youth in South Africa

August 10, 2007

I spent some time with one of my friends yesterday. It’s someone I’ve met 5 years ago at a camp, she is 5 years younger than I am, and since then we have been taking part in each others journeys in some of the most interesting ways. It has been one of those very interesting journeys where we started out in a kind of mentoring relationship (she was in a team of which I was a leader), but journeyed to the point where it cannot be described as anything other than being friends, with no obvious role division.

We haven’t been seeing each other that often, about 3-4 times a year, when I’m visiting my home-town. So yesterday we were talking again, and we started taling politics, talking about the situation in South Africa, but especially talking about the perception of people of their age (about 18) on the situation in South Africa.

So, here is some things that I learned:

  • There is a general fear that they will struggle to get jobs, and their kids even more
  • They feel that their parents, who was part of Apartheid, is not carrying any of the consequences, but that they will be carrying the consequences (affirmative action)
  • They fear that affirmative action will just be getting worse, having a more serious effect on white people
  • They fear that we will see an ethnical war in South Africa, I’m not really sure if they fear it will be started by younger black leaders, or by white youth from the “De La Rey”-generation
  • They don’t really like Afrikaner history, and feel no real connection to it, but love the Afrikaans language, their Afrikaner identity are based on their Afrikaans language and not Afrikaner history (Listen to Klopjag – Sal nie langer jammer sê nie)
  • Sad thing… they fear the future

OK, this was simply the perception of one person on what those currently finishing school are thinking, or maybe more important, what they are percieving because of experiences. Obviously what I heard might be wrong, and many might have other perceptions. So I would like to hear from anyone, what are you hearing from the generation now finishing school. And if you are part of that generation, I would really like to hear from you !

6 Responses to “youth in South Africa”

  1. aventer Says:

    The job issue once agian…I fear a second Apartheid…only that it will be swopped around this time…I fear that democracy will fall to the ground, that more people will go to bed hungry at night, that our leaders will be corrupted by power.

    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely

  2. R.R. Says:

    (plz excuze the bad spelling!)Although I’m not 18 or in that age group I’m also afraid of all of the above. . . But my opinion is that it wont happen if we keep positive and don’t give up on everything and just accept defeat. I know, I know, its hard and not always posible, but trying DOES help. I think the youth of today is too influenced by media and too easely thrown off corse by stupid remarks and comments made by the media. My ‘quick fix’: stay positive and go for your dreams no matter what others say! (all the above is my own opinion)

  3. NadineSmit Says:

    This is something I often think about! How many teenagers stare into the stone wall built by what their parents say, how many have already given up the fight, even if there wasn’t even a fight to begin with. One day apartheid will die, finally die, because all the people who are keeping it alive are going to die aswell. Everyday in my school I talk to my friends, and from time to time we do discuss politics, not intensively, but we do. And although we differ from race or culture, our views don’t differ like our parents’ views do. We can work together, and in that fact I see a bright future for South Africa. Yeah, the fact that I’m an optimistic person does help…

    I’ve always seen it this way, my generation’s grandparents still respect each other in the ways that existed during apartheid, they don’t blame each other nearly as much as my generation’s parents do. To a point where a year ago, a lady working at a till in Piet Retief randomly told my grandmother that according to her, South Africa was in a better state during apartheid. I don’t necessarily agree on that point, I wasn’t there and therefore don’t think I want to have an opinion. Apartheid could have been a mistake, and I think it was to a point, but what came after apartheid, and how apartheid effects us today, is an even worse mistake!

    Imagine a SA being populated by all the races who grew up with each other, who learned to accept each other from an early age and who can work together. Ok so it’s not all moonshine and roses, a lot of parents still transfer their feelings and opinions to their children who blindly follow the same route. They want to fight in a war that long since doesn’t exist anymore!!! We should be working for a better future, a brand new future, not working for history to repeat itself.

    I do realise that our government is far from perfect and leaves a lot to be desired, there is definitily room for improvement, and for those of you that thought that it only happens in SA, guess again!! Our Brazilian exchange student expressed to me how she and her family and friends feel about their government. All over the world power is given to men, men who might not deserve it and who are only human, mistakes and all. How can perfection be expected if the one expecting it isn’t even perfect, those of you who are perfect, be my guest, you can be the first to throw a stone, because you alone should have the right to do so!!! The youth of SA do infact have a future, and even of we have to work really hard to make the best of it, then so be it. It makes it all the more worth it, don’t you think?!!! Who would want something that just falls into your lap.

