What’s your favourite thing about being young?
(Tsepi) Being able to be who I want to be, an expressing being in ‘today’s world’ that I live in. Having a lot of freedom with choice.
(Faith) Though I try my best to stay in the present, my favourite thing about being young is imaging my future and all the milestones.
(Anya) The thing I value the most about being young is our access. Unlike any generation before it, our generation was born into the age of social media and advanced technologies. These things give us access to the most current events and allow us to become influencers in our communities.
(Amonge) In this time we are capable of conceiving the most seemingly outrageous solutions to the world’s problems. Mostly due to the fact that our thoughts are not clouded by bills or intense responsibility. Youth is a lens of possibility and it is one that I wish to wear for as long as I can.
What do you think is the anti-hero of this generation? i.e Apartheid for the 1950s + kids
(Anya) Ignorance; I believe that ignorance and a lack of emotional intelligence is the anti-hero of this generation. While the human race has come a long way, there is still so much hate and negativity in society. People are dying all because of differences in belief; the pulse nightclub shooting was fueled by homophobia. The shooting at Charleston church in 2015, fueled by hatred and racism, and thousands on thousands more like it. Every innocent black man shot on the street, every woman denied an education, every child stripped from their immigrant parents, every survivor denied justice, and every wrongfully incarcerated person of colour are victims of society’s ignorance. In a time where political and social tensions run high, everyone as an opinion. Many tend to shoot beliefs down when they differ from their own. For us to progress as a generation, I believe that we have to learn to be better listeners.
We won’t always agree with someone across the aisle, but I believe that a huge problem in this day in age is that young people refuse to see the world from a different lens every once in a while – to understand why someone thinks or acts in the ways they do. We love to argue. We love to debate, and that war mentality is what holds such hostility and division in our society. Diversity in thinking is such a vital thing, because the more we know the more open-minded we become, and I think it is so important for young people to be able to see the world through as clear a lens as that.
(Nathi) The patriarchal system we’ve allowed to thrive for many centuries.
(Tsepi) Fighting for employment. There’s a whole pool of talent but a scarcity of jobs/opportunities been given to be able to utilise your ability. So employment and a creation of employment.
(Faith) I think the anti-hero of this generation is this administration. I think it’s exposing our country’s most prejudiced side, but I also think that the most influential leaders will rise in opposition.
(Amonge) I think it’s easy to pin-point many deficits in contemporary society. But what I believe is a serious downfall is our uncertainty. Apartheid was a clear and defined opposition. Of course controversy arose with regards to how to go about dismantling it and what the next steps would be from there. The reality that we are still overcoming a scattered aftermath of a supposed rainbow nation. We aren’t certain where we really lie on the scale and thus are unsure of where and what issues to assign our attention to.
Do you want to vote? Why? Why not?
(Anya) I believe that the act of voting as a citizen of any democratic country is extremely important. Voting allows for us to voice our opinions not just on who we want representing us, but on decisions we feel will impact our generation and those that follow. While I am not old enough to vote yet, I’ve always awaited the day I became a legal voter. I believe that the more young people who start making a habit of voting, the better chance we have at gaining stronger representation and becoming more progressive as a nation.
(Tsepi) I voted because I had the privilege in choosing and wanting to play a part in determining how things are run and how things will move forward in the future.
(Faith) I think it’s very important to vote. The first time I cast my ballot, I felt an overwhelming pride in being able to participate in government and advocate for the interests of my community.
(Amonge) I was extremely excited to finally be eligible to cast my vote this year, it truly was a great honor. I certainly felt a civic duty to cast a vote for the representatives that most aligned with my beliefs and objectives for the country. I think that there were too many incredible individuals who lived and died for me to have the right to vote and exercise this privilege of citizenship and so I am excited and honored to continue to take part in it.
What do you think this generation should be doing to combat the growing class divide on the continent?
(Nathi) Increase awareness of classism and it’s subtle yet harmful effects, it’s often viewed as a comparison to i.e. racism, sexism etc, thus weighing little significance, however not realising such controversial topics are fueled by classism to some extent. I personally think most problems we face stem from classism. Fix classism, and the works will filter through other socio-economic factors.
