It’s more than 40 years since South Africa’s youth took a stand against the oppressive apartheid regime. 16 June 1976 will be remembered as the day when many young people in the country paid the ultimate price for their convictions and their demand to be heard.
Now the youth are again standing up, demanding that they be given opportunities to access institutions of higher learning and by doing so, determine their own future. But unlike the youth of 1976, today’s generation is faced with myriad complex challenges.
The young generation around the world has classified themselves as “millennials” – they are eager and able to solve their demanding issues, while at the same time having the energy and drive to start their own enterprises.
But the aspirations of many young people are dented by high levels of unemployment that often lead to the use of violence to express anger and frustration. This phenomenon is not unique to South Africa but is rather a global trend.
With increased engagement and interaction among the youth from the BRICS nations, it’s evident that they indeed have many shared goals and challenges. And like their 1976 comrades, one thing is clear about the modern youth: they are not afraid to challenge the existing political and social dispensation.
One of the biggest obstacles in their way is that the youth need to realise they live in what Bell Hooks calls a “white supremacist patriarchal capitalist society”. This system promotes wealth monopoly, selfishness and greed. While Bell Hooks refers to youth in general, the challenges of unemployment and poverty are specifically very real for black youngsters.