AN OVERVIEW OF THE YOUTH MONTH
Editorial by Feature Section Editors.
Science contends that children born today will be smarter than those born a year ago, and even smarter than those born 37 years ago. But is this really true?
June 1976 is a month known, not only in South Africa but the world, as the day when young South Africans took to the streets to be heard. They demanded, among other things, that Afrikaans cease being the medium of instruction in schools- a worthy and just cause that ended in tragedy. Young South Africa made the ultimate sacrifice for their ideals that day.
These traits, this spirit, still exists in today’s youth.
This is not to infer that youth should resort to the use of protest and violence that was necessary in the context of ‘the bad old days’, but rather honour our predecessors’ sacrifice by taking full advantage of the opportunities- the ‘voice’- they fought and died for.
The failure of many of our youth to realise the obligation we have to the past and to the future, to take advantage of these opportunities, and to take an active role in improving our lot, and the lot of our communities, suggests that our youth perhaps is not as smart as science would have us believe.
Some say the youth of June 16 1976 were a totally different breed from that of today. They fought for education and against apartheid, while today’s youth strike for petty issues such as, for example, a greater variety of government-issued condoms to be made available. Today’s youth have become the poster-child for South Africa’s ills- apathy, crime and substance abuse.
Those who contend that this portrayal of our youth is media-driven, bottom-feeding, completely ignore the facts- over 3million youths between 15 and 24 are not working, not seeking formal education and are not in training. This demographic is also responsible for a large percentage of crime.
All however, is not doom and gloom. Journalisimiziko, in an ode to Youth Month, profiles some young people, who realise that for our generation, owning tomorrow, means taking back today.
Together We Can: making a change within the Community.
Together We Can is a non-profit organisation based in KwaMashu C section. It is an organisation by the youth, for the youth. The organisation is made up of the youth who live in the area, and are overseen by the co-founders, who give leadership and handle the administrative side.
The organisation was formed at the beginning of this year, with the primary goal of getting the youth off the streets. Together we can seeks to empower the youth, by helping them develop their talents, and arm them with skills and career guidance.
TWC’s township is well known for all the wrong reasons- crime, drug-abuse, violence. TWC aims to change the complexion of the township and paint a new image, create a new reputation. What better way to do so, than to work with the youth in bringing change?
Acting, Poetry, singing, traditional dancing- talent abounds within the township! Just waiting for a stage…TWC believes vehemently that talent, once discovered and nurtured, can alter forever, a person’s circumstances.
The organisation is a regular fixture at KwaMashu Christian Care for the old age home in particular. They play with the elderly of the township, help with their exercises and sing and dance with them, while of course, getting to hear the stories of back in the days.
TWO has partnered with companies such as Spar and Isolezwe, to host several events at KwaMashu Christian Care, including a commemoration of June16th The organisation works closely with KCC to remind the community of the plight our elderly face, and remind them that the community loves them.
Together We Can aims to create an empowered youth, through talent education and moral regeneration-youth that would make indeed, make this a better country for all.
Nomfundo Xaba’s Story
Nomfundo Xaba is another one of these youths.
She is currently doing her Grade 11 at Durban High Girls School, and lives in KwaMashu C Section.
Zamazulu Caring is an old-age hospice, offering care to the most vulnerable of our society- the elderly. Resources may be scarce, but Nomfundo and many other young people like her, ensure that love is never in short supply.
Nomfundo volunteers regularly and often. “When I was growing up I was told helping an older person is where you get your blessings from,” she smiles.
When she’s not helping the elderly, Nomfundo can often be found mentoring pre-school children in her neighbourhood, and assisting them with their schoolwork, while keeping them off the streets. Nomfundo also somehow finds time to be a choir-leader.
Nomfundo is part of the new generation of young South Africans who refuse to leave their future, and the future of their communities to chance. The obligation we all have to help make a difference, she sees as a privilege. Miss Xaba, we, your fellow youths salute you.