This year’s Youth Day commemoration marks 39 years since the June 16, 1976 uprising. And although the youth of 2015 have a different set of their own stresses to deal with such as xenophobia, unemployment, drugs, teen pregnancies and HIV/Aids, to name a few one thing that has remained constant with the youth of then and now is education.
As recently also depicted through social media of Sam Nzima’s photograph of Hector Pieterson being carried away after been shot by the police in events surrounding June 16, 1976. Television station Channel O re-created the photo and has the body of Pieterson replaced by an academic cap and gown.
Although the picture received some backlash with some stating it ‘trivialises the loss of life on that historic day’ others stated that it symbolises the ‘struggle’ and ‘shows how far we’ve come and what still needs to be done’.
As 21 years later into our democracy our education system has dwindled, and the re-created photograph seems to be a sign of history repeating itself with our countries education considered to be among the worst in the world.
This has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth more importantly the youth as reported in (The Times newspaper June 17 edition) teenagers at a symposium hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation in Sophiatown’s Christ the King Cathedral urged the government to reconsider his priorities of policies such as child support grants, and that education should be free instead of giving the youth social grants which are viewed as ‘hand-outs’ that only literally breed a lazy generation’.
And if there’s anything that the youth of 76 proved is that a system that cannot provide quality education cannot assist ‘Youth to Move South Africa Forward’ as was the theme for this year’s Youth Day celebrations.