Thirty-nine years ago a group of young people made their voices heard as they staged a protest against the unjust education system of the time. On the 16th of June 2015, young people from Mpumalanga and Gauteng gathered in their respective communities and celebrated the day by expressing their objection with one voice against the challenges within their communities.
At Inkunzi High School, Mpumalanga, GOLD Peer Educators, Facilitators and teachers assembled to say “Away with Substance Abuse and Forward with Education”. Sister Thembi from Manzini Clinic was the guest speaker who addressed the Peer Educators and their peers on the dangers of substance abuse. She also spoke about the places young people could go to for help in cases of substance abuse.
In addition to Sister Thembi’s speech, Peer Educators and peers shared their poems and speeches with messages relevant to the day . They also expressed their views and understanding about the significance of Youth Day.
In the midst of the Peer Educators and their peers were past Peer Educators who are currently studying at tertiary institutions. They motivated the Peer Educators and peers who are still in high school to work hard and always see education as important to their success.
Senzo, a past Peer Educator, said that he was glad that the event was able to bring “peer educators together with peers from different sites to share learnings and views around issues that are affecting our communities”
The GOLD Peer Educators and their peers in Diepsloot gathered to be reminded that they have been liberated for a purpose and that the freedom they have was obtained through sacrifice.
The Peer Educators partnered with other young people from other organisations such as, among others, Afrika Tikkun, Christ Embassy, Be Free Live Free and Umtomje Production. This collective of young people conveyed positive messages through speeches as well as dramas.They also organised awareness campaigns using placards about the issues that affect the youth in Diepsloot.
There were also information stalls mounted by the Peer Educators. One of the stalls had information and hand-outs about drug awareness. The other stalls had information about study tips as well as anti-depression materials sponsored by SANCA and SADAG.
In addition to the information made available, the young people also had the opportunity to play netball in collaboration with the various netball groups from the community.
At the end of the day the young people walked away carrying joy-filled memories of the event, and practical knowledge they could use to spark transformation in their communities.
GOLD commends the Peer Educators at Masoyi (Mpumalanga) and Diepsloot (Gauteng) who rallied their peers to honour the memory of the youth of 1976 by putting a spotlight on key issues that need be addressed in their communities.