On 16 June, South Africans celebrated Youth Day. Why is this day important? One Young World Ambassadors share:
“Youth day is the realisation of a vision and a dream fought for by thousands of South African youths. It is a celebration of youth, power and unity, how we as young people can impact the world if we put our minds to it. We look back at June 16, 1976 not only to reflect on how far we’ve come, but to remind ourselves to keep moving forward. It is imperative that the youth of today see the benchmark of the fallen soldiers that had so little materially but great willpower and passion to fight.
While our fight for the realisation of economic freedom and education is different to our predecessors, we must remain conscious of the vision and pave the way for those who come behind us so that they so that they fight a different battle to ours, in a free and fair democracy.”
Didintle Letlape currently works at AngloAmerican and is studying accounting.
“16 June celebrated in South Africa, reflect on the massacre of school children during the Soweto Uprising of 1976. A day that began as a peaceful demonstration of students against Apartheid education policies. As a young South African, full of pride and hope that our country has the ability to rise above our past, Youth Day is a celebration of the potential and power of our youth to create positive influences and shape our country’s future.
I will be spending Youth Day 2018 with 52 underprivileged children at a crèche, Boitshepo, an informal settlement in the Lanseria area. This is the true demographic of the majority of our youth today. There is endless potential, but limited resources, both in terms of access to fulfil basic needs, and in terms of access to good education.
It is so important that we continue to remember two key learnings from the 1976 massacre: that decisions taken that impact all South Africans should be made in the best interest of all South Africans, and that the youth have the power, the spirit and the potential to shape our future. We should be embraced and encouraged to strive for meaningful change.
“If you are more fortunate than others, build a longer table, not a taller fence”. — Unknown
Maxine Gray works at Investec and assists in running imagine.nation, South Africa