you? Let us know your thoughts here.

Coming from a disadvantaged background poses many problems for the youth. Even though coming from one does not determine who you are, it can determine where you’re going. It can greatly hinder your growth because sometimes you may not have a strong foundation and therefore cannot move forward. What slows down people from disadvantaged backgrounds the most is lack of funds.

Inspired by #FeesMustFall

This plays a big role because without funding they cannot further their studies. Yes, there are primary schools and high schools that offer free education. Although there are bursaries offered for tertiary education, they are very limited. Young people from underprivileged homes have to compete with the middle class who can afford to pay for school fees but would rather receive a bursary and then use their parents’ money to buy new gadgets, clothes and things of that nature.

They also compete with people who are extremely intelligent. The people who set the criteria for awarding bursaries do not consider that perhaps there are hard-working learners whose abilities may be slowed down by disorders such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), ADD (attention deficit disorder) or even dyslexia.

That was how the whole #FeeMustFall movement was started. It was started by students who were tired of having to pay expensive varsity fees which left them or their parents in deep financial strain. Even though there are things such as private bursaries and NSFAS, these are limited and there are too many of us, so something had to be done. It was truly amazing and awe-inspiring to see that many students come together as one; people from different backgrounds, races, ages, cultures fighting for one thing in union.

We as the youth are also very vibrant people. We love to have fun and just let our hair down. What I admire about the youth of today is that although we face many struggles we do not let them define us.

We do not use them as an excuse to behave or talk a certain way. I as an individual am interested in a vast number of things. I love dancing and having a good time, but I do not appreciate the use of drugs, alcohol or any performance enhancers, I do not believe in relying on such things to have fun.

I am a free spirit who loves reading and gaining new knowledge on various topics. I am interested in politics as well. I love singing and acting and enjoy watching television and studying the acting techniques. I hope to one day become a successful actress, waving the SA flag high, because after all, drama is just who I am.

* Samkelwesihle Tunzi is a learner at Meadowlands High School in Soweto; one of the schools whose learners participated in the historical June 16 march 40 years ago.

Read more on:    soweto  |  johannesburg  |  youth  |  youth day  |  education  |  soweto40

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