(Trinity) There is an overwhelming increase of gentrification that is rapidly shaping the evident racial disparities in America. As wealthy, (typically White) investors push predominantly Black and marginalised residents out of their neighbourhoods, to create a market for capital gain, they uproot the people by destroying their neighbourhoods. Gentrification translates into displacing long term residents from certain communities by developers raising prices in communities that were once upon a time affordable. The influx of price drives out local residents to more affordable areas because they simply can no longer afford the increase in the cost of living. Unfortunately, it seems as if in America, you are either rich or poor, you either have or you don’t and some of the divide stems from a lack of resources being poured into these communities, but instead of attempting to rebuild them for a financially sound group of individuals. Gentrification has become a widespread epidemic that further keeps Black and marginalised people under the reign of white wealth. What can we do about? We must invest into these same communities and rebuild them by pouring money into the school systems and businesses that allow for the community to thrive, while simultaneously promoting entrepreneurship and recycling the Black dollar in the community.
(Peterson) Well, firstly, since it’s no secret that the rich get richer and poor get poorer due to industrialisation increasing the labour work force furthermore creating a class drift. I believe as the youth we should be able to conscientise ourselves about the dire consequences of capitalist driven continent and a continent which is divided into trade borders. What the youth should start to make people aware of and implement is an Africa without borders where we import and export our African products without trade tariffs, this way it becomes easier transporting goods to all parts of Africa which will further grow that industry creating economic growth within Africa and for Africa only, without having Western European countries retain the massive profits they make from Africa for themselves. In order for this to work, the youth will need to dismantle the western institutionalised corporations based in Africa to exploit her for her Mineral resources. Once we have dismantled that exploitative system introduced by the west and introduce free trade amongst African countries, we moving a step in the right direction. Through our own self developed corporations and companies we are able to sell to the Europeans and retain the huge profits for Africa and the development of societies within Africa. This will drastically reduce the gap, because Africa will have a common purpose which is to develop Africa without the intervention of western powers. But the most difficult part about that, is to conscientise people who have been psychologically enslaved to the western ways.
(Hope) This generation should learn to work together and stop being competitive against one another. In order for us to action change within the African continent this generation has to unlearn competition and relearn unity.
(Nstako) As a generation I feel that it is very important to not run away from our privilege but rather embrace it. In doing so instead of being ashamed of our privilege we will be able to use it to assist people less fortunate than ourselves much more effectively.
(Rumbi) I think that one of the most important things that this generation can do, is to stop leaving our countries biggest problems to our leaders and government only. Politics is too important to just be left up to politicians.
– In essence, this generation actively needs to understand that if there’s certain things that they want to see happen in this world, that they (we) actively need to be a part of the solutions. And to live their lives with the undying guiding belief and principle that we all share in the responsibility to work to make this country and continent better.
(Konke) There’s two perspectives in which one can look at solution for this. The first is either look at the redistribution of wealth that is currently held by those at the top, and the alternative is to build wealth from the bottom. An issue such as this is something which won’t be solved without people knowing exactly the root of the problem and why the problem still persists. So in saying that, I’d say we need to be knowledgeable about the issue at hand. (Particularly here in South Africa, essentially, we need to change our mindset and perception of it all) (The stereotype: We are quick to blame the issues of the past and, in a way, give up because we feel as though we’re at a disadvantage. We need to be braver.)
What is something that you wish next gen doesn’t have to go through?
(Anya) I wish that the next generation wouldn’t have to deal with the overwhelming trend of bullying. While everyone has experienced bullying in their life, the rate in which it is occurring has skyrocketed. It recently became a statistic that “every five days a child under the age of 13 commits suicide due to the repercussions of bullying”. That is absolute madness to me. I wish that children wouldn’t have to grow up worrying about who thought they were different or normal. I wish that growing up, they were surrounded by more people who allowed them to embrace their youthful quirks rather than tell them to cover them with makeup or designer clothes.
