Written by Brooke Bettis
This generation of people is slowly but surely making their causes known and they will fight for it. Youth is our future and it’s important to understand what issues they are tackling and how we can help.
Talk about the issues. Let’s dive into some of the issues that the youth are tackling. In broad terms, they are tackling Racism, employment, and environmental awareness. First let’s break down the top issue, employment more so unemployment. This is a huge obstacle for the Youth in South Africa. Unemployment rates have been going up every year and it’s affecting the mental and physical health of young people. There is a mountain of pressure to go on the standard path. Go to school, try your hardest, get to university and then get a good-paying job.
This pressure can come from parents, other older people in your town, and society in general. You are expected to get a job that requires X amount of years in experience by the age of 23. Because most 23-year-olds don’t have that now and are looking at a year of getting rejection letters and that puts a toll on a person. Then you look and notice there are thousands of people feeling the same thing and it makes you depressed and guilty. If you are lucky and you do get a job now you have another issue, you have to pay to get to your job, the food you eat, the clothes on your back, and debt from your education.
In South Africa, like many other places, it’s hard to maintain a lifestyle let alone flourish in it as a youth in the “Real World ”. Because of fees, tuition, and just day-to-day expenses families are already racking up debt by the time their children grow and get into the job field and then they go down the same path. This circle of debt, depression, and guilt has to stop.
Some youth are taking action and are creating job positions. By youth, by youth. There has been a surge of small businesses and other organizations This problem boils down to the others. The older generations and their willingness to help us younger people get into the workforce and to be able to maintain any lifestyle in South Africa. There is a need for reforming the workforce, the requirements, and the sustainability of these positions (wages, insurance, availability). Some youth has taken it upon themselves to start organizations that help the youth gain experience, job matching, and financial support. This issue is still at an all-time high but the youth are trying their hardest to help themselves and one another lives an accessible life.
In terms of racism, it is an important issue that truly doesn’t look like it will end soon but our youth are taking action for equality. Protests are a major tool the youth are using to show government systems that their rights and they themselves are and this remains true regarding racial issues. Anything from unjust laws to Police brutality the youth is making it known they are a unified front for the future. The youth today have more access to each other because of social media so movements, protests, and sit-ins are bigger and making more. Change happens!
Last but certainly not least we come to climate change and environmental issues. Our Earth is dying because of our past and present contributions to pollution, waste, destruction, and sadly so much more. The youth are the future and they are fighting for it. In this new age of Sustainability and eco-friendly products, the youth are pushing our world to be able to stand for future youth.
Some have developed off-grid lives that have an immense effect on the environment. Creating a self-sufficient cycle that leaves little to no waste and improves their carbon footprint. Others are starting to integrate “green” products and methods into their everyday life. In South Africa, we also have programs like the South African Youth Climate Action Plan and other youth-led organizations that are protesting, having seminars, and training either one another to help the Earth and they are making a large impact that will grow even more.
South Africa’s youth reflects the youth in the world. They are taking a stand to make the earth and the lives we live on it better. The youth are our future and it’s starting to look bright.