KZN activists are walking to Pretoria to highlight youth issues. Historic Walk Facebook
This festive season a group of 32 young activists from KwaZulu-Natal won’t be relaxing at home: they’ve embarked on a gruelling, nearly 500km walk to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The walk, which started at the Isandlwana battlefield site near Nquthu on Tuesday, is to highlight the plight of poor young people and that of a jailed #FeesMustFall activist.

Leading the walk is Bonginkosi Khanyile, a #FeesMustFall activist and former Durban University of Technology student who also served time in jail for his part in the protests.

He said they were calling for the release of Khaya Cekeshe from prison.

“Before we even go to the Union Buildings, we will start at Leeuwkop Prison, because we want the head of that prison to also write in support of Khaya’s release,” he said.

Cekeshe was sentenced in December last year for his part in the October 2016 protests by Wits University students, although he was not a student at the institution.

He had been caught on a CCTV camera trying to set alight a police car.

Khanyile believes his early release is still possible.

“We started this walk at Isandlwana because that is the only site where we defeated the English army. We believe we can win this one too,” he said.

The group has already experienced setbacks after travelling only 66 of the 480km journey.

“Some have swollen feet, others have caught a cold because of the rain, but we soldier on. We will arrive at the Union Buildings. We took this walk to show our frustration with the government, and to show that we are willing to sacrifice and suffer for our ideas,” said Khanyile.

He said the memorandum they would deliver would also raise issues affecting the youth, such as unemployment among graduates.

“There is no merry Christmas if you are in absolute poverty and there can be no happy New Year when you are trapped in debt. We want the government to revisit its policies for the benefit of young people, because after us there might come a generation that will no longer send petitions and embark on these walks,” he said.

Khanyile said no political party was backing the walk and the participants were unemployed and needed donations. “Any support we get will be appreciated. We are also appealing for supplies. We need things like takkies. The weather is also a bit harsh and with all the storms, we would appreciate a tent and perhaps sleeping bags,” he said.

Over the past two days, the group has had to rely on the generosity of strangers, churches and well-wishers.

Khanyile said the group had slept in churches on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

The group can be contacted at 0663115336 or via the @historicwalk Twitter handle.