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South Africa

#SpeakUp76: Heroes of 1976 turned enemies to today’s youth

For Youth Day we asked first-year journalism students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology to write for us.

This is Melikhaya Zagagana's piece: 

The youth of 1976 faced apartheid with unwavering courage. What they fought against was clear: an unjust and racist government, who undermined the rights of black students while glorifying white supremacy and institutionalised racism. It was not a secret that the apartheid regime made it difficult for black people to develop socially, economically and educationally.

As the youth of today, we are in a conundrum, facing many challenges from different fronts. The same apartheid structures have been incorporated within our democracy. 

Though there is access to opportunities than before, without resources that access is useless. We start our careers in educational institutions with fear and doubt of whether the market is structured in line with what we learn from schools, and that fear is motivated by the high rate of unemployed graduates. 

After matric, the future of youth, especially those from a poor background, is threatened by drugs and crime because of a lack of access to tertiary education or employment programs.

The same youth of 1976 is embroiled in all sorts demoralising activities like corruption, nepotism, patronage and self-serving while exploiting state resources. 

We are now left with no choice but to face the same people who saved us from the sting of apartheid with the same courage of 1976 and stop them from enriching themselves, their friends and family with state resources while failing dismally to uplift today's youth.

* Speak up like the youth of ‘76 by tweeting your opinions and challenges to the new @GovernmentZA's Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with  Disabilities: Minister Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane using #speakup76 @IOL or write to IOL at [email protected]
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