    I don’t think there exists a “De La Rey” generation, a confused generation yes, one that is being pulled in different directions by different opinions, influences, like the media, and authorities. And of course by our own opinions and dreams and plans!! Yes, we do have those too, not that all of us know how to express them though. I’m sad to say that I don’t think racism will ever completely end.. It’s in the nature of many people to discriminate or not accept differences, to think they are better because of skin colour or culture or language or knowledge or experience or circumstances or money or social standing or religion or sex or location or moral values or you name it. Never will everyone accept everyone, not all actions will be accepted by all. To a point we can bridge most differences by working at them and respecting them. But differences will always exist, point blank…

    In our future there will certainly be differences, but not differences that are totaly unbridgeable, the youth of today should stand together proudly and claim the country that belongs to us too, especially to us, the future!!! I say stand aside and watch us stay positive, and never give up! Watch us work together and make SA an overall beter place! It might not happen now or in the immediate future just yet, but believe me when I say it is going to happen, and the best time to start it is now, not later, now!! Waiting for better days isn’t going to get us anywhere, I for one want to get somewhere, being nowhere is just boring and lame, hehe! I have a future in SA because I choose to have one, the choice is yours!! It always has been, and I’m not going to let anyone convince me otherwise!! I know that my future is in Good Hands, The Best Hands.. I don’t need to worry, I need to have faith!!

    About my Afrikaner identity, the past is what made the present, but that’s all it has done, it didn’t make me and it certainly didn’t decide my future. According to me, we should respect out ancestors, they did have a lot to do with today’s present, and they are what ended in the making of a beautiful country, but I for one am more than ready to live my out present, to anticipate and enjoy my own future and to create my own past, a past that I hope I can one day be proud of, that I can proudly share with my children and grandchildren…

    Black youth is to a point just as fed up with affirmative action as the white youth is. It’s not a great feeling to know that you for example you got a job because of your skin colour or sex. You want to know you got a job because you are the best and thet all the hard work paid off. These are my opinions, and the opinions of some of my friends and some of the people I have discussed these issues with, but mostly they are my opinions and interpretations… There where we are destined to be and to live and to work one day, there we will be, live and work one day…

    Have faith South Africa, all will be well, Stay positive, keep on working for the future you want, in the end the work will pay off and you will be rewarded with the best future imagineable…

    Optimistic at heart and soul and mind till the end . . .

  4. bvwyngaard Says:

    I don’t think I fear a second apartheid. I don’t think the black people can be as heartless as the Afrikaner was long ago. I Think Slowly but surely relationships between whites and coloreds are being rebuilt. I Think that in the future, and probably after my death, and maybe even after the death of my children one day, the race issue will be sorted out. And I hope that will happen without to many negatives, like the sacrifices people like Nelson Mandela or Steve Biko made during Apartheid

    Sadly, racism is still a fact. I am going to retell a story I told on cobus’ other blog, emergingsa. One day we had a fun run at school. The money was going to a boy who lost his one leg about 2 years ago. Me and my friends stood in a circle and talked, when suddenly we heard a guy talking loudly from a nearby group. He said the they must all start singing de la rey. Then they all have the power to win the blacks. He used more crude language. But I think it is slowly changing. In my circle of friends the is a colored guy, and the fact that his skin is darker than the res of ours’, doesn’t make a difference to the up to 12 people standing together every break at school. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen everywhere.

    South Africa was regrowing the last 13 years, since 1994. Yes, apartheid changed us for the worse, but I think that when South Africa is a much more mature, we would start understanding what true equallity means

  5. cobus Says:

    Thanx for all the opinions and great comments. Would love to hear some more. Looks like there is quite a difference of opinion.

    Maybe another question. What do you think is the sources young people have… the factors forming their opinions? Nadine mentioned parents. What else?

    Nadine, I think a blog might be a good idea:-)

  6. […] post was originally created as a comment on a post, Youth in South Africa. Since then I have decided to create my own blog, with this as my first […]

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