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Young people entering job market do not feel heard, says network of young leaders

16 June 2020 - 10:42 By Shonisani Tshikalange
The collective opinion of the youth panel was that students and young people just entering the job market in SA do not feel heard and they resent older generations (like politicians) making decisions that affect them without consulting them or really listening to their concerns.
The collective opinion of the youth panel was that students and young people just entering the job market in SA do not feel heard and they resent older generations (like politicians) making decisions that affect them without consulting them or really listening to their concerns.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

Young people entering the job market in SA do not feel heard and they resent those from older generations, such as politicians, making decisions that affect them without consulting them or really listening to their concerns, says a network of young leaders, Active! Change Drivers.

In an online panel discussion held recently, activators explored, among others, being burdened by the economic fallout from Covid-19.

Ntsikayam Maweni, a final-year student in politics and African languages, believes that the youth in SA are up to the challenge of building a new world post-Covid.

“We have reached the end of the politics of the ‘TRC’ (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and the ‘Rainbow Nation’. We are the youth of today. We find ourselves in spaces where we are carrying hopes and dreams that are not originally ours, that we fetched from the youth of 1976, or the #feesmustfall era, and we are still trying to figure out what our individual hopes and dreams are,” said Maweni.

Maweni said the voices of youths dominate on social media.

“We are not really locked up in terms of our thoughts. We have media platforms where we can voice our thoughts on the pandemic. This is not permanent. Young people can use this time to revamp themselves.” Said Maweni.

Eliene Scott worries that the youth of SA are too reactionary and only getting emotional about the topic of the day.

“We have a greater opportunity than the youth of 1976 — social media has the power to mobilise far greater numbers than what was mobilised back in the day. Our problem is that we are entitled as young people. We are not silenced. We need to start the narrative to create change in the country. We need to acknowledge that we have a greater advantage than in 1976,” said Scott.

Scott, who is on the SRC at her tertiary institution, feels strongly that the youth are not sufficiently using their power on social media.

“Social media could be used to advance our power but it isn’t. Social media is also a place of insult. There is so much potential for the platforms to be used for the greater good, but it does not mean we have any power because we have failed to use it, our power is either limited or coincidental.”

Alfred Claasen said the dreams of the youth are being interrupted by social issues that existed before Covid-19 and will exist after Covid-19.

Claasen said his dreams were about a principled and ethical society in which the youth could thrive.


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