The Youth of 2017 and beyond must emulate the youth of 1976

This year South Africa will be celebrating the 41st anniversary of the activist struggle of young people as led by the youth of 1976. The youth of 1976 had defined themselves as pioneers, change drivers and solution providers who would not allow even death itself to stand in their way. These gallant young martyrs stood up for the youth of 2017 to rise, it is sad that some perished as a result of their selfless pursuit to achieve a better future for the youth of 1976.

Today varying youth constituencies in the country continue to benefit greatly from the commitment undertaken by the youth of 1976. As activators we need to undertake an absolute process of unconditional soul searching and reflect on where we are, how we got here and why we continue to be. This reflection must speak directly to the grand dreams the warrior girls and boys of 1976 had wished for us, we must do so bearing in mind that the baton we carry in our hands of ensuring a successful future for the many generations of young people who will come after us is guaranteed.

ACTIVATE! as a programme solely dedicated to the upliftment and empowerment of young people has enabled and created a platform for young people across the country to drive change in their communities. Chief amongst the defined character of this social change which must directly benefit the community is encapsulated in the strategy and direction these organisation has pledged allegiance to, in taking the activate work forward.

Activators as agents for change must be everywhere, they must have the capacity to influence, provoke, connect and inspire their peers as those who led the 1976 uprisings did to their own peers. Everyday Activators seek to do the most for their own communities and at times this commitment by Activators goes unnoticed. Activators at most continue despite the many challenges and obstacles they come across. Activators as influencers in their communities must forever remain unflinching in their determination to do what is good for their communities, Activators must forever provoke interests from the members of their communities to tag them along in their journey to effect necessary changes in their communities. 

The hour of the change driver can no longer be postponed, that moment has arrived NOW.  Activators as young people are at the forefront of great opportunities to be frontline agents for change, these very crucial opportunities brought upon through the sacrifices made by the youth of 1976 cannot be taken for granted. Through our actions as Activators and agents for change we must be able to influence the national discourse on what the state of the nation in South Africa should take shape, this influence we must be able to easily impart to our communities through our commissions and ommisions. An ideal citizen that can find favour with the community that can easily be identified as a change driver shall easily connect her/his community for a greater good and purpose.

We take great pride as agents for change that an official ACTIVATE! facebook page has more than 5000 people whilst the unofficial facebook page has almost the same number of Activators who have been part of the formal ACTIVATE! programme. This statistics must confirm one reality that for every Activator there are almost two people outside the network interested in the work we do. This serves as confirmation enough that as Activators we have a greater responsibility to ensure we connect more with the outside world.

The connection Activators must expand to the outside world must go beyond the reach of our own communities, today the name of Hector Peterson is known nationally. Hector Peterson went beyond the call of his community demands to answer the national call of driving change across the country. Today as the youth of 2017 like the those who came before us in 1976 must take forward our work of driving change inspired by the adopted themes in the network of INFLUENCE -CONNECT – PROVOKE-INSPIRE.

The hour of the change driver is NOW, we must not postpone it. As we celebrate the youth month may we find inspiration from the youth of 1976, to achieve the grand dream of the youth of 1976 to uplift and empower our communities and preserve the future of the generation of young people who will come after us.

Themba Vryman is an activate change driver, a social activist and writes in his personal capacity.

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