Downloading the # Voice of SA Youth

Sikhulule Ngxowa

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A middle-class pedant, an animal-loving KZN coconut and a hardcore kasi girl search for that elusive creature: The voice of SA youth.

Writer :Ndu Ngcobo, Jes Edgson, Litsoanelo Zwane

I’m on the way to submit an assignment. I’m hoping for an A .I did it in 10 minutes.  As I walk to the bus I rummage around my Cancer Association bag for a cigarette. The ride into town is a documentary of poverty (rows of poorly built shacks along the one side of the road) that turns into an advert for the good life (beautiful apartment blocks where bachelor flats cost more than 3-bedroom houses). Under the backdrop of Cape Town’s mountain range: that’s where I want to be in the next three years. I’ll worry about how later.

For now, I am a cynic who believes in positivity. I tweet that we rely too heavily on technology. I insist on privacy, especially on Facebook. I am an activist, I forwarded that Kony link. I want change, if only someone would start it. I want to be successful; I have no idea at what. I am an individual and don’t associate myself with brands. I only buy Apple. I crave freedom but need security. I believe in equality but want a Mercedes. I am the lost generation… well, that’s what the adults tell me anyway. But who are we really? This question is what got us started on this mission: to find out who our generation is, to discover our collective voice.

Full Disclosure

Sitting in corners where our particular viewpoints were shared, our brainstorm for this story was an intense two-hour session. Discussing this idea of “the voice of SA youth”, the only interruptions were to get up and make more coffee (and subsequent trips to the bathroom). Unintentionally clustering with those who shared our backgrounds, our contrasting profiles became prominent .Team- members from the suburbs on the left, those from eKasi (townships) on the right. Our “natural” positioning alone showed us that we had to establish what we as a team have in common. Simply, it is that we all have a voice and want to be heard. A starting point.

We are divided, but how big is this divide? We have platforms and opportunities that were absent for our forefathers to interact cross-culturally, so why don’t we act? We three, the writers of this story, are from different backgrounds. Jes, a middle-class white girl who loves to throw around words like “indoctrination” and always wins an argument. Litsoanelo, born and bred in Gugulethu, with a deep love for sitting on her neighbourhood street corner snacking on amagwinya (vetkoek). And Ndu, a private school board coconut from the Natal Midlands who cries every time someone eats KFC due to her support of an imalrights.So how do a middle-class pedant, an animal-loving coconut and a hardcore kasi girl even begin to start writing about the voice of SA youth when we ourselves are so different? How do we relate to each other’s issues when we seemingly aren’t bothered by the same things?

It was during one of our “balcony chats” (aka, smoke break, where we rant and rave about anything and everything) that we discovered just how much we do relate to each other. We might come from different backgrounds and have experienced different schooling systems, but we’