Yoshin Leonard (supplied)
I wanted to be fancy and start this letter off with the quoted words, “I have a dream”, but I believe, to a certain extent, that quotation has become a cliché.
Instead, I will start by stating that I am proudly South African. Yes, my country has its faults and, yes, we have our ups and downs. But, at the end of the day, it’s still where I find my passion and desire to grow. It is this pride in my country that has allowed me to have a vision for the future.
Essentially, when one thinks about this question, it’s about the two realms of possibilities: the optimistic one and the pessimistic one. I decided that the best way to address the key question is to focus on the positive and optimistic aspects, while acknowledging the negative and pessimistic ones.
To begin: when I think of the future, I think of the endless possibilities of how we can grow as a people. I think of the ways we can change our thinking, advance our systems, and progress into a more efficient society. The reality is that some current systems of operation obscure the true vision of the future.
We need youth to build a better future
To have a positive and prosperous view of the future, we need to first address the needs and situations of those who will most assuredly run the future. This group of people that I refer to are the youth. If you want to have a different future, one that looks at the power in diversity before the opportunity for oppression, one needs to look at this group of individuals.
Read all News24’s Youth Day essays here.
Undoubtedly, it has always been my belief that what favours and helps a child grow is always remembered in future thinking. Accordingly, if a child is nurtured in an environment that breeds positive thinking, the idea of growth and education that child can, as a result, give back to society positive growth and education. In my vision of the future, I see a completely educated society, where learning opportunities are not savoured for the rich, but are equally provided for every young member of society.
Based on my life journey and experiences, I find myself wanting to see the better tomorrow. I envision a society, in which we eradicate or minimise the problems of poverty, illiteracy and physical immobility. I see a world, where technology is embraced as a tool of invaluable skill and development and not the weapon of humanity aimed at humanity. I believe that technology will be a huge part of the future and, if this “Covid-era” is any indication, if embraced, technology will help humanity to operate better.
The progress achieved
I remember being a child, thinking that the future will be filled with flying cars and holograms. While it has not been exactly that, it has been progressive – it has been changed in beautiful ways. I have seen the liberation of queer pride and the embrace of it in society and the workplace. I have seen the empowerment of women.
The nature of this growth must be nurtured. When I picture the future, I see these domains and so many more being achieved and flourished.
I envision the second freedom of the people. I see a future, where we do not have overcrowded communities, where the danger of not receiving clean water and electricity is a thing of the past, where our mothers and fathers do not stress about the daily income and what they will eat, but rather what the new colour of the walls should be and what type of carpets they want to upgrade to.
There is room for improvement and action here in terms of the way the government and local leaders can contribute to this. The reality is that, if we fix the issues around housing societies and division of community spaces, we address many benefits for future generations.
Getting rid of the ‘us-and-them’ mentality
I also see a future where the idea of the ‘us-them’ mentality, with regard to racial groups, instead becomes the ‘how do we move together as humanity’. I am a strong believer in the empowerment and equality of disadvantaged racial groups. What I will never stand for is empowerment to the level of selfish ego, where one’s self-pride becomes the destruction of another person.
Read all News24’s Youth Day essays here.
Does this happen in modern society? Yes, it does and it’s the reason why we have the forming of hate-groups. Therefore, another thing I see, when I see the future, is hate groups that are unempowered and accountable to the law for their actions.
In conclusion, I see a future that is both positive with all its advancements, but I also acknowledge that it will not always be silver and glittery. There will be ups and downs – but, in the end, I see a humanity that is one people, that remembers the principles of being different, but of one humanity.
A people with a common goal and a people that will flourish. This is my vision for the future, this is my vision for South Africa.
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