Being young in South Africa is kind of a bittersweet moment. Bittersweet in the sense that many youngsters are not equipping themselves for the future. Many do not realise that in no less than thirty years, most of us will be in ministerial positions, being CEOs, slowly taking control of the economic wealth and raising families. They need to realise that their consequences will die if they do not change their lives for the better, but there is hope. There are those that have realised that a certain generation is slowly being replaced by a younger one.
There are those who have taken up the responsibility of building a bright future not only for themselves but for their future generations. Those young people have also given me the zeal to yearn for a better as a young person in South Africa. I was born in 1992, during the times of the referendum, the imminent start of the township wars and the creation of the co. za internet domain. My siblings were already approaching teendom and on the verge of becoming some of the first black learners at previously white high schools. They were the first to experience a multi-racial atmosphere in its infancy.Order now
For years they would tell me about all their experiences, and I would listen intently waiting on my opportunity to be a teenager. Fast forward to 2007; I was already here. Grade 8 was the start of a new life for me, and in those five glorious years I made sure that I partake in whatever activity possible. That gave me the confidence to trust my own skills because in whatever I took part in; I succeeded. From sports to literature, I excelled to the best of my abilities, but sometimes in life you stumble at your highest point.
One of the biggest ills of being young in South Africa is the over-abundance of opportunities, resources and chances; which is often accompanied by procrastination and not having the will and drive to pursue your dreams. I experienced that before, because I used to tell myself that, “I am young and I have all the time in the world to get my life together. ” Boy was I wrong! I have learned that my peers home and abroad have been living their dreams lives from a young age. They have fully embraced their youth and taken handfuls from the pot of success, but they have also worked hard for their spoils.
Reading their stories has somewhat given my spirit a new lease on life. Quite a few prominent young people today in this country have overcome situations where the ordinary individual would not have been strong enough to endure. I live in the Vaal; an area of untapped talent which is yearning for investment. The Vaal has a very rich history, up there with the likes of Soweto. The youth of this region are immensely talented but are in desperate need of facilities that would make their lives better.
Most are budding artists, like my group of friends but we are mostly forced to travel to the city of gold in pursue of those dreams. I have an exciting picture in my head; an indelible mark that one day my region will rise and claim its stake amongst those celebrated areas. My wish is for the youth of the Vaal Triangle to come together and turn the area into cultural hub of many diverse, interactive and positively uplifting sub-culture trends. For now, Braamfontein is in forefront of propelling the independent artist to the greater heights.
The area is synonymous with the Internet generation, people who have placed their talent on the Web and are reaching more and more individuals through their works. When I first travelled to Braam in 2012, I was in awe of the vibrant energy circulating through the area. The area had once again come alive and most areas too (Maboneng and Newtown). Gone are those days when Johannesburg was wrought with rampant crime and urban decay. The collapse of apartheid caused fear amongst most white residents who abandoned their apartments and shops.
This in turn turned Hillbrow another suburbs into crime capitals, but from the concrete cracks a rose began to grow. Urban regeneration was born and thanks to visionary young adults, they have given the city a chance at a new era. Today I am proud to say that I am no longer afraid of being in the city because slowly but surely, the streets are changing. Young adults are taking charge and turn the deficit around. These same people are also employing their peers and helping to turn the tide against high employment rates amongst the youth.
As a young person, I can comfortably say that we can all make it, just by changing our mind-set. I have a new train of thought and every time I picture myself, I see a young individual on the brink of greatness. Democracy ushered in many opportunistic schemes aimed at making our lives. They have made education so accessible and through student funding, most of my peers have been table to further their education. The chances are there for the taking, all we have to do is to apply ourselves and work hard. South Africa is now ‘in the hands’ of the youth.
We have to embrace our past, understand it and use it as a tool; a tool for correcting those social ills of the past. I have chosen to arm myself with knowledge and to grab those changes with both hands. I have been afforded the chance of growing up and the township and in an urban area, and ever since I moved my life changed. I began to yearn for a better life and set of living. I now longer fear taking chances because I know success or failure are imminent. I have truly embraced my youth and I will soon be living proof that being youth in South Africa, has boundless possibilities.