(Trinity) I hope that the oppression my generation faces is not continued in any form. We’ve seen that injustices have been passed down and spoon fed to us in different formulas for years. For some, racism has grown more blatant, to others it has become a discreet feeling of hate that lingers in their hometown or is ever present in their community. In my eyes, neither are acceptable. It is tremendously difficult to shoulder the burden of knowing that the place in which you were born, deems you as less than worthy of equal and fair treatment. Although many of us who define ourselves as activists and revolutionaries pull from the oppression to garner a greater appreciation for our ancestry and the strength we derive from, the pride is capable of being achieved without the resistance to racial hate. In the words of Fannie Lou Hamer, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” and I only hope for the next generation to be free of the thick, constant, putrid discrimination and racial bias that we all know too well.
(Paemo) The feeling of being a burden to your own skin tone. The disrespect to hold black skin below others because of a private school, predominantly university and white-ruled work place. To feel as if you cannot hold your traditions, culture, language and personality that you and your skin share. Held behind the fears of it being unmarketable or disfavoured.
(Peterson) The next generation shouldn’t have to go through the colonized education system we are being blindly taught at in institutions. It is through the this ‘education system’ that capitalism manifests and we are mentally enslaved to the western ways and made to believe if we don’t get a western education, then we are not fit to be participants of the economy, so we are led to believe that through employment from white companies we will be active participants in the economy and be able to provide for our loved ones financially.
(Hope) I don’t want the next generation to go through generational curses it is something I am stopping and breaking within my space and preaching about to the youth in my community. I strongly believe we have the strength and ability to break generational curses and be the light of creating platforms that cut these curses by actioning the change of narrative.
(Faith) I hope the next generation does not have to experience the anxiety that comes with being depended upon to solve the problems that the generation before them caused.
(Ntsako) I pray the next generation of young black people do not have to go through the identity crisis that so many of us born free black South Africans went through.
(Rumbi) This is particularly for the young black population, alongside other marginalized groups in society. I wish that they do not have to have their entire existence defined and dictated by social justice issues; more specifically having to spend so much of their time and existence, having to combat unjust systems, defend themselves and who they are, as well as having to educate privileged groups of people about their own oppression. I sincerely hope that in the future, there is an increased sense of social accountability, particularly amongst the privileged.
(Konke) I wish that the greater population had access to a better quality of education. Being an individual who was fortunate enough to have attended an established private school, I wish more people were able to have the same or similar experience.
Information on participants
- Sibongakonke Kubheka, 19, BSc Maths of Finance, University of Witswatersrand, South Africa.
- Khensani Khoza, 19, Perfomance Arts Student at New York Film Academy; Media Personality & Philanthropist, South Africa
- Siyamthanda Hobongwana, 15, student at Victoria Girls High School, South Africa
- Amukelani Mnisi, 19, BSocSci in Sociology and Politics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Ntsako Molala, 18, LLB, University of Cape Town, Founder of the What Is Ntsako Saying Blog, South Africa
- Faith Florez, 19, Bachelor of Arts in English, University of Southern California, Founder of The Latina Legacy Foundation, Creator of the Calor App, United States.
- Rumbidzai Vambe, 18, Bachelor of Social Science LLB, University of Cape Town. Passionate youth social justice activist, South Africa
- Tsepiso Rakhosi Pitse, 20, University of Witwatersrand, Bachelor of Commerce in Finance, Investment and Management, South Africa
- Paemo Malindi Nyembe, 19, Environmental Engineering Student, Witwatersrand University
- Trinity Simone, 16, CEO and Owner of Black Vibe Tribe, Founder of The Youth Will Be All Write, United States of America
- Malesed Hope Shabangu, 19, Film & Television at City Varsity, An International commissioner for GirlGuides SA and a member of SISTERS WORKING IN FILM & TELEVISION (SWIFT), South Africa
- Amara Leggett, 18, Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Saint Leo University, President & Owner, A Young Legend, United States of America.
- Nkosinathi Ngcobo, 20, Bachelor of Accounting Sciences, University of Witwatersrand
- Anya Dillard, 16, Advanced Honors Institute for Humanities at West Orange Highschool, CEO of The Next Gen Come Up, New Jersey, United States of America
- Amonge Sinxoto, 18, Bachelor of Social Sciences in International Relations and Politics, University of Witwatersrand, Founder Blackboard Africa, South Africa
- Peterson Vuyisile Radasi, 18, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and International Relations, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, Rotary Youth Empowerment Group