The struggles of the 1976 youth are celebrated every year on June 16 but it seems the narrative is slowly changing as the current generation of young people is losing hope in how secure their future will be.
City Press took to the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday ahead of the 46th anniversary commemoration to find out what the young people of South Africa are hoping for this Youth Day.
Fight for a better future
Politics and international relations final year student, Makaziwe Nkosi, said Youth Day was a reminder for her to continue fighting for a better future for the next generation.
The 21-year-old was hopeful that her hard work would pay off, so that she could be successful in her prospective career. But she said given the unemployment crisis in the country, many graduates are unable to fulfil their dreams.
The future could be brighter
For Thandani Khumalo (18), Youth Day was just a day off from school. The Wits University student said it was still important to celebrate the day, but there should be more initiatives in place to empower his generation of youth.
But Khumalo said he hoped to see a future where the youth of this country were at the forefront of actively improving the nation. “If you have the youth leading the country with new plans and new ways of doing things, the future could be brighter,” he said.
We are not a ‘lost generation’
Asanda Makhaya said she wanted to see equal opportunities for women and more jobs to counter the rising unemployment.
The 23-year-old, who is studying a BSC in mathematical statistics at the University of Johannesburg, said she was most grateful to the all the people who fought for her to be able study and to have the opportunities that she has.
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Makhaya said the narrative that young people are lazy, do not have anything to contribute to society and that they are “a lost generation” was not one she takes lightly. She said the youth have fought tooth-and-nail for their opportunities despite the odds.
The anonymous ones
City Press spoke to a number of youngsters who didn’t want to share their names. Their sentiments were mostly negative and on the point of Youth Day saying that there was nothing to be celebrated, especially with the unemployment crisis and the fact that many graduates are sitting at home with no jobs.
They said that celebrating the day by wearing one’s school uniform and listening to the president speak was not going to change their lives.