Youth Day – the young say what it means
Soweto 1976 transformed, energised this whole country
YOUNG or old, black or white, male or female, the 1976 Soweto Uprising has had an effect on South Africans from all walks of life. This includes celebrities who chatted to The Star about the 41st anniversary of the momentous day, why it still has relevance decades later and what they believe the biggest issues facing the youth are. Chris Jaftha, 32, actor, model and television personality:
Youth Day is important because the future belongs to the youth.
They say youth is wasted on the young but I’ve seen so many youths who are doing great things, not having an entitled attitude and realising that hard work and perseverance are what will pay off.
The biggest issue facing the youth in today’s culture is a quick fix.
Nothing comes quick, it may come quicker with the technology we have but too many youngsters have been told they can be anything they want to be at whatever cost.
The problem there is that you can only become whatever you want to become if you work hard, persevere and never give up, there are no shortcuts. If they work this out then the future for them is bright, as I have already seen with those who adopt this attitude. Remember: “Easy come, easy go.” Danilo Acquisto, 27, television and radio presenter:
I truly believe that the greatest threat facing young people at the moment is a lack of identity.
With so much information at our fingertips, trying to figure out who we are is one of the hardest tasks – the options are endless.
If young people cannot find out who they truly are, they aren’t going to know which causes to fight for, which careers to choose, which gender to fall in love with and so on.
I’m not talking here about a superficial “who am I?” question, I am rather speaking of a much more in-depth question of who you truly are deep down when you close your bedroom door and lay your head on the pillow and wonder about why you were created.
Social media is telling kids every single day that they aren’t enough.
Politics is getting in the way of showing young people what good leadership looks like.
Family members who are meant to be our refuge and strength are abusing and raping us and leaving us with the shame of that. If we as young people can’t search our hearts and discover who we are – loved and perfect just the way we are – we will continuously have our circumstances define us and we will become a hopeless generation always feeling like we aren’t enough. Ryan Keys, fashion designer:
Youth Day is important because it reminds South Africans of a horrific past that was only rectified by the youth. It reminds us to be brave and to chase after what we deserve. The biggest issue facing the youth is a lack of education and skills for them to pursue any career they dream possible.
Another issue that the youth of today face globally is a lack of self-love and self-belief.
The youth accept mediocrity and relationships that are harmful because they are not happy with themselves. Their foundations lack love and confidence, if you love yourself you will never accept anything less than what you believe you deserve.
Youth Day is important because it reminds us that everything and everyone comes from something.
The youth of 1976 loved their own lives enough to fight for it. It
A lot of our youth go to bed hungry or unable to take a hot shower
was about freedom but also about self-respect and dignity. Mayuri Naidu, 32, actress:
I am of the strong opinion that social media is one of the biggest issues facing the youth today. They are not using the internet to educate themselves.
There is nothing wrong with social media in itself, it’s a great way to instantly communicate and create and send your thoughts out to the world, but as with anything there is a dark side to it.
This includes cyber bullying, forcing the youth to conform to what is currently in style and making youngsters spend money they don’t have. Also, if you become obsessed with it, your sense of self can easily be affirmed or broken by how many people like your selfie, or how many followers you have.
It is scary when I see my nieces and nephew obsessing about their pictures and spending hours getting the right photo instead of being present and making memories with friends and family.
Of course this is just a superficial answer, aimed at those middle to upper class teenagers.
The majority of South African youths are being faced with far greater issues such as Aids and teenage pregnancies.
Our government is also unable to provide them with affordable education that can pave the way for their future.
Poverty and the price increase of basic staples like food, water and electricity, means a lot of our youths go to bed hungry or unable to take a hot shower... basic things we take for granted which allow us to focus on our education and jobs at hand.
“Females are especially vulnerable these days, travelling alone on public transport and becoming victims of rape and organ theft, but having no other choice but to use that very same transport despite the fact that it’s unsafe.”
Despite these seemingly dark days, there are so many stories of inspiration from the youth of this country that adults can take a leaf out of their books.
Working two jobs, with parents that have no higher education or work menial jobs, I read stories every day of how boys and girls overcome this to graduate in the sciences, business and technology.
It gives me hope for our country.
‘HORRIFIC PAST’: Fashion designer Ryan Keys on the catwalk.
‘KNOW YOUR IDENTITY’: Danilo Acquisto, tv and radio personality.
‘USE INTERNET WISELY’: Mayuri Naidu, actress.