DECOLOURING YOUTH DAY

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Youth Day is approaching.
 
South Africa is buzzing with activity as individuals and organisations prepare to launch the youth focused content and
events they have planned for months.
 
As a content producer, I want to be a part of this national story. My voice wants to be heard along with everybody else
that is making an effort to produce something special for Youth Day. I too want to be a part of this narrative and celebrate.
 
This desire settles comfortably in my mind, and I begin to draft my ideas and compile items related to the theme at hand.
While working on my celebratory piece, I come across a tweet that shakes my perspective. It is an advert promoting one
of the many events taking place in commemoration of Youth Month/Day. The advert, in true inspirational and celebratory
style, features two young people of different races looking jolly.
 
The person that shared this post expresses her disappointment, bringing my attention to the adverts’ utterly poor representation
of June 16. My idea to create an entertaining feature is now under threat by the reality that has just struck me. A reality
I am struggling to sweep under the carpet with my colour.
 
I can’t do this.
 
While admitting to the fact that my content holds very little value, I still can’t ignore my genuine desire to implement
it somehow. My heart is sold, so I decide to flirt with a plan B, figuring out a way to carry out my task without shunning
the significance of Youth Day.
 
An alternative idea finally comes to me, while working on it my eye catches a piece of editorial written by S’thembile Cele.
It is an interview with Seth Mazibuko, one of the student activists of 1976, in it Mazibuko says:  “I am in this state
on the 40th anniversary. I haven’t forgiven yet. I still feel that the story of 1976 and the lives lost in
1976 have just been reduced to fun in a stadium- where people can come to get tenders, drink liquor and listen to Chomee.
It is a cheap life that died in 1976.”
 
Following this read, my perspective is in motion once again. I have a brutally honest conversation with myself and decide
once and for all that I do not want to be a part of this colourful narrative.
 
I can’t do this.
 
Through oppressive laws, hope was absent from classrooms reserved for the black youth. In the fight for a better life,
their black bodies perished. Freedom was on the other side of loaded guns. Parents buried their children.
 
I can’t do this.
 
I put myself in the shoes of the generation that experienced this terror, thinking of how nauseating it must be to witness
sugar coated commemorations every single year.
 
I can’t do this.
 
The words that I planned to construct abandon me; I’m in a tense staring game with truth. I decide that my light hearted
feature on the youth can happen on another day, perhaps another month all together.  Now is not the time for it.
 
The tragedy of ’76 is too loud right now, a dark memory that I do not wish to bury in colour.
 
Because these lives were not cheap at all.
 
I’m not doing this.
 
 
 

*Image externally sourced*

 
 

Published: 2016-06-15 - 09:22:44


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