The aim of Youth Day, which falls on June 16th, is to celebrate victory and freedom from the fight against oppression. It is a day to reflect on the young school children who lost their lives in a protest for better education. Youth Day is a day to remember those that died to bring freedom for the majority.
When the African National Congress (ANC), ruling party of South Africa, flaunt luxurious lifestyles around poor communities, what message does this send to the people living in poverty? Some will argue that there is nothing wrong with the ANC members driving luxurious cars, wearing designer brands and sporting a Rolex watch. Quickly, members are reminded of what the ANC have done for the poor people; building RDP houses, supplying electricity and water and giving grants to help sustain families. People will say that nobody has ever done something on a grand scale for the people as the ANC have, and remain proud supporters of the liberation movement.
Some youngsters will say the youth of today only knows the luxury of cars, tender money laundering, parties, and disrespect. Some will say the ANC need to bring radical programs for the youth of today, something that will help sustain and develop an active community. Some say people cannot eat when branding is pushed to the fore. South Africa Youth Day is not about Nkandla; it is an outcry of a black child, a child of the earth, an outcry to close the loopholes in education. To understand that education is the key to a brighter future and a democratic tomorrow is crucial for South Africa.
Some will say the South Africa Youth Day (June 16) celebration is a sad state of affairs. The government should prioritize urgent matters, instead of celebrating against the poor communities who do not have a job, bread to eat, or a home to keep warm in. Would this be a betrayal if the government does not share a story that compels the urgency of dramatic change in this democratic country?
Perhaps a solid reminder of what happens when government fails to address the poverty, inequality, and unemployment is the story of four black children. In 2011, four children (aged nine, seven, six and two) left the poor informal settlement of Verdwaal, in the North West Province of South Africa, in search of food. The children traveled through rugged sand roads and open fields in the excruciating heat but never found food to eat. A few days later, police recovered the tiny lifeless bodies of all four children and described the horrifying scene of the decomposed bodies of skin and bone only. In a democratic society, this should never have happened; it is an unacceptable situation, and the government must be compelled to move faster with transformation and avoid such scandalous reports.
It is the stories of young people who have lost lives when all they should have had was a home, food and security. It is always the unexpected, and there is no inspiration for young children who have lost opportunities to transform a bitter past into a bright future. South African can achieve a better future for its citizens, but only when the government understands the needs of the people and works for a corrupt free society. The country and people are divided, and the constitution that is the binding future of each is threatened; until the challenge of the diverse nation is recognized, nothing will change. The division by color will not bring people together; this is a challenge, one not even the government can overcome, when laws are implemented to divide races on a grander scale than apartheid throughout South Africa.
Unfortunately, change from all different cultures would not work when corruption, nepotism, and inequality continue to push through the barriers of democracy, hindering freedom for all. As Youth Day is celebrated, in remembrance of innocent children dying at the hands of police in Soweto 1976, the government could deliver on promises made in exchange for votes. South Africa Youth Day, on June 16, is not about freedom from apartheid. It is all about freedom from corruption.
Opinion by Laura Oneale
ANC.org – ANC today
Photo Courtesy of Robert Cutts Wikimedia/Flickr Page – Public Domain License