The memorial stone at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Orlando that was opened by former President Nelson Mandela in 1992. During the Soweto uprising in 1976, more than 500 people died within a week, killed by apartheid police and SANDF members. On June 16 that year, thirteen-year-old Hector was among the youngest victims who perished that day. Avalon cemetery in Soweto has that day’s memorial at the main gate. Pieterson’s grave is nearby. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
The memorial stone at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Orlando that was opened by former President Nelson Mandela in 1992. During the Soweto uprising in 1976, more than 500 people died within a week, killed by apartheid police and SANDF members. On June 16 that year, thirteen-year-old Hector was among the youngest victims who perished that day. Avalon cemetery in Soweto has that day’s memorial at the main gate. Pieterson’s grave is nearby. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

How Durban youth feel about commemorating Youth Day

By Zainul Dawood, Sinenhlanhla Zungu, Gcwalisile Khanyile Time of article published Jun 17, 2021

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Dylan John Nicodemus, 20, Phoenix

“There is lots of support for the youth but not many job opportunities. I lost my father at an early age. I had to take a job to support my family. I am a technical assistant and trying to work my way into the job market. There are many challenges and struggles that the youth face. Youth day should be a day of mourning and not a celebration. We should light a candle, cook a meal for the destitute and reflect on our actions. There is always someone worse off.”

Sbahle Khuzwayo, 16.| Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

“It is very important to celebrate this day. Students died for what we take for granted now. However, the strategy that the government used by giving out Social Relief Distress grants was a disaster. People no longer want to get jobs.”

Luqmaan Rawat, 22, Overport

“We have lots of resources in this country, but incompetent leaders are stealing. Our government is always blaming apartheid, but that’s long gone. The EFF, on the side, has been making a lot of promises but there is no implementation. Another big problem is that we have too many old people who do not want to retire, so that the youth can take over. Our government has made the lives of youth very difficult, some have turned to drugs. The country needs stricter laws and punishment for the drug dealers.”

Ethan Nicodemus, 17. Phoenix

“The job market is not very healthy and there are not many options. The youth are struggling to choose the right career path. The youth of 1976 stood up against oppression yet the youth of today remain silent about a lack of opportunities.”

Themba Miya, 25. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

“I do not feel like we should commemorate Youth Day. Most of the youth are unemployed. I am a qualified teacher and I have been volunteering for the past three years. I am the only graduate at home and my family put all their hopes in me. The government has not created enough jobs.”

Zinhle Dlamini, 27, Durban

“I am an unemployed graduate with a degree in human resources. I searched for employment for about five years, without any success until I took another post completely unrelated to what I went to varsity for. Companies want three years’ experience, which is what one doesn’t have. Looking back, going to varsity was a waste of money. If someone were to ask me about going to university, I would tell them to get a driving licence and other skills required by the communities we live in. Our government talks about things but there is no implementation. People are depressed. There are no jobs, no food. Some are resorting to drugs and crime.”

Kwanele Gumede, 18, Durban

“There is too much peer pressure among the youth. We experience different difficult situations at home and some are unable to cope, hence the drugs and the high crime rate. I do not condone crime but some people are really desperate.”

Nosipho Ncwane, 19, Umzinto

“I am a youth league leader in the Umzinto area. The youth are important in growing the economy and sustaining it. The government should be concerned about the job possibilities for the youth. We are frustrated about the lack of job opportunities. Many of us have finished matric but are sitting at home. The youth are distracted by drug abuse and alcohol consumption. They need to get their lives back on track. There needs to be more skills development projects to keep them motivated and give them goals.”

Mhlo Mngadi, 28. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

“Youth Day should be celebrated. We should never forget where we come from nor the students that shed blood for us during the Soweto uprising. However, the government has failed us. There are more job losses than job creations in the country.”

Phumlani Ngwenya, 27. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

“Celebrating Youth Day is not ideal any more because of the high number of unemployed youth. Though I am currently employed, I feel that the government has failed today’s youth. Many graduates are sitting at home.”

Akhona Siphika, 25, Durban

“We have more unemployed graduates sitting at home with their degrees. Some have turned to crime to make ends meet. Our government is corrupt and not much is being done to absorb the youth. It is time for us the youth to stand up do things on our own.”

Maxine Govender, 28, Umzinto

“The youth are stagnant and need to be motivated. I joined a youth group in my area, so we can network and try and find job opportunities even as volunteers. The youth go door to door helping people voluntarily, whether it is cutting overgrown grass or doing errands for the residents. This also builds a trustworthy relationship. There are many matriculants struggling to get jobs. They have to move to the city and industrial areas to benefit from employment, which escalates travelling costs.”

Sifiso Gumede, 24. Picture:Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

“Youth Day is worth celebrating. What the youth of 1976 did is unmatched. As a Mangosuthu University student, I am grateful for all the help and support we get from EFF members. They are catalysts in our registration processes as they attend our needs and help with financial clearance.”

Ndumiso Nkontshane, 27. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

“Celebrating Youth Day is the last thing on my mind. I am a graduate and I have been unemployed since 2018. The internships are for only a select few. The government is not helping.”

Zama Mzobe, 18, Durban

“There is too much corruption. Our ministers are too old for their jobs. They must allow the young blood to take over. The crime rate is alarming. Young people can do a lot of things with their hands, they can start their own businesses, instead of turning to crime and drugs.”

Manqoba Jali, 18. Picture:Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

“Youth Day is worth celebrating. I would not say that the government is doing enough but I do see value in the work of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.”

Shaista Khan, 23, Durban

“The youth of 1976 fought for education to be taught in their home language, in comparison to youth of today who are trending on social media and attacking one another with different opinions. The struggle we face a true challenge where educated youth still behave shallowly. Interventions fail and outreach programmes fail because of social influences. Youth should focus less on social status and appearance and remember the lives that were lost, so that they can be educated to make smart choices. Youth groups should draw youth away from social media and teach them the fundamentals of basic humanity, integrity and self-respect. Guys, grow up to be gentlemen and not abusers. Girls, grow to be independent proud ladies and not victims. The power lies in our youth and all it takes is more guidance from youth organisations as well as parents.“

Mohammed Ibrahim, 18, Overport

“There is a lack of opportunities, and I don’t think our government takes education seriously.”

Daily News

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