Another June 16.

By Edlin Chuene

2017, the 16th of June; morning and I am lying in bed after laying her brains and body numb. My mind then wondered somewhere amidst the skipped pillow talk into the possibilities of another sun-up sun-down and suddenly the date took me aback to memories of young me in a tie and grey fennel’s; having yet a naivety in my zeal for what is honorable. Lying there warm, almost cuddled, I found myself going back to the timeless work of Sam Nzima during the 1976 youth uprising of the dead Hector in Mbuyisa Makhubu’s arms and then further wondering how the years of school uniforms and actual commemorations and speeches on this day have gone by all too quickly.

The days of June 16 filled with generations of native South Africans in school uniforms and publicized debates based on resolving youth struggles seem to be fading like the pages of decades-old outworn books from the Collector’s Treasury. The fiery passion of youth still burns within me and many others but I could never relate personally to the homage paid to the heroes and heroines of this day over 40 decades ago; I do not really know those struggles. My struggle was never that of oppressive learning conditions or police hippos patrolling the neighborhood – I have rather had money and pursuing a societal esteem assume my greatest desires; the opportunities afforded by the unfortunate events of 16 June 1976 allowed me that much.

Reenactment of June 16 in 2017 with Yanga Maweni and Jay-jay Kolobe
Photo by @benmoyo

The historic day has now become just another excuse to drink up a storm the night before, party and then spend half the day recovering from the hangover while prepping for night-time to go at it again. It has become just another calendar date that bloggers can hashtag for greater reach or the poster title for most recreational institutions to attract a bigger turn out. None of these activities have anything to do with why this day became a national holiday and yet only a few are bothered. I am not one to point fingers from a higher moral stand point because I am no different; what I do know is that our struggles are more tied to an identity drawn from a place of weakness; a history we had no say in writing; we suffer the most from lousy service delivery and a misrepresentation in all the offices of authority in the land. According to StatSA’s mid-year population estimate; those who are below the age of 35 years constitute about 66% of the total population in South Africa and this statistic is in no way represented within any government institution.

Reenactment of a June 16 in 2017.
Photo by @benmoyo; Edit by @1454_

At Blacknation Media we envision a generation of youngsters who would want to take to parliament on such a day to address what they feel are grievances that the government and the cronies in power are falling to do right by. We envision a woke generation that enforces the processes afforded by democracy instead of stand by dreaming or hoping for a change. A generation of such a mindset would birth many more Quinton Ndlozi’s  to challenge the self-indulging cadres currently running the show. We have been told that the youth is too reckless or too irresponsible but then again it was the recklessness of youth that lead to the revolt in ’76 or the “don’t care” attitude in the cadres that led them to leave for Cuba to better prepare to run the country when it is won back from the oppressor

I would like to believe that this is a vision silently shared by many young people including the voiceless and faceless millions in the townships and villages that are left to suffer among many other struggles; poverty and unemployment; these conditions are then unfairly worsened by the actions of others. Protests are clearly not working as most of us wish they would; drastic measures are needed for these are drastic changes we want in effect.

When culminating my thoughts on that glorious morning waiting for my lady to finally feel I deserve breakfast for my efforts I thought of wondering of to meet Sam to ask when he really thinks the great change shall eventually come or what he thinks it would take to enforce it.