Almost 40 years since young black students swarmed the streets of many townships of South Africa, from Soweto to Langa. June 16 is a day to honour and commemorate the fallen youth who fought tirelessly against Bantu Education. Thousands of students risked their lives for what they believed in.
The struggle has changed, and the youth of today has its own struggles and tribulations. We are a different youth, we have our own struggles and I think it is sad that our struggles are not realised or celebrated. Many students at Cape Peninsula University of Technology share these sentiments and believe that it is time to start chanting new songs, not songs of freedom but songs of triumph. We might not be fighting against the apartheid regime but we are fighting against many other forces. Some of us live in shacks, we have no proper sanitation and the lack of service delivery from government is an everyday struggle, but we are pushing on. I remember how infuriating watching Cutting Edge a few weeks ago when the topic for the evening was the issue of "portable" toilets in squatter camps. The lack of dignity that comes with this "solution" is alarming. Can you imagine a man, a father, head of the home having to go to the toilet infront of his children, in his one room home? where is the digninty? where is the sense of worth? Is it even considered? It is a wonder.
While the youth of today may know and understand the tragedy of June 16, 1976, we feel strongly about the lack of appreciation for our everyday struggles. We spend the day drinking and going about our lives, because we feel a sense of disconnect and therefore don’t see the need to mourn and bury our head in the sand forever.
The youth has changed, and so has the struggle, today’s youth wants to be heard and celebrated as people of character and many possibilities.