THE YOUTH CAN CHANGE THE WORLD

As a parent, we influence our children’s lives, from the values we instil in them, to the way in which they see the world. As much of an influence as we have over their lives, there is no doubt that a child’s actions not only impactstheir future, but the future ofour society as a whole. The youth are the future. The youth can change the world. 

Youth Day recognises our Youth
On the 16th of June, South Africa commemorates the courageous students who led the protest known as the Soweto Uprising in 1976, which led to the eventual liberation of our country from the apartheid regime. Youth Day gives us a chance to acknowledge how someone so young can be a catalyst for such a big change. 
Our Own Local Hero
It was a cold and cloudy Winter’s day when 10 000 students mobilised to fight against Bantu Education. Hector Pieterson wasn't meant to be in the protest. He was so young. But the iconic image of 13-year-old Pieterson is galvanised in our history forever. He was not the first or only child to be shot, but his image profoundly changed South African history, as Sam Nzima’s photo of him being carried while his sister ran alongside crying, shocked the world. His name will forever be remembered in history. 
The Youth Inspire their Elders
South Africa isn't the only country with a history of suffering and insecurity.
Rosa Parks is well-known as a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement in 1950s USA. You know that Parks refused to give up her seat on a racially divided bus but before her there was Claudette Colvin. Colvin challenged segregation laws and stood up for her constitutional right at the young age of 15, nine months before Parks did. 
In Colvin’s own words: “One of them said to the driver in a very angry tone, “Who is it?” The motorman pointed at me. I heard him say, “That’s nothing new…I’ve had trouble with that ‘thing’ before.” He called me a “thing.” They came to me and stood over me and said, “Aren't you going to get up?” I said, “No, sir.” He shouted “Get up” again. I started crying, but I felt even more defiant. I kept saying over and over, in my high-pitched voice, “It’s my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fair, it’s my constitutional right!””
A year later, Colvin was one of four plaintiffs in theBrowder v. Gayle case, which found that segregation in Montgomery’s bus system was unconstitutional.While her efforts to end segregation may not be widely recognised, there is no doubt that her courageous efforts went on to inspire the widely publicised efforts of Rosa Parks. And to change history forever. 
A New Age Hero
The Youth of today has digitalization and social media to help their noble causes and catalyse change worldwide. A clear example of this is when 15-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg decided to skip school and protest in front of the Swedish Parliament. Fast forward a couple of years and Thunberg has inspired millions of people, not only children, but adults alike, including world leaders. 
Fridays for Future, the climate movement started by Thunberg involved millions of young people from around the world striking every Friday in the name of their futures. In 2019, Thunberg addressed world leaders at the United Nations, even going head to head in a gentle spat against Donald Trump on Twitter. Even when physical protests ended, Thunberg’s actions proceeded to inspire thousands of young activists around the world, all fighting together for one cause, the saving of planet Earth. 
Youth for our Future
These young heroes all have something in common: they believed in a better future. Pieterson risked his life to stand up for the education he believed he deserved. Colvin inspired the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for equality. Thunberg used one simple protest to garner the attention of the world and inspire millions to make changes for the future of our planet. The Youth, so often considered powerless, being told what to do and how to act by society, actually have such courage. They inspire us to create change. The future lies in their hands. Today we are choosing to commemorate their power and the belief we have in them to create a future we all will be proud to be a part of. 

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