South African Youth Rise Up

2015-06-16 18:58

On June 16th, South Africans engage in the annual celebration of Youth Day. It was on this day in 1976 that Black youth within Soweto Township came together to protest against the apartheid-run education system, which segregated students on the basis of ethnicity. The youth of 1976 sacrificed their lives so that we can have a right to a fair education, freedom and equality. Today we celebrate the Soweto uprising through this day called Youth Day.

A Facebook friend wrote… “Until South Africa can prioritise I’ll never celebrate this day, I will just acknowledge it.” Such a powerful yet sad statement. Through this statement I realised that there is nothing much to celebrate. There is a lot of work to be done, 16 June 1976 was just the beginning.

June 16 should be an opportunity for us to reflect on the progress that has been made in recent decades and the current state of our country. The youth of today is fighting against motionless statues while the youth of 1976 fought against police with guns. Are we fighting against motionless statues because there is no better battle to fight? Yes the debate around statues might still be a relevant one but as long as it does not seek to improve the lives of individuals then it is not worth pursuing.

The youth of 2015 should be fighting against corruption and against “Inkandla”, Yes Inkandla because it is the fruit of corruption. The battle is no longer about the ANC vs DA. The South African youth should engage in relevant debates and measures to fight the evil of corruption. It is not the opposition in me talking but a young South African calling on fellow South Africans to rise up and destroy corruption.

We as a country lack prioritisation in all aspects. We have children in the Eastern Cape for example who are studying outside without classrooms, some even walk distances as close to 10 km to get to school yet a president’s private home has taken priority. The money spent on Nkandla could have built schools.

Why should we celebrate June 16 when the government is robing our future generation? Until we have schools and libraries that are of the same standard as our “Fire pools” and “Nkandla Kraal” then maybe we can celebrate June 16.

While we recognise the beauty of our history, it is just as important to recognise the broken present situations and come up with solutions, a sense of urgency and good prioritisation for the country.

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