Youth Day:- “We are capable of being leaders”



 Sbongile Mhleleni from Unit 1 Montshioa originally from Kuruman in the Northern Cape Province is a 3rd year Bachelor of Business Administration student at the University of Free State. “Being a young person to me means; knowing who I am, my identity, the rules I stand for and my integrity as an Individual, my personality and humanity. What defines me is having free access to education, freedom of speech, independence, the ability to fight for my rights, the ability to have a say in the affairs of the country”. Picture SRT Photography

By Ramotswedi Rammutla

Mahikeng: Youth month is set as a time to reflect on the role of young people in the society. Their voices are loud their aspirations aggressive and sometimes radical. It is this youth who have waged an offensive about free education who continue to challenge and speak truth to power. Like those of 1976 they are courageous and mis-understood. The Maftownian spoke to young people about what the month and day means to them.

“Youth day to me means that I need to take education serious as they say it’s a key to success fight for my future and never let any opportunity that will make my life better pass me by. Live my life fully with full responsibility of my actions. We as the youth get to celebrate being born free, our achievements as young people, the opportunity to get together and voice out our troubles and come up with solutions. We have a chance to challenge and unite against anything that keeps us back even speaking to our government and show them that we are the youth and we are capable of being leaders”  said Sbongile Mhleleni a 22 year old Free State University Student.

“Youth month to me means expressing ourselves as a fearless youth (generation) because we are the ones eating the fruits of June 16 1976 and we find inspiration from our leaders like Tsietsi Mashinini and Seth Mazibuko who fought for the rights of black students; however there is no achievement as to what happened in 16 June 1976 because until today students still fight for free education (fees must fall) and financial exclusion” added Keamogetse Tau (22) second year NWU Student.

The young people feel that they are mostly misunderstood because of their inborn cultures that stem from them being born free with different challenges.

“Older people don’t understand that the youth of today is far different from past youth, because now there are rights and so much freedom than before. We do what we want, not what our parents want. We make our own decisions. We are millenniums, we are growing up in different time than them and things are different today for us. We live in a country with a struggling economy, we are jobless, we have skills but we can’t apply or make use of them” adds Mhleleni.

“They don’t understand that us youth need love and support from them as our parents more than anything. Because we fall into depression and submit ourselves to drugs when we feel their absence. Our lives are dependent on technology, our youth struggles to find jobs but there are resources ” concluded Tau.


Keamogetse Tau (22), a second year Tourism Management student at the North West University, NWU Mafikeng campus.  “Youth day means acknowledging what heroes like Hector Peterson did for us; What defines me is my personality, I’m a very enthusiastic person, extrovert, I am adventurous and more into music. In 5 years time I see myself as a clothing brand ambassador”.

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