Every year in South Africa the month June is celebrated as Youth month, in commemoration of the mass action the students of 1976 displayed on the 16th of June. This is both a brilliant and auspicious time which some how for me is always bitter sweet.There seems to be a general need in the media and in conversations mainly had during this month, to compare the youth of now to that of 1976. I am confused as to why this should be the case. They were the youth of then and we are the youth of now. Our journeys are intertwined as we are their children, nieces,nephews mentees,subordinates,colleagues etc. However we are not them and they are not us. The struggle of their epoch posed the question will you fight for freedom or will you fight to free yourself from ideas of freedom.
Our era is very different it poses the question will you fight to explore the vast extents of the freedom you posses or will you live freely in captivity. Where simply put the struggle is to give a damn? and if you do you wont find yourself perplexed by the fact that we do not have a singular struggle. Who ever said ‘hence forth each generation shall be allotted one common struggle for them to conquer in their life-time?”. Our challenge is to test the extent of what we comprehend to be FREEDOM.To endure and enjoy the opportunities and responsibilities that come with living and being young in this new democracy. Where we must strive to constantly be conscious of the power we truly posses. Free and unashamed free and truly free. Not waiting to be told that we are free to what extent but setting those parameters for ourselves beyond the laws of the land or the nature of your career path and industry. Shaping,colouring and reinventing what we are capable and willing to do in our life time. With the scope to blaze new trails for we are yet to see what marvels can come of us and this freedom,because it’s no longer us vs freedom but freedom and us vs life.
With out a doubt our struggles are more bearable than those faced by the youth of 1976,well I suppose depending on which side of the have and have not coin you fall that is.I am forever grateful to the youth of 1976 along with all those who fought with all their might to afford me the free and beautiful life I have today.The best way I can show appreciation and respect to them is by living consciously and purposefuly.Keeping in mind that I owe it to my fellow South Africans to be a part of the solutions to the problems faced by those who have not yet felt the empowering embrace of freedom from hunger,poverty and illiteracy.
All I’m saying is there is no need for comparison we are not the youth of 1976. We are the youth of now with challenges befitting our capabilities. Where those irked by the status quo will aptly meet the ills of their communities and country at the level required for their remedy to be realised.