#YouthDay - Forty years ago high school learners from all over Soweto decided to march against Afrikaans as medium of instruction, but today, young people have different struggles.
When I woke up in the morning my first thoughts are going to school, facing problems or challenges and meeting my friends. Now I don't even think of having fun because my age peers are abusing drugs and alcohol. Girls have started having sex. Some of them don't use protection.
Unprotected sex leads to teenage pregnancy which then leads to school dropout. There are many temptations in school: bad friends trying to force you to take drugs, drink alcohol and bunk school.
Many have fallen pregnant and many are drug addicts because they have chosen friends instead of listening to their parents and teachers.
Others are dating sugar daddies, men who are older than them. They call them blessers and young girls are called blessee because the old men bless the young girls by giving them money and buy them expensive stuff in return for sex.
During the struggle, activists fought for us to get better education and a bright future but my peers are not thankful. They march for fees instead of them being grateful for what they have and the opportunities given.
We must show appreciation by working hard in our studies and we must build a better future so that the young ones who are coming after us will learn from us.
You get the youth in taverns drinking. Girls are prostitutes serving old men making money by having sex with guys. Some are homeless.
That's not the only problem we face. Some teenagers have been sexually harassed by guys and others raped by family members and gangsters. As children we are the precious gifts from God but some people force themselves into young girls.
Our boys are smoking. They are abusing their rights to show off and disrespect their guardians/parents by becoming gangsters or stealing from other people.
Some are being bullied and this sometimes leads to children losing a chance of acquiring education.
I dream that one day our youth will change and everyone will be eager for education and forget about drugs, alcohol, gangsterism, boyfriends and girlfriends.
If the world could change, the future will be brighter and it will be a blessing in the eyes of our mothers and father, since it's what they always fought for and have been longing for.
In order for the world to change the youth of today must focus on their studies and have groups that will campaign throughout the township to raise an awareness of the importance of education.
We need proper role models who will be examples to the youth. Let us not forget that children imitate what they see from adults.
* Nhlanhla Dube is a Grade 10 pupil at Sekano Ntoane High School in Soweto; one of the schools whose learners participated in the historical June 16 march 40 years ago.
- 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.