Rekindle spirit of youth of ’76
THE copy of The Star in your hands today means much more than all the editions we have produced since my arrival in November last year, as editor.
In the undying spirit of June 16, 1976, I took the unprecedented decision to give the youth in our newsroom the opportunity to produce this edition.
And by youth, I don’t mean the 34.5 age group as is the case in the ANC Youth League of today or in Zanu-PF, another liberation movement where men of 60 can still qualify as youth.
All of the young people who worked on and produced this Special June 16 Edition are under 30.
It’s a first in the 130-year history of this iconic paper, whose birthday is only a few months away.
This is going to become an annual ritual, where young people in the newsroom get an opportunity to lead and produce the paper while we, on the wrong side of youth, sit back and watch the passion and drive with which the future leaders execute this task. The idea is to create newsroom leaders, to empower young people and see what June 16, 1976 means to them as we commemorate this important day in the history of our great country.
We are mindful of the fact that today’s youth face a different battle from the class of 1976. Drug abuse, joblessness and lack of access to quality tertiary education are among some of the key challenges for the young people today.
For many of them, democracy has not brought the milk and honey their forebears fought so hard for.
Indeed, 41 years later and 23 years after the first democratic elections in 1994, the youth are still largely chained to the ugly legacy of the past. The Struggle continues.
The youth of 1976, armed only with their bravery and the hunger for quality education and freedom, took on the might of the brutal apartheid regime in what marked the turning point in our Struggle for freedom.
The evil system responded with brute force, unleashing its machinery to suppress the rising anger and dissent.
The Soweto uprisings became a global story, casting light on apartheid and creating instant heroes and freedom fighters among the youth of the time. It showed us that the youth can lead and become masters of their own destiny. That they can be catalysts for change.
We believe that, just like the youth of June 16, 1976 – today’s crop needs to – and can – chart their own destiny.
… As we saw with #FeesMustFall last year.
What is required is for the youth to take the future into their own hands. Like the youth of 1976… And be heard.
The youth at The Star rose to the occasion and their efforts have not gone unnoticed.
In them, we see a better tomorrow for our youth.