No to Youth Day, yes to youth issues
For many, June 16 commemorates the brave struggle of young black South Africans who stood up against the enforcement of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools. But how do Afrikaner organisations feel about Youth Day and what it represents 36 years later?
The Mail & Guardian spoke to right-wing Afrikaner groups Suidlanders, and Die Voortrekkers; a non-political cultural movement empowering young Afrikaners to become positive citizens – about the role of Afrikaner youth in the new democratic South Africa.
Suidlanders are currently preparing for a state of anarchy.
Their mandate is to prepare for an emergency plan in the event of full scale genocide on their people.
Remembering June 16 is “of no real value” to some Afrikaner organisations today, yet the struggle against youth unemployment has seen them find common ground with other youth organisations.
The unemployment rate according to Statistics SA’s report of the first quarter of 2012 is 25.2%. The DA youth League has come out in full support of the youth wage subsidy as an ideal policy to help with the unemployment crisis.
This policy is said to promote job creation by subsidising businesses that employ more youth.
COSATU has opposed the idea of a youth wage subsidy citing an increase in a two-tiered labour system developing as a result of hiring more young people.
They also say that education must first be improved before government looks at other option of eradicating youth employment.
While Die Voortrekkers hope to contribute to a society that will no longer be “bound by the shackles of the past”, Suidlanders believe there is no way the current system will improve.
“We all expect total anarchy to break out, which has become evident through increasing unemployment, poverty, riots, polarisation, hate speech; especially among prominent figures in the country, as well as continuous deterioration of services and the inability of the police and military to stabilise unrest in the country”.
ANC Yeath League deputy president Ronald Lamola recently claimed that Afriforum is “a defender of white privilege” and has now been charged with intimidation by the organisation.
Furthermore, service delivery protests have increased this year with the most recent one taking place in Zandspruit on the West Rand this past week over RDP houses that residents have still not received from government.
“Youth day is of no value to us and it is not part of the Afrikaner history, it is a black struggle”.
Afrikaner youth contributing to the political landscape is also of no relevance, Suidlanders said.
“The only way Afrikaans-speaking youth will be allowed in mostly black political parties, organisations or unions would be if they are used for their expertise and kept on an advisory level behind the scenes,” the organisation said.
“Most Afrikaans youth hold a conservative view and would therefore not easily participate in the current political landscape. Liberal political views could be accommodated by mixed race political parties – like the DA”.
Die Voortrekkers believe “Afrikaners are part of the rainbow nation, and that every part of this rainbow is a bearer of light in its own way”.
“Afrikaners in today’s society still have immense contributions to make to a better community, but we are often overlooked because of the stigma of a past history attached to the modern Afrikaner, a history that Afrikaners today were not part of.
“The youth of this country must be regarded as an important asset to society – it must take responsibility for its actions rather than making excuses for their inability to manage their current situation properly.”
Die Voortrekkers have little confidence in the youth wage subsidy and its ability to eradicate unemployment.
“As long as our society is riddled with structural unemployment, there is little that any policy will able to achieve since the true nature of unemployment is not being addressed and dealt with in a constructive way,” it said.