#IAm76 Hector Pieterson responds.

2015-06-16 09:17

A journalism student Simon Sonnekus penned a letter that was published in the Mercury on 15.6.2015 addressed to Hector Pieterson.

If Hector Peterson could reply to Simon Sonnekus "A letter to Hector Pieterson:you did not die in vain"(Mercury 15.6.2015) it could go along these lines.

" I am in receipt of and read your letter,Simon Sonnekus, ("A letter to Hector Pieterson:you did not die in vain":Mercury 15.6.2015) with interest but with a profound sense of sadness.

My generation was gatvol,(pardon me for use of Afrikaans, a hated language, at the time,that the apartheid government forced upon us) against an inferior education that would,if we did nothing, have reduced us to hewers of wood and drawers of water.It was humiliation at its very depth and when the African National Congress seemed to have abandoned us, and our elders' bovine acceptance of the status quo, we took to the streets.

I watch with this feeling still searing my soul and so when you say that my life 'meant so much for so many South Africans',I question this as from my vantage point have things changed for youth? Really changed? I have read through the media of how you still can't spell or count and how you fare at the very bottom in the field of mathematics and science.

Yes I did not become a martyr in vain ( martyrs don't die, they live through memory and celebration like every year you celebrate June 16 and my name is fertilised though remembrance).Today's youth seem to have scored an own goal because they still can't count or excel in mathematics and science. They are bedazzled with bling preferring a life of ease instead of sacrifice as we did way back in 1976. We took to the streets and became change agents but youth today have other ideas.Ever wonder why they can't get sustainable jobs? Maybe what is needed is for an 'African spring' to occur in South Africa.They should occupy parliament and areas around parliament as the youth of Egypt did and brought down a hateful system of government. Government has failed us and that so called National Youth Commission has become a talk shop adding to our woes. You need, not a Malema but a Tietsi Mashanini, who lies in Heroes Acre, who can lead you out of your prisons to the practical world where you will become contributors, through the sweat on your brow,instead of beggars.

I must,however record, initiatives from private individuals like Ebrahim Patel whose Magellan Investments has youth empowering programmes which promises to elevate youth to become entrepreneurs and leaders. I call upon others to emulate this and to harness the potential of our youth before they are lost to South Africa.

Thank you for writing to me but I'd prefer that you take the pen and use it as a weapon to awaken a dormant giant that doesn't realise its potential.

Your's truly

Hector Peterson

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