File picture: Gcina Ndwalane/African News Agency (ANA)

For Youth Day we asked first-year journalism students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology to write for us.

Here's what Lisalee Solomons had to say:

Being born in 1994 and therefore now known as a "born free", I would have thought that the advent of  democracy in our country would have brought with it far more opportunities than challenges for the  youth. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. The youth of South Africa are today in crisis. We are in desperate need of change, particularly when it comes to  job opportunities. But the list goes on and on.

I have been fortunate enough to have found work immediately after matriculating in 2012. My goal was  always to get into university and study journalism. One would think that after obtaining a bachelor's pass in matric,  and three distinctions, you would be eligible to gain access to university.

Yet my  journey to enter university has been long, depressing and daunting. I have been told  my marks were not good enough and that I would have to return to school to write supplementary exams in order to qualify for university entrance. All this,  only to be declined again for 6 consecutive years! To this day I still  do not know why I have been declined so many times, but I have discovered that many other students have experienced the same fate. 

Today I am finally a journalism student, after applying every year since 2012. We as the youth of South  Africa face plenty of challenges; apart from entrance to university. Unemployment is a major  factor facing young people today. Being deprived of an education is not what Nelson Mandela had in mind for a  democratic South Africa. 

* Speak up like the youth of ‘76 by tweeting your opinions and challenges to the new @GovernmentZA's Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with  Disabilities: Minister Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane using #speakup76 @IOL or write to IOL at [email protected]