Forty years later: Forty faces of today’s youth

June 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

(Daar is ‘n volledige Afrikaanse weergawe van hierdie blog beskikbaar, klik hier.)

What do today’s young people look like, forty years after Soweto Day? I looked into my camera lens for answers. What follows is a very personal look at our future leaders.

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Lenina Parks, a model

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Nina Cronjé, a student of the social sciences

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Lufuno Tshivhase, a forensic scientist

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Jan-Hendrik Pretorius, a masterful orator

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Busi Zwane, yet another impressive orator

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Abongili Deli, a conductor. She won the indigenous-language category, at a national level, when she conducted her high school choir at the finals of ATKV Applous. Here she is receiving her certificate from Japie Gouws, the group executive of the ATKV.

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Mahalia Matshete, a wine maker

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Cliffordene Norton, a publisher at LAPA

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Valerie March, a microbiologist

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Marakit. She is a refugee from the Philippines, now living in the Netherlands. She sings about longing and the plight of other refugees. We have lots of refugees in this country, but I am not allowed to show their faces. That is why I have selected this eighteen-year old to be the face of the young refugee.

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Phophi, a friend and B.Com-student

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Whaden Johannes, a singer and finalist in ATKV Crescendo

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My daughter, a student in education

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My son, already a leader

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Tree planters at Lückhoff High School near Stellenbosch

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A young girl from the Durbanville Children’s Home who shall not be named; many leaders come from there, but we are often not allowed to show their faces.

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A young resident of Jamestown; who knows how much potential lies hidden behind those eyes?

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A leaner from Tshiamo Primary School in Vergenoeg, near Kimberley

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Another  leaner from Tshiamo Primary School in Vergenoeg;  I like this picture, but why should it be the girls who automatically assume the role of cleaners?

Not everything is hunky-dory

Just before Youth Day, I received a statement from the ATKV (text to be viewed in the Afrikaans version of the blog). It said that, while we have come a very long way, we need to find answers to the dilemmas facing the youth of 2016.

They are correct.

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I took this picture of a young gangster in Atlantis – with his permission of course. On his hand the word THUG has been tattooed. (Read more here.)

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There are far too many kids in our country looking after kids.

She raises her fists

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The youth of our country gets impatient with the frequent references to things from times before they were born. They want to make a contribution without being shackled to the past, said the ATKV’s statement.

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We saw that when young people interrupted shows at the US Woordfees.

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Not all protests are negative, however.

These learners staged a protest at an ATKV event. It was a very positive protest.

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They were from the Monument Park High School.  Their protest against child abuse was very positive and totally integrated into the day’s activities.

Create opportunities

The ATKV creates opportunities for young people to speak out; then old folks need to shut up.

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At their recent AGM, the ATKV created a number of break-away sessions led by the youth branches. The older folks could request to speak, and they did, but they also had to listen.

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It strikes me, though, how frequently the younger generation uses art to community to us, and to challenge us. Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof from Stellenbosch won ATKV-Tienertoneel (a nation-wide theatre competition) with a piece about how they viewed school.

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Randfontein High challenged audiences with a brutal piece about things that happen in teenage correctional facilities. They were met with standing ovations by young and old.

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The ATKV quite rightly says that the more than 20 million young people in our country are telling the older generations: No longer about us, but with us.

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Jan van Riebeeck High’s multimedia show

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No longer about us, but with us.

Listen to us.

Even this young riel dancer in her traditional garb is challenging the existing order. The young ones are changing the riel, they are modernising it.

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The riel changes and our young dancers come back from Los Angeles where they have won gold – beating sixty other countries to be crowned world champions.

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I see it everywhere. Just look at this picture I took at the Franschhoek Literary Festival. The demeanour of these three girls simply says: You are not gonna tell us what to think.



It is true. When I do not know, I ask a youngster.

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They have the knowledge.

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And they know how to apply it.


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I end with a few sport pics.

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These are not well-known people. Well, not yet!

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Watch this space, but more importantly: Observe our young ones. We can learn so much from them.

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