Black pupils take to the streets to protest the quality of their education on June 16, 1976. Picture: Independent Media Archives
DURBAN - TODAY, June 16, South Africa honours its young people, remembering especially 42 years ago on June 16, 1976 when dozens of schoolchildren were shot by police during a protest in Soweto against a ruling enforcing national curriculum education to be taught in Afrikaans as well as English.

Youth Day commemorations take place across the country today, reflecting back on South Africa’s complicated and painful past, and proactively working towards improving the lives of our youth for the future.

This week, Durban Youth Radio (DYR) chatted to young people, and people working closely with young people, about what Youth Day means to them. Independent on Saturday asked a few more questions:

Huven Moodley, 10

HUVEN MOODLEY, 10
HUVEN MOODLEY, 10.

KZN Youth Orchestra percussion player from Reddam House School in uMhlanga

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

There are many more opportunities for us youngsters. We live in a better environment for us to pursue the things we enjoy, like music, arts and sports, without any barriers of the past.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

Many children are being bullied in schools. Also, many children do not take up hobbies and are only focused on studies or spend too much time on games or TV.

What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

Stay away from drugs and crime by getting involved in sports, music or any hobby. Music keeps me busy.

Refeloa Zililo, 26, sailing Instructor for Sail Africa

Refeloa Zililo, 26, sailing Instructor for Sail Africa
Refeloa Zililo, 26, sailing Instructor for Sail Africa

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

Our different cultures, diversity and our democracy. Our beautiful country and the fact that there is a world of opportunities.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

There are so many young people out there sitting with degrees but have no jobs and then there are those who expect everything and have become lazy.

What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

Giving other young people a role by inspiring them to join you.

Holly Rey, 22, AfroElectro House music performer, youth literacy campaigner and chess ambassador

Holly Rey, 22, AfroElectro House music performer, youth literacy campaigner and chess ambassador
Holly Rey, 22, AfroElectro House music performer, youth literacy campaigner and chess ambassador

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

We are the country’s biggest asset. If we tap into our own personal strengths and abilities and develop an entrepreneurial spirit, then the possibilities are limitless.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

Education. Schools are under-resourced, over-crowded and youth are facing tremendous challenges both in and out of school. Sadly, even those who achieve a pass rate are often ill-prepared for university or college.

What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

Start where you are with what you have. You can have a major impact on your local community by doing small projects that don’t need financial resources but rather giving of your time and energy.

Jake Savage, 12, Aspiring actor

Jake Savage, 12, Aspiring actor
Jake Savage, 12, Aspiring actor

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

You have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of cultures. And from this we can learn so much about people’s differences, but also that we have so much in common. I love it that I have good friends from all cultures.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

We have to be the ones who lead SA’s future. This is quite scary as SA does not seem in a very good space right now with so much crime and corruption. It is up to us youth to fix that.

What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle wherever possible. Each bottle cap that that is put into the recycling is saving a bird from eating it.

Mpilo Nzimande, 27, Actor/performer

Mpilo Nzimande, 27, Actor/performer
Mpilo Nzimande, 27, Actor/performer

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

The greatest thing is that we are growing up in a democratic country, where there are endless possibilities.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

I believe that the biggest challenge is finding one’s identity within the working realm. And of course, that also means finding decent employment.

What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

I would say the one thing would be, focusing on improving education and making it more accessible to all.

Aviwe Annita Klaas, 24, Greater Durban YMCA, Youth Co-Ordinator

Aviwe Annita Klaas, 24, Greater Durban YMCA, Youth Co-Ordinator
Aviwe Annita Klaas, 24, Greater Durban YMCA, Youth Co-Ordinator

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

The greatest thing about being a South African youth today, is the opportunities that I have, the choices that I am allowed to make and also the freedom to express myself.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

The challenge is that we are not all informed. Coming from a very small town near Mthatha, I feel like people who are more informed are pressured or feel they have to come and look for work in the cities.

What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

To be positive thinkers, the young people need to believe in themselves and to have an identity.

Tiashan Moodley, 14, KZN Youth Orchestra concert master/violin player from Clifton School

Tiashan Moodley, 14, KZN Youth Orchestra concert master/violin player from Clifton School
Tiashan Moodley, 14, KZN Youth Orchestra concert master/violin player from Clifton School

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

Technology today provides everyone including the youth with access to unlimited information and knowledge which enables us to engage in and achieve so much more in all areas of life.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

Constant pressure to perform in everything you do from academic performance, to sport, music and extra murals activities. Having fun, loving what you do as well as getting the balance right is most important.

What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

Most youngsters have dreams of having professional occupations. However, the arts offers a lot to society. The modern world is highly stressed, many people are ill or depressed, and music is needed as a form of relaxation.

Akhona Makhathini , 19, student

Akhona Makhathini , 19, student
Akhona Makhathini , 19, student

Formerly living on the street, Akhona has been working with uMthombo Street Children SA to become rehabilitated and is back home and attending school.

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

Access to multiracial schools, free education and freedom of speech because we want our voices to be heard and share ideas.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

Body-shaming, the use of drugs, teenage pregnancy and obesity.

What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

With education you can conquer the world. Talent can also make a great impact in the youth, but needs a platform to showcase it so they can be seek guidance and mentorship.

Christopher Cole, 18, Intern Producer on the DYR Breakfast Show

Christopher Cole, 18, Intern Producer on the DYR Breakfast Show
Christopher Cole, 18, Intern Producer on the DYR Breakfast Show

What is the greatest thing about being a young person in SA today?

Appreciating the sense of freedom which young people enjoy here. We have an instant public voice with which to express ourselves thanks to the accessibility of social media.

What is the single biggest challenge of being a young person in SA today?

Those of us who are active on social media are constantly in the public eye, it means we are sometimes afraid of doing things in case we are judged.What one thing can young people do to make the world a better place?

A “can-do” attitude and belief that if you work hard for what you want in life, there is a really good chance that you’ll achieve it.