My South Africa!

“My experience today was to touch a white person, speak to an Indian: May this day never end!” said Mpanza Siphokuhle from Tshana High School.

To many, this might come as a shock, shameful and thought provoking. But to Mpanza and 107 fellow learners from 5 public high schools from Mandeni Circuit, KwaZulu-Natal Province this states their need as the youth of South Africa to develop public space where South Africans develop a common language, make a collective contribution to understand one another and build a collective meaning about our Rainbow Nation.

Attached to this notion of the Rainbow Nation, our youth wishes that all the BBBEE codes stop referring to them as the “disadvantaged communities” but as South Africans to develop a sense of belonging with pride.

Under the Sondela Dialogue theme - In a state of economic turmoil, as citizens are we going to carry on blaming the “other” – government, foreigners, unemployment, poverty and one another – or take responsibility creating a platform to treat self and others with dignity and engage together as Valued Citizens to live the values, responsibilities and rights our Constitution provides us with? Learners expressed countless views. Learners strongly condemned inequality regarding provision of basic education in the country, arguing that they are constantly being reminded how basic education is a right for all, but the delivery of the same right not being spread equally amongst the youth.

Learners acknowledged that South Africa is faced with many challenges, in the same breath 71.4% of our youth believe that as the “Born Free” generation, it is their duty to free themselves from poverty by focusing on their education. Making sense of our Constitution through Sondela Dialogue, participatory and transformative programme, we opened a new channel of communication and engagements between government, corporate and our youth thanks to the Foundation for Human Rights and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

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