Youth Day activities in summary

In 1976, students in Black townships around Johannesburg took to the streets in protest against an apartheid law that required them to learn in Afrikaans. This was an injunction that added to an already inferior education as part of the apartheid government strategy to educate Black people for manual labour tasks. The uprising quickly spread to other cities such as Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and the apartheid government responded with the use of force which saw many youth killed and maimed.

June 16-Young people from different walks of life gathered to not only commemorate Youth Day but continue speaking about what needs to change in their communities. Peer Educators and their peers from Kraafontein and Masoyi (Mpumalanga) respectively marched carrying placards with expressions of the kind of communities they imagined for themselves, their peers and future generations. They wrote:

“Youth make positive choices”

“Build wat the next generation can gain”

“Crime Must Fall”

Mpumalanga

Community members and key decision-makers in the respective communities joined the Peer Educators and peers in the marches. This local action demonstrated the idea that the voices of young people carry the solution for their communities and ultimately the nation.

Limpopo

While young leaders in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga used placards to express themselves, other young leaders in Mokopane (Limpopo) gathered at a conference organised by Destiny Alive (a GOLD Implementing partner). The conference sought to encourage them  about their role to influence positive change in their lives and their surroundings.

“You can rise above your environment and circumstances. You can choose to either become a result of your circumstances or to rise above it.” were some of the words that were instilled into their minds . They were also told that they are pioneers and given practical knowledge on how they could realize this.

In between sessions the young people, who come from different homes and villages,  interacted with each other and gleaned lessons from each other as well as reflected on what they had received.”It inspired me to be the answer, not for what it can benefit me, but for the nations” is what Merene (Facilitator intern) said when thinking about the conference overall. A Peer Educator said ” this is the beginning of a new era in my life”.

Irrespective of where they find themselves, Peer Educators and their peers do not keep silent about what needs to change in their communities; instead, they constantly discuss solutions and strive to put their ideas into action. They always SHINE.

 

 

 

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