June 16: Let us change the country we live in

June 16: Let us change the country we live in

We remember those who've gone before us. On this day, we remember the immense courage and sacrifice it took from the youth of this country, to bring us closer to our democracy. We are free, but it's a freedom that we must continue to fight for. 

Samkele Maseko outside Luthuli House

And here's why: 

More than 20 years into our democracy, our nation faces huge obstacles as we battle various economic and social challenges. Key among them - the fact that a large number of our young people face the stark and real reality of unemployment. Many sit at home, with a matric certificate - either unable to study further or unable to find work. 

In many of our communties, drugs and alcohol have made substantial dents. Wiping out potential bright futures and claiming young lives. 

I count myself as part of the youth of South Africa. The young women and men, who are looking for proper leadership to provide political guidance. For we believe that we were truly born for such a time as this.


That fact was particularly evident during the #FeesMustFall campaigns and protests we saw last year. It was a singular moment where young people stood up, united through one cause demanding what has been promised in the Freedom Charter and the ANC Mangaung conference in 2012. But alas, small gains were made. 

Our higher education minister Blade Nzimande has made it clear - that free education for all is not a model this country can subscribe to. 

Today we ask ourselves what is our generational mission and which political organization is heading it? The painful truth is that my generation is currently leaderless. Every political party seems preoccupied with other priorrities. Many young voices believe they're viewed as a vote and nothing else. 

While still heading the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema started setting off alarm bells that economic freedom in our lifetime must become a reality. But our collective challenge is how we get there. 

Every generation will be remembered for what it contributed to society. This generation will be remembered for the strides it made, or the steps it didn't take, to realise economic freedom. 

Russian Theorist Vladimir Lenin once said, "No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses." 

We as the youth of South Africa must fight to restore the view of ourselves - that we are pre-occupied with material wealth and don't care for substance. 

We need to draw from struggle stalwarts such as the late Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu , Anton Lembede , Hector Peterson and the generation of the 80's. For if we leave this struggle for another, we will continue the  cycle of poverty and neglect. We will contribute nothing to true liberation. We will nothing for our children, and their children. 

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