Education, rather than political connections, should be the ultimate goal for youth who hope to ensure their freedom.
This was the message delivered by Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane yesterday, during an event held at the Hector Pietersen Memorial, in Soweto, in honour of the victims of the June 16, 1976 student uprising.
Maimane visited the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, joined by the party’s Gauteng provincial leader John Moodey and national spokesperson Refiloe Ntsekhe, to pay respects to Hector Pieterson and Thili Mabaso who were shot and killed during the ’76 march against Afrikaans as the medium of instruction.
He said they, along with others who had died in the march had left a legacy, that education should be accessible to all, and also contributed to the freedom of all South Africans today.
However, Maimane added that although the medium of instruction was no longer Afrikaans and that children could go to school, the dream of the youth of ’76 has still not been realised.
He said children must be able to complete school without dropping out, and be able to find work so that they can one day be free.
“It cannot be that two-thirds of the people who are unemployed are young people… we can’t live in a society where young people drop out of school because they are pregnant, because often they fall prey to alcohol. We have to ensure that socially our young people have a future to hope for.”
He also called for an end to the “culture of blessers”, schools with no teachers and the promotion of political connections in order to advance economically.
“We have got to build a society upon which we produce role models so we can say “we will be free one day” when our young people are doctors, lawyers, teachers.
“And so, over this Youth Day let us fight for opportunities for young people, let us ensure that our young people are able to find jobs and let’s prepare them for a future that is coming so that in jobs that are to come, our young people are prepared.”