Youth unity lost when students bicker and sober-minded leadership is needed to push our struggles forward
The antagonistic posturing of the ANC Youth League and the Young Communist League of South Africa is worrying. We need people who will lead with humility and honour if we are to advance our struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime.
Every time youth league president Collen Maine and Young Communists national secretary Mlukeni Dlelanga address the media, one gets emotionally abused as a member of one of those organisations. The words they utter leave a bitter taste.
Serious problems face the youth of the country. We need leaders who will come up with solutions. This year, we celebrate 40 years since the student uprising of 1976. That generation defined their mission and went all out to attain it. Where are we, in 2016, as the youth of South Africa? What direction are we taking?
Last month, we celebrated Africa Day. We should have leaders who will talk about the unity of the continent and promote solidarity with our fellow Africans. We should make sure that young South Africans are exposed to the rest of the continent and the opportunities there.
We have recently seen youth unrest in Fort Hare, Vuwani and at the University of Johannesburg. We must not leave these issues to the South African Students Congress and the Congress of South African Students to deal with on their own. This is why the Progressive Youth Alliance is critical to our democracy. Youth unemployment is high, and lectures and workshops will not wish this challenge away.
Substance abuse is also a serious problem. Young people are consuming too much alcohol and too many drugs. It can’t be government’s responsibility alone to deal with all the difficulties we face. We need leaders who will help create active, patriotic citizens.
We all need to do some serious reflection on the hardships we young people face. We need to focus on producing knowledge that will build this country as we move forward and contribute to a peaceful and stable continent.
As part of Brics, how do we relate to the youth of China, Russia, Brazil and India? As part of the G20, how do we relate to the youth of Mexico, Argentina and the rest of the G20 countries? How do we relate to young people in the Southern African Development Community?
We need leaders who will offer clear direction on these issues and sober-minded leadership that will apply logic, not emotions.
Rebone Tau is a former youth league national task team member. The opinions expressed here are hers.