Youth Day – the young say what it means

Soweto 1976 trans­formed, en­er­gised this whole coun­try

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - KARISHMA ‘DOLL’ DIPA

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.

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