YOUNG PEOPLE’S STRUGGLES CONTINUE
Written by: Shanice Pillay
“I live in Broad Street Accomodation. I come here (Musgrave Road) and beg for food and money to pay for my accommodation. I can’t receive a grant because I have no family to collect it for me,” said Rylee Zietsman.
Zietsman (16) has been an orphan since he lost his parents in 2009.
The young lad has been on his own for the past eight years, and is struggling to make ends meet.
Zietsman is one of many young people who face harsh living conditions at the corners of various streets in South Africa.
Youth month may come to end, but young people’s struggles continue.
This year, June 16th marks 41 years of the Soweto Uprising. Hundreds of students lost their lives fighting for their freedom in education. But, what has changed since then?
Khumbulani Benfred Sibisi (59), who reminisces about his youth days and the struggles he had to face while completing school, said: “In 1976 the apartheid government wanted to implement Afrikaans in all the subjects. And I remember it was difficult I was doing my matric at the time and the youth refused to it this way. That’s when they formed the strike, it was bad days. Many youth passed away because of the police who had guns.”
He added that the government sent police to control the youth. Sadly the strike ended painfully, but their voices where heard.
However, the youth of today have struggles of their own.
Shaquille Abdul–Rasheed, a bachelor of technology in graphic design student, said that the youth of today has lost their way.
“Forty one years ago the youth had issues with getting their needs and rights met. I think that’s how it trickles down to how some of the youth struggled in the past. It resulted in the youth of today growing up in households with single parents, and lack of discipline and morals which leads to drug abuse and the need to be accepted by society,” he said.
Another student said that the future for our youth is scary and worrisome.
“The thing with our generation is that we grew up being told that we could have anything, as long as we do the right things. We go to university, get our degree and then we learn that there are no jobs out there, despite doing everything right,” said Phiwokuhle Mkhize.
Mkhize added that the future is uncertain for today’s youth, yet they want to make a mark in the world and leave a legacy.
*Caption: A poster during the #feesmustfall protest. Access to education is a struggle for many young people in the country.