May we be careful as a society to not stand in the way of the youth, but instead uplift and stand with them, writes 18-year-old Lisa Asani in Cape Town.
“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.” – Nelson Mandela
When I think of the future, I think of a space where acceptance is the main motto. A place where any child can dream about a desired future and make their dreams into a reality.
I imagine a South Africa with no limitations. Where age, race, gender, disabilities, or sexuality are not factors that prohibit people from achieving their goals. I think of a country that cultivates new innovative ideas and births the greatest minds.
I see the future being an accepting space where instead of focusing on the small things that make us different, we focus on things that unite us and strengthen us. A future where society praises individuality and uniqueness and people are not judged by how well they fit into a social mould. I envision a South Africa where diversity is not just an instilled quota but an instinctive common practice.
Read all News24’s Youth Day essays here.
I think of a future where there are equal education opportunities for all South African children. Where education is not only limited to primary and high school education but extends to tertiary education. I hope for a future where many people will end the cycle of poverty and instead start a series of generational wealth and generational wisdom.
The end to protests
I hope that the age of protesting will end because there will no longer be a need for it, as we join together and finally all respect one another and have fundamental human rights that no one infringes. I hope for a future where children are not limited by the ordinary everyday jobs of being a teacher, nurse, doctor lawyer but dream about careers that are yet to be seen.
I see South Africa raising innovative individuals. Individuals that will pioneer and bring about breakthroughs in the areas of medicine, space, science, and psychology. I see the wealth gap becoming much smaller with a smaller distinction between the rich and the poor. I hope to see a future where mental health issues are taken more seriously and talked about frequently. I foresee a future, depression, and anxiety aren’t prevalent. I see a future where social media is used as a way of connecting us and uplifting one another, and not tearing each other down.
I see a future where we are conscious of what we are doing to this earth and everyone is on board with making good sustainable choices that benefit ecosystems, from big co-operatives to small households. I see a future where we have saved wildlife and where I get to tell my future children about rhinos without them asking me what a rhino looked like and if it is just as mystical as a unicorn.
Read all News24’s Youth Day essays here.
I see a future where we plant more trees than install Wi-Fi routers. A future where load shedding is no longer a problem because 80% of South African households will be utilising reusable energy whether that is solar or wind energy.
I see a future where all South Africans will have access to clean drinking water, where they do not have to travel far to get it. I see a future where we no longer have droughts and where we are conscious of our water usage.
A future where young women are safe
I picture a land where women can walk freely without telling their family members and friends to track them. Where women don’t carry their keys in clenched fists as they walk to their vehicles. Where every young woman is safe in society and can go out into the world without fear. I think of a future where girls all over South Africa have access to sanitary products and where their education is not interrupted due to naturally occurring cycles.
I envision men taking a more active role and engaging in conversations about mental health and human rights. I hope the youth grow up into men who take ownership for their actions, men that take on responsibility, men that can communicate their emotions without the fear of feeling emasculated. I hope to see a society in which men and women stand alongside one another and not in front of the other.
When I think of tomorrow I see that the future I envision is possible because although it feels like we are not going anywhere and things are not improving. The youth and others in society see the same bright future as me and are tirelessly working towards it.
Where we shall have peace and solve many of the problems we face today. May we be careful as a society to not stand in the way of the youth but instead uplift the youth and stand with them, for they are the problem solvers of tomorrow and they will carry the torch and finish what was once started by those before them.
– Asani is a first year Bachelor of Arts in Visual communications student.
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