Welcome to June.

The emphasis of this winter month is on the youth of South Africa. However, TSA believes that the focus of this month needs to be shifted.

This month centers around the 16th of June, the day of the Soweto Uprisings. It was a momentous day that changed the political landscape of South Africa and proved that the youth were willing to stand up against a flawed system.

As vital as it is to remember and acknowledge such important historical events, we cannot allow it to shroud what is happening now. The month of June should not only be focused on the victories of the youth rising in the past.

Let’s shift the focus slightly. We must remember to learn from and be inspired by past events but we cannot just stop there. We want the focus to be on the present. We need to make Youth Month about uplifting the youth of today. Young people, let’s change the habit of passive remembrance by actively empowering ourselves. And people of South Africa, let’s recognise that the youth of today needs to be empowered because we are the future of this country.

Let’s create a strong youth that will lead our country to even greater things. The youth will have to overcome the problems of the present and future South Africa. Make that positive change.

In times of great turbulence in our country, we need to give a voice to the youth. We need to ensure that we are actively participating in social, political, scientific and other innovations and conversations. The youth is the future. This sentence signifies the importance of the youth. We are the hope of our communities but we could also be the destruction. Empowering the youth will create a forum which enables stories to be told, voices to be heard, people to be recognised and progressive attitudes to be formed. We need to enrich, build and appreciate one another. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We cannot build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

We need to remove the rhetoric of ‘us and them’. Campaigns such as FeesMustFall are being ridiculed by 40 year old parents who have their lives in order and do not know what it is like to be a student today. The older generations should not be ridiculing everything that the youth does and the youth should not feel resentment towards older generations. The future belongs to the world and the youth of today are going to make it.

Instead of ridiculing, complaining about and not understanding young people, everyone should try and contribute to positive change that benefits the youth. That way, we build a better future for all people. That way, we create the possibility of a future that was influenced by many previous generations coming together.

This month should be about of focusing on child-headed households, girls who have to give up their education due to pregnancy or having their periods. This month should focus on educating and empowering the youth who want to start businesses, who want to get an education despite their disadvantage.

As we have said before,  it is time that the youth of today is labelled as brave, legendary and strong. Opening discussions, tackling problems and grappling with the situation of others are ways of achieving this goal. Speaking of the youth as “they were” has to and will be changed to “they are, we are, they will always be”.  It is about bettering the youth of today to change the world of tomorrow.