Shakirah Dramat
Shakirah Dramat
Songezo Mazizi
Songezo Mazizi
Cape Town - A new generation of activists, for whom June 16, 1976 holds little nostalgia, are raising their voices about a different set of challenges. For them the new struggles are about access to education, such as the #FeesMustFall, #RhodesMustFall and #DataMustFall campaigns, as well as issues of crime, unemployment among the youth, and housing.

Songezo Mazizi, 27, who was one the activists taking part in the #FeesMustFall campaign, and now works with high school students in Khayelitsha, said the campaign had raised awareness of the need for young people in poor and rural communities to be given an opportunity to study. “Little has been done and a lot still needs to be done.

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“For example, our universities have introduced a new online system of registration but many young people have no access to computers and the internet,” said Mazizi.

Chumani Maxwele, 33, is best known for his involvement in the #RhodesMustFall and the #FeesMustFall campaigns. He said he understood the struggles facing today’s youth, as he was involved in initiatives to uplift and encourage them. He opposed the idea that the government should give RDP houses to young people. “Young people must not wait for government (to provide) free houses; they must wake up and work for themselves,” said Maxwele.

Chumani Maxwele

“We no longer need education that only gives us certificates, degrees or diplomas - we need an education that gives us skills, and prepares us as the future working class.”

Equal Education chairperson at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Luchulumanco Nanto, 23, said education remained out of reach for countless young people due to the socio-economic status of their parents. “A lot of prospective students remain excluded as their application forms remain unprocessed because (they are) deemed incomplete as no application fee was paid,” said Nanto.

Universities had made it possible to access application forms online, but access to study “is still blocked by the application fee”. “We do acknowledge and applaud institutions that have removed their online fees, such as the University of Johannesburg and the University of Pretoria.”

Luchulumanco Nanto

Shakirah Dramat, the spokesperson of Bo-Kaap Rise, said “one of the struggles today’s youth are facing is the misconception that young people are lazy”.

She was concerned about the lack of housing for young people. “We as young people, including myself, are forced to continue to live in our homes with our parents, because we cannot afford the high rate of rentals, particularly in Cape Town,” she said.


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Cape Argus