a day wasted on the youth

15 June 2008
There is a sort of perpetual dance party on the weekends. Many people remain drunk off of the South African Breweries – remnant of apartheid appeasement of township and settlement peoples – and they blast their old tunes and techno beats to the high heavens and well into the late hours of the night. Is this their escape? Is this the real South Africa? Where the people are, is the real South Africa – not Sandton, Florida, or Alberton – but the townships, the majorities, the people that make South Africa; in their miseries, poverty, diseases, lack of family, absence of hope and utter lose for future dreams attained – the real South Africa resides with these people who have yet to realize and actualize their potential with support from uncorrupt (transparent) organizations that can give them and their children the resources to overcome, but never forget.

16 June 2008
The day rings hollow for the busloads of excited school children and township youth as ANC propaganda is spoken and popular music performed for unattentive throngs of young people with a new freedom and privilege to throw away. Politics is wasteful when it is departed from the masses and cannot compose a meaningful message to the future of the country – the youth!

Township youth are bussed in from all over. Politicians speak of real multiracial unity, but we are the only white people in the entire stadium. Speeches talk of 1976 and the youth movement, but there is no real remembrance or understanding of the past events inspired by youth. It has become less a national holiday and more a day wasted on youth, who are unguided in their development. ANC politicians talk of “all to the polls” but there is no real attempt to register youth and get them active in the governmental process. The youth were there for the pop music show as opposed to the meaning of June 16th 1976, those who died, or what it represented for their country. It is a day that has become a market opportunity for many to sell food, clothes, candies, and anything else. It is a day that has become more of an excuse than anything. An excuse for youth to skip school, to leave home, to do things their parents may not approve of, to hear popular music. An excuse for the government to feign caring about the youth, to spout their slogans, and to give lip service to their ideals. An excuse for many to forget the past and waste the future.

Reflections: 17 July 2009
The day rang hollow for me and my understanding of South Africa history, present, and future. Everything I wrote I still believe, especially now with the World Cup coming ever closer, I can only see it as another wasted opportunity. The government scrambles to hide its poor and failed systems, workers have to strike to get a fair wage, politicians have a field day with what this all means for South Africa, but again it is the masses; the majority of the population that suffers or is forgotten.

“It is best to rely on the freely given support of the people”
Nelson Mandela

With Mandela Day being today, Madiba’s 91st birthday, the world recognizing the imprint that one man left on his country and the entire world community. The problem, much like last year’s Mandela Day, was that it was a publicity event. Yes, it was a time to honor a great man and inspire others to action, but it was as if he was begin used, ushered around to coordinate yet another large money making event. Let’s not forget what Mandela did for so many people, let’s not forget those still in so much need across South Africa, the continent of Africa, and the world.

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