When will my generation start to fight its own struggle(s)?

As I stood at the Hector Pieterson memorial in Soweto watching

students dance and sing struggle songs, I wondered how well this generation – my

generation – had understood and internalised the revolution of 1976.

And then the answer came. A group of girls broke away from the main

group, which had stopped singing, opting instead for the general conversations

that occupy teenage minds.

And in skirts far too short for this cold June morning, they blew

vuvuzelas, sang JR’s Make the Circle Bigger and danced.

The scene changed from being a high-spirited commemoration to what

looked much like a street party.

I left this year’s Youth Day commemorations knowing that my

generation had not even begun to understand the meaning of 1976 and that this

day was in danger of fading into obscurity.

It’s much easier to take to the streets, singing and chanting the

slogans of old than it is to take a step back and chart a map for youth

development, better healthcare and a meaningful education.

But the longer we are stuck in struggle rhetoric, the harder it

will be to speak to our true struggles as the youth of 2010.

If Thomas Jefferson was correct when he said “every generation

needs a new revolution”, I wonder when we’ll begin to slay our own dragons and

write our children’s histories.


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