Born-frees: Are we a spoon-fed generation?

2013-03-20 05:06

{a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&search_tracking_id=3F7CFDBA-9120-11E2-972F-108B71D9A14D&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=multi+racial+college+students&search_group=&orient=&search_cat=&searchtermx=&photographer_name=&people_gender=&people_age=&people_ethnicity=&people_number=&commercial_ok=&color=&show_color_wheel=1#id=51160621&src=61B62384-9120-11E2-9E8C-0B0D38D0D1A0-1-2"}The born-free generation has to stand up (Shutterstock.com){/a}

They always want you to feel guilty for being able to pronounce words properly, to feel as though being able to spell or construct a proper sentence means that you are acting as if you are better than they are. They always want you to feel guilty about where you grew up, the kind of people you were around, the places you went to, the schools you were part of. They say you think you know better than they do because you choose to focus on the future and not the past. They say; “you are a clever black” because you disagree with what they say and choose to look at the bigger picture. They say that they are better “blacks” than you are and I find myself sitting and thinking, “is this a competition to prove how black you are?” but the thing that leaves me speechless is the fact that these are people my age. These are the type of people who want to guilt trip you into accepting their mediocrity and prejudices, since they are talking about “those who share the same skin tone”, it is acceptable to critique them.

I find myself gasping when I hear people my age “mocking other black people” and saying that’s okay, yet the second someone of a different race criticizes or says the same thing they said moments before, they are quick to bring the race card into play. The idea that criticism has a colour makes no sense. The race card has become a favourable one to play as it removes all responsibility from the criticism or failure to act. It makes me question whether or not we are the reason why we aren’t progressing at the rate, which we expected upon our 1994 “liberation”. We continue to look to the past and highlight the problems instead of looking for solutions to move forward and progress, finding methods to completely liberate ourselves – socially, economically, and politically. Identifying the problem is just that, identification. What happened to the generation of Sisulu’s, Joseph’s, Maxeke’s and Mandela’s; where a problem was identified and then an action put in place to resolve the problem, no matter what the cost. Progress as a nation will happen should you let it. My grandparents had their battles to fight so that my parents would have a better life than they did; my parents had their struggles so that I may live better. The previous generation always raises the bar for the next generation, no matter how big or small the improvement is, it is an improvement. The previous generation gave us political freedom; surely it’s our turn to set the new standard? However, I feel that drive and enthusiasm are persecuted in our communities as opposed to encouraging it. As a black person, you make me feel guilty for growing up in a different suburb or going to a different school. Why? There will always be different social and economic sectors to society, and should parents choose to raise the standard of their children’s lives, why make the them feel guilty about it? Heraclitus wrote, “the only constant is change”, and the way I translate this is, whether we like it or not, things will change. Should we choose to go with it or against it is our choice but do not blame those that accepted it for future problems.

I find myself stuck in a generation that seems to forget that we are the one’s meant to carry this country forward, and yet here we are, holding onto hatred and fighting a fight, which isn’t ours.  Are we carrying forth the hatred of past generations? Are we failing all those who bled for us to have the opportunities we’ve had because we choose to not let go? The easier route to keep using the “blame game”, it seems. “It was the apartheid era that broke it, so they must fix it”. In a born free generation, where time is not on our side - regarding the blame game - as those that were not part of the previous regime reach the status of elders, and the previous regime is but history, do we blame their children; or their children’s children? Have the older generations passed down their hatred to the newer generations? Pass the blame from one generation to another as we pass the hatred from one generation to another? Where does it stop? Somewhere along the lines of liberation, we picked up the hatred that some of the older generation had, and forgot that we need to work together to change the situation in South Africa.

Does my generation suffer from low self-esteem? Why then do we accept the mediocrity and say that it is okay for “black people” in our nation to be less ambitious than other races?

If “black people” were so adamant that it is "un-African" to exhibit a progressive character then what are we saying about our leaders? If South Africa were to maintain its trend of black leaders, are those leaders "un-African" in the sight of their own followers? Or, much to mine and many others’ dismay, are we electing completely incompetent leaders because that's what a black person should be?

I ask this of our generation: Are we going to tell our black children that they are inferior in a country that was won for them to progress?

We as a nation have failed South Africa, we have failed to uphold the moral values that many suffered, bled and died for. We are the problem and we too, refuse to own up to that. As a youth, it seems the patriotism is slowly drifting away and with that the moral compasses that were once the icons of our people. Patriotism isn’t just about dying for your country in a battle, but rather an instilled pride in a nation to better itself, a pride in our multi cultural, multi faceted country.

I’ve written before about how the government needs to step up, and then I thought about it, why must the government step up when we as a nation refuse to step up? It requires both parties to work in symbiosis. In retrospect, the nation makes the government. Government is in fact the nation's citizens. You can argue that the majority will vote for their choice but aren't they part of the nation? Don't we all, regardless of race, have a fair chance to vote and impact on the country we claim to love?  An example, If government provides jobs, but we refuse to work for it, or feel that we deserve better and choose not to take THAT job, who does the blame fall under? BEE and Affirmative Action, two words I feel contribute to degradation of morals as it says to the youth that you don’t have to work as hard to get the same position as the others. Yes BEE and AA is required but it has its time period. In a generation of born frees, we need to allow ourselves to think free! The world owes us nothing. My generation has many more tools than the generation of 1976, and yet here we are, sitting and waiting on the older generation to “fix” things for us. Are we a “spoon-fed generation” with entitlement issues?  Do we feel that things should be given to us instead of having to work hard it? Do we sit on the sidelines and complain about government without lifting a finger? Are we really desecrating our history by expecting that their hard work magically bear fruits for us without any of our input except complain? Have we forgotten the lessons that South Africa’s history tells? I refuse to believe that in a generation that has so many opinionated, brilliant minds, that we cannot find a way to take our country forward together. Why do we continue to break each other down, instead of building each other up?

Why are we able to host such passionate debates about sex and partying, and yet here we are failing to find solutions to bringing South African’s together, and completely liberating South Africa, not only politically, but socially and economically as well. We criticize the older generations and fail to give them solutions; we are focusing on the short-term effects and not the long-term effects, that’s what worries me. The older generation will soon move on and it’ll be up to us to take this country forth.

So I find myself thinking that there is still hope for South Africa, that hope lies in each and every one of us. If only we can find a medium and come together as South Africans to help this nation reach it’s full potential.

If we could take a moment and see South Africa's potential beyond race, we stand to be the most diverse country filled with opportunities. As a nation, if we embraced our differences and worked together on our strengths, who knows the list endless possibilities we could unlock.

As for my generation, criticize your own but show them where they can do better. As for my generation, listen to criticism and not find away to dismiss it.

Remember, this is your nation, your future, if you aren’t going to grab it by the horns and direct it, then who will?

You can follow me on twitter: @LeratoMannya

**Thanks to @Sergio_Murray, @SDotJR_ & @SadieWiggles for their contribution to this article

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