Voices

Our young people have the potential to shape the SA that we aspire towards

2020-02-27 00:58

Often the young people of South Africa are spoken about and not spoken to regarding their aspirations and how the problems that plague them can be addressed.

It is almost as though the young people of this country do not have any ideas about how a South Africa that is prosperous can be achieved.

In most cases there is a reliance on economists, sociologists and other professionals to interrogate the problems of young people.

This strips the agency of young people who are directly affected and have the lived experiences of what it means to be a young black person in South Africa.

Here I am speaking about young people who are mostly unemployed and live in the townships and rural areas.

These are the young people who constantly have to deal with the brutal alienation caused by the exclusionary structure of South Africa.

Read: Youth unemployment: No more lip service

Young people are a majority in this country and, as a natural consequence of their youth, they have the potential to create and shape the South Africa that we all aspire for.

This is a country based on a collective understanding of the necessity of equality and the need to create opportunities for all.

It is a South Africa that is mindful of its past and is constantly working towards addressing it, ensuring that those who are still affected by this past are not stuck in a whirlwind of stagnancy.

This can only happen when young people, who are the main drivers of change, are included in the dialogue.

Not just as objects of research studies but as participants who equally have the capacity to contribute to the exchange.

It is my opinion that government and the many young people’s organisations have not done enough to mobilise and reach out to them.

Young people who live in the townships and rural areas are detached from institutions with the potential to affect their lives. It is almost as if they live in a different country.

This is why most of them end up resorting to drug abuse and crime as a way of dealing with the unbearable reality that their future is gloomy.

It is untrue that young black people are lazy or have uncontrollable impulses to commit crime.

It is the conditions that they find themselves in that leave them with no options.

The most painful part is that while the majority of young people languish in poverty and squalor there is a small elite group of people who live luxurious lives.

This is unjust.

Often the young people of South Africa are spoken about and not spoken to regarding their aspirations and how the problems that plague them can be addressed.

The main problems confronting young people are known. Chief among them are unemployment and poverty.

The two main problems become a gateway for all the other issues that end up ensnaring the young people.

What is necessary then is a vanguard organisation for young people that is going to be able gather them and resolve on what should be done.

Such an organisation does not exist currently.

Those that exist have liberal policies which are not interested in weeding out the problem but seem to be much more interested in unsustainable interventions.

Other organisations only use the suffering of the poor to score political points and get publicity while others are fighting among themselves.

All of this higi haga ends up adversely affecting young people.

Young people are a majority in this country and, as a natural consequence of their youth, they have the potential to create and shape the South Africa that we all aspire for.

What is necessary under these conditions is a consolidation of a young people’s group that will prioritise their needs over everything else.

This group must be able to go to the ground where the young people are and canvas different suggestions around how we can address some of the issues.

This must be followed by a bold move to resist because it seems that it has become culture in South Africa that each and every demand must be fought for.

Most importantly, the fight must be taken to the correct places, where power resides.

We know very well who is exploiting, retrenching and unjustly benefiting from resources that are supposed to be changing the lives of South Africans.

This is where the fight is.

In conclusion, any solution that wants to speak about the future but does not consider the youth is not a solution.

. Dlamini is a former Wits University students’ representative council president and youth activist


Read more on:

unemployment
youth
poverty

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March 29 2020