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The Important Message About June 16.

Happy Youth Day.

It's another year whereby we commemorate our fallen heroes of the Soweto Uprising that occurred on the 16th of June 1976. A day filled with celebration and appreciation of what the youth did for us back in 1976. The Soweto Uprising showed unity, fearless mentality and true leadership. It was a day that the South African youth decided that they had enough of the apartheid school system that wasn't beneficial to them and their education. This showed how powerful the youth is when it comes to facing up the challenges within their country. Even though a lot of people lost their lives in the protest. We should never take anything for granted as the youth of 1976 has laid a foundation for us to do more for our country. There's a lot of challenges facing the youth at the moment. The only thing which becomes a bit of a worry is that there's a lack of good leaders that has the South African youth's interests at heart.

It has been 44 years since the Soweto Uprising occurred. A photograph that has had many people emotional whenever they look at it when thinking about the 16th of June 1979. It's a historic photo of Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo after being shot by South African police. Running alongside them was Hector's sister, Antoinette Sithole as they were on their way to the local clinic. Unfortunately, Hector Pieterson was declared dead upon rival at the clinic. This photograph was taken by the late Soweto Uprising icon, Sam Nzima.

Since we're under lockdown as a country we can't celebrate Youth Day like we usually do. Most of the times it is usually celebrated in stadiums, parks and community centres with many people gathered together for the same cause. Listening to the speeches of our leaders, watching our favourite artists perform and also just having harmless fun. The Youth Day has become more of a concert though in many provinces and somehow that has made it lose its core meaning which is to uplift each other in the communities. It supposed to be a combination of information or education and a bit of entertainment. Certain individuals treat it as a drinking day, meanwhile, other people either don't know anything about the Youth Day or they just show no interest. It is our duty as South Africans that we keep the legacy alive of June 16. We cannot ignore the fact that in 1976, the youth put their lives on the line for us to enjoy what we have at the moment. I know you may say, but it's not enough or we still not fully free with our education system. At least it's a start and now it is up to us to move forward and make the necessary changes. 

The youth of today might be of a different era with new challenges. It still doesn't change what the youth of 1976 did for all of us. We just need to respect that and also face our challenges head-on. We're faced with the high unemployment rate, corruption, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, crime, poverty and unequal educational opportunities. We cannot now ignore that even though we're in a free country but there's nothing free about the challenges that the youth of this country faces each day. We cannot sit down and point fingers at each other. We can't afford to let the new generation to come to face the same challenges we're facing right now as the youth of South Africa. This chain of suffering needs to end. We deserve better than these challenges.

Surely the youth just want to live their best lives and not worry about such challenges. With time that can be achieved as we have intelligent and talented youth within our country. We need to come together, work on solutions and choose relevant leaders that can put our ideas at large. We cannot afford to have people in power that won't fight for our rights and work with us to bring change in our communities. Also, we cannot put everything on our government. The blaming and complaining game needs to end if we want to build a better South Africa for everyone. We need to start doing things as a youth that will make the future our South Africa brighter. 

As long as we're working on finding better ways forward and executing those solutions. Things will change, we just need to trust the process, work harder, have faith and determination.

Also please don't forget to reach out to each other. After all, we're all about Ubuntu (Humanity). Happy Youth Day fellow South Africans. 

Stay safe and stay at home.

(Source: Wikipedia and Google)

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Antoinette Sithole Happy Youth Day Hector Pieterson Mbuyisa Makhubo South African


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