Celebrating Youth Day in the shadow of Covid

South Africans celebrated Youth Day yesterday, Wednesday June 16, in commemoration of the 1976 Soweto uprising. YOLANDE DU PREEZ asked youth in the valley how they felt about the day in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Linda Mqambeli, 17, a matric at Simon’s Town School, said: “Our youth is educated even though some have not had a formal education. They know wrong from right. Ever since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have not been able to see our family and friends and we missed out on school and work. There are youth sitting with Bachelor’s degrees while unemployment climbs. This has resulted in a lack of discipline and it has become hard to apply what is right when it does not result in anything.To grow South Africa, we need more education, more knowledge and more people to stand together and fight for South Africa and its youth, as we are the change and the change starts with us.”
Zoe Lee, 22, of Ocean View, said: “I think it’s time that our youth take a stand. We need our youth to be in power. Our parents are getting older, and it’s our duty to make South Africa a better place. We are the future. We can most definitely achieve this if we as the youth work together. As a youth I would like to encourage all the other youth that are of age to vote this year. We need to be part of the decision making in this country. So go and register to vote on Saturday and Sunday June 17 and 18. This is our opportunity to make a change. And we can start by doing so in our very own community. We have to find ways to improve our own community and to get involved. We have to be the change.”
Takunda Mundawarwo, 18, a UCT student, said: “Through the many difficulties and challenges it has brought, the Covid-19 pandemic has created a need for innovation in the way we do things we have always done as a community. We as the youth can collaborate with institutions and change the way we are learning – making it more suitable for the current conditions we are facing but also potentially changing the future of education. The pandemic has also presented motivation for us as the youth to become more active in our communities as we are capable of volunteering and taking the places of those who are more at risk than we are. Covid-19 has brought a period of change in which the youth can exercise innovation in pursuit of growing South Africa. All this can be achieved though individuals taking initiative and getting involved where their skills and ideas allow so that together we continue to move South Africa forward.”