Youth Day is a national holiday that honours the role South African youth played in the struggle against apartheid. Though the date commemorates the tragedy of the 1976 Soweto Youth Uprisings, it is now intended to remind young people of their power. It does this by acknowledging the vision and commitment shown by students when they took action that inspired so many around the world to help topple the oppression of apartheid.
Fighting for a collective future meant many young people sacrificed individual opportunities in the struggle. Today we mark Youth Day in 2018. It is a chance to reflect on how Youth experience a democratic South Africa, one in which we hope they can realise their full potential. However, in Mbashe Ward, where Zithulele is based, statistics worryingly reflect that young people still face a number of challenges moving through school and into employment.
The following information is shared on the platform www.youthexplorer.org.za
The statistics displayed above are clearly linked - it's not difficult to realise how poverty, adult unemployment, and a lack of basic services impact young people's ability to successfully move through education and into decent work. They show that there are serious obstacles still facing youth in this area, as in many rural regions so deeply impacted by our history.
Yet we still see huge hope in the young people we work with daily and in Zithulele at large. Today the community is coming together for a morning of activities, sports, games, and music. Young people will be sharing many of the activities that they drive here, including frisbee, chess and touch rugby, all spaces for collective growth.
Community is important - it is a great strength, the basis of solidarity. While we have to remain aware of statistics like these and work in the knowledge that we have not yet seen the equitable future imagined all those years ago, we can also celebrate coming together. Hopefully the Axium frisbee team will give us even more reason to celebrate as the day goes on!
To read more about Mbashe Ward, see https://bit.ly/2Jd3leB
All images sourced from Youth Explorer.