Rekin­dle spirit of youth of ’76

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - JAPHET MATHANDA NCUBE Editor

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.

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