Young people express the significance of Youth Day

This weekend, South Africa is celebrating Youth Day, and Sunday World went out to the streets to speak to young individuals about what they think about the public holiday.

Dakalo Maliehe, 27, from Northcliff, Johannesburg, said he is currently employed in the hospitality industry.

“I am employed, but the hospitality industry is far from what I studied. So in a way, I regard myself as somebody who is unemployed. Because I do not have a job that I studied for,” said Maliehe. 

Maliehe said Youth Day is a day to remember the sacrifices of the students who fought for our freedom and equality in education.

“Unemployment is a huge concern. I am lucky to have a part-time job. But many of my friends are struggling to find work.”

Jobs, affordable education, and healthcare

He said some of the challenges that he is facing are those of finding a job, affordable education, and healthcare.

“I believe as the South African youth, we are resilient and innovative. But we need more opportunities and support. I am involved in some activism, but I think we need to do more to hold our leaders accountable.”

27-year-old Sisipho Zimela, from Morningside in Sandton, said she is currently permanently employed.

“To me the significance of Youth Day is just a reminder of the power that the youth have when they come together. It is also a reminder that, as a collective, we are greater than what we think. And we can do a lot together,” said Zimela.

Youth are actively taking up spaces

Zimela added that the high employment rate is a devastating factor. This is because most people are educated and they are sitting at home with their qualifications.

“Unemployment plays a huge factor in the challenges that the youth are facing in improving their lives. Without employment, you can’t escape things like poverty. And it makes it difficult to be a contributing member of society when you are unemployed.”

“The youth are actively taking up spaces. And I think they could be doing more. But because of a lack of interest, they are not active in politics or activism.”

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