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This Youth Month, give back to your community whilst also earning extra money

Today's youth have significantly more doors open to them, but have their own issues to contend with. Picture: Jacob Lund

Today's youth have significantly more doors open to them, but have their own issues to contend with. Picture: Jacob Lund

Published Jun 15, 2023


47 years ago, the youth of 1976 took to the streets to fight oppressive apartheid laws that kept them from getting quality education, which squandered their talents and work opportunities in favour of producing low skilled labourers for the white minority.

Nearly 50 years later, today's youth have significantly more doors open to them as the result of the sacrifices of those who came before them. Despite this progress, this generation has its own issues to contend with.

1. Language preservation

In 1974, the apartheid government enforced the Afrikaans Medium Decree, which made all black schools use Afrikaans as the language of instruction.

Despite the language having developed from a mix of the 17th century Dutch colonists, the indigenous Khoisan, and the enslaved Asian people in the Cape, it was used by apartheid architects to oppress and subjugate other races in the country.

The Constitution protects most of the languages in the country. However, these are in danger of becoming extinct in the near future.

There is a whole generation of black children growing up not being able to speak their mother tongues. Reportedly, only two percent of books published in the country are in local African languages, while 80 percent of the population speaks a language other than English or Afrikaans.

For this side hustle, you can do your part in preserving and celebrating your language, such as writing poetry, providing lessons, or even writing fiction or non-fiction books.

2. Advocating for change through art

Art has the power to articulate what words sometimes fail to. Paintings, for example, can evoke emotions and stir new ideas and prompt discussions.

If you are talented, skilled or even just love to express yourself through the medium, you can use it towards a cause you are passionate about.

An example of such an artist is the anonymous political activist and maker of great works known by his pseudonym, Banksy. The English-based artist specialises in street art. His art pieces have been sold for billions of rands.

3. Touching lives through music

On June 11,1988, the Nelson Mandela 70th birthday tribute concert was held at Wembley Stadium, in London. This show was to call for the release of Nelson Mandela, who had been imprisoned since 1962.

South African music icons Hugh Masekela and Miriam Kabeka took part in this concert to also shine a light on the plight of the country's Black, Indian, Asian and Indigenous people at the time.

So, music is a highly productive way to advocate for what you are passionate about. It can also bring a little light and comfort to those who are suffering. This incredible way of expression can not be used to serve others, but to heal through your own issues as well.

4. Using photography to document your community

At the beginning and height of the apartheid regime, photographers risked their lives documenting the oppressive laws in action and the atrocities committed by the government.

Surprisingly, some of this evidence was captured by government-commissioned people as well.

Photography can transcend language and turn light and time into a physical object. As the old adage goes, 'a picture is word a thousand words.'

There is so much taking place within our communities at any given time, it would be a waste not to capture it. From beautiful, uplifting moments to the violent and dangerous aspects of South African life, photography can help bring all of this to light.

5. Cleaning up your area

At times, the smallest acts can make the biggest difference. Most of the country's townships have decades worth of waste on their hands. From heaps of garbage to running sewage, these areas have been grossly neglected by municipalities.

Living with this waste causes numerous diseases for residents. In November of 2019, the residents of Refilwe, a township just outside of Bronkhorstspruit, complained that their tap water was dirty, brown in colour, and sometimes contained worms.

For this side hustle you can create a cycling or waste removal initiative in your neighbourhood.

You can also create a water filtration system that can provide your community with safe drinking water as this is still an issue in many regions of the country.

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