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LISTEN | SA youth question their freedom

16 June 2020 - 15:25 By Modiegi Mashamaite
SA youth celebrate Youth Day under lockdown.
SA youth celebrate Youth Day under lockdown.
Image: 123RF/Kadriya Gatina

Every year on June 16, South Africans pay tribute to the youths who died during the 1976 student uprising against apartheid.

This year marks 44 years since the uprising, sparked by resistance to Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools

In January 1954, the Bantu Education Act was introduced, making it compulsory for black children to attend government schools and learn specific subjects in English and Afrikaans.

The Bantu education system separated schools and universities, it had poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers, resulting in a lack of quality education for black children.

Exactly 44 years later a Stats SA survey found that about 58.1% of SA’s youth are unemployed, making this one of the toughest challenges faced by youths in SA.

44 years later we asked the Youth of SA if they feel free

Kutlwano Ngoasheng, a 23-year-old from Soweto, says there is no other place to be a black youth than in SA.  Ngoasheng justifies that she is free because she has been able to attain opportunities previously denied to people of colour.

“We have so much opportunity and space to reach our full potential. We are sitting in a time where we have a black president, we have a black Miss South Africa, who looks like us and is a representation of us,” says Ngoasheng.

Another youth from Cape Town, Unathi Balele, said that she does not feel free as there are certain things that she still cannot get or achieve, mainly because of the colour of her skin.

“I think I am free but then I don't feel free because there are so many limitations to this freedom.” she says.

Due to the lockdown, all activities taking place during this year's Youth Month, including Youth Day celebrations, will take place virtually through various platforms such as social media, web-based seminars (webinars), online, TV and radio.

“In these uncertain times, your voices as young people become more important than ever before. As we try to transition to a better world, you as young will be the leaders of that world, and therefore, this is probably the most important June month that will be commemorated in our democratic history.” said National Youth Development Agency CEO Waseem Carrim.