Scores of young people in Makhaza braved the freezing weather to attend the June 16 Youth Day commemoration hosted by Abakhanyisi Christian Movement in partnership with youth arts group, Ubuhle Bendalo, at Youth Centre hall.
The event was aimed at educating the youth about the importance of June 16 and recognising the heroic actions of the youth of 1976.
Excitement, laughter and applause reverberated through the walls of the youth centre as budding artists, musicians, actors and actresses exhibited their talents to mark the day.
Organiser Zikisile Mbunje told Vukani that the event was aimed at providing a platform to the youth of Makhaza to speak up about the current issues they are grappling with.
The event also hoped to empower the youth with knowledge, skills and ways they can make informed decisions about their future.
Mr Mbunje said the main message of the day was to urge the youth to use education as a way to better their lives and fight the high levels of gangsterism and crime in the country.
“We have taken upon our selves the task of derailing the youth of Makhaza from being lured to gangsterism and criminal activities. We appeal to them to make wise decisions about the future and they should not allow poverty to be a stumbling block in turning their dreams into reality, “ he said.
Makhaza resident Vivian Mokhosoa said parents need to develop a strong relationship with their children and guide them in the right direction.
But, she said, the youth also need to change their bad behaviour and be obedient to their parents if they want to be successful.
She said the main challenge facing the current youth is lack of discipline and respect for their parents.
She said parents also need to find better ways of administering discipline and allow their children to talk openly about issues they are battling with.
“In the olden days, children were deprived many opportunities to express themselves about things that bothered them. We need to use such events to open our ears and hearts to them so that they can talk freely about perturbing issues they are facing in order to mould them into becoming better citizens of this country. The youth should learn a thing or two from the generation of 1976,” she said.
Ward councillor Danile Khatshwa said the youth of today need to grab the opportunities they have been given and create a better future for themselves.
He said the youth of 1976 sacrificed their lives in order for the new generation to attain a quality and a better education.
He described the youth of 1976 as being an embodiment of bravery and urged the current youth to imitate their actions in defeating the scourge of gangsterism and high fees charged by the institutions of high learning.
“We know that the high unemployment rate is one of the challenges the youth is battling with. I urge the youth to start their own businesses to alleviate poverty and plough back into their communities to uplift them and become a better society, “ Mr Khatshwa said.