Reflecting on the past, shaping the future

South Africa , Youth

As we remember the courageous young people who stood up for what they believed in on 16 June 1976, we also reflect on the young people of South Africa today. They face their own unique challenges, yet they hold onto their hopes and dreams just as fervently. The bravery and determination shown by the youth of 1976 continue to inspire and resonate, reminding us that the struggle for a better future is an ongoing journey.

Heartlines Community Mobilisation Facilitator Fana Ndhlovu works with many young people across South Africa, sharing the impactful messages of Heartlines’ programmes. He believes that the story of Youth Day is timeless and still holds significant relevance today: “It reminds young people, particularly those in townships, that those who came before us fought for some of the benefits they are freely enjoying today.”

Fana emphasises the importance of recognising the historical context of Youth Day while understanding the current challenges faced by today’s youth. “Our young people are dealing with serious issues such as high levels of unemployment, mental health struggles and exploitation,” he says. Despite these difficulties, he remains optimistic about their potential.

They are the torchbearers of change, carrying forward the dreams of past generations while forging new paths for a brighter future.

The present generation of young people is growing up in a world brimming with technological advancements. “Being born into the world of so much technology is quite exciting,” Fana says. This technological era provides unprecedented opportunities for learning, innovation and connectivity.

Committed to change

The modern youth's awareness of critical issues is also commendable. “Their concern for important issues like global warming and mental health is exciting, as well as their open-mindedness,” Fana adds. These concerns reflect a broader, more inclusive vision for the future, driven by a desire to make meaningful change.

Young people today are not just passive observers; they are active participants in shaping their world. They are driven to see change, whether it’s advocating for environmental sustainability or pushing for better mental health support systems. This proactive approach is a testament to their resilience and determination to build a better society.

Fana believes that one of the pivotal ways for young people to achieve their dreams is through access to education. Education serves as a powerful tool for empowerment, enabling young people to break free from cycles of poverty and inequality. “Quality education is essential,” he says. It equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate and influence the world around them.

Heartlines’ work also emphasises the importance of community support and mentorship in the development of young people. Engaging with communities, providing guidance, and creating safe spaces for dialogue and growth are crucial. These efforts help young people to build confidence, develop leadership skills, and foster a sense of belonging and purpose.

As we honour the legacy of the youth of 1976, we are reminded of the enduring spirit of resilience and hope that characterises South Africa’s young people. They are the torchbearers of change, carrying forward the dreams of past generations while forging new paths for a brighter future. The challenges they face are formidable, but with the right support, opportunities and determination, they are more than capable of overcoming them and achieving their dreams.

Featured

Heartlines

Feature film 'HEARTLINES' accepted to screen at five international film festivals on three continents.

Read more about Feature film 'HEARTLINES' accepted to screen at five international film festivals on three continents.

You may also like

Fathers Matter Message Design Workshop

Focusing on youth is next for Fathers Matter

Unsettling research findings and critical conversations on youth and fatherhood were the talk of the day at the Fathers Matter Youth Message Design Workshop.

Read more about Focusing on youth is next for Fathers Matter
Adobe Stock 120993134

The State of South African Fatherhood: The webinar series

Here are the highlights of Heartlines 4-part webinar series on South African fatherhood. Read more about The State of South African Fatherhood: The webinar series
Heartlines

Taizé youth conference pilgrims learn the power of What’s Your Story? when discussing gender-based-violence, reconciliation and unity

“Youth without faith is a day without sun” – Maria Louise Ramé Read more about Taizé youth conference pilgrims learn the power of What’s Your Story? when discussing gender-based-violence, reconciliation and unity
Heartlines

The Story of Preston Jongbloed

As a young boy growing up in Heideveld on the Cape Flats, Preston Jongbloed dreamed about becoming a professional football player and flying on a plane. Read more about The Story of Preston Jongbloed
Heartlines

Storytelling can change a young person’s life

“Young people love telling stories about themselves but they don’t like being vulnerable.” Nathan Carolissen is a youth pastor at Every Nation, a Cape Town church that has rolled out What’s your Story. He shares about overcoming issues of identity as a young person, and he reflects on how the storytelling process has impacted the lives of the young people in his youth group. Read more about Storytelling can change a young person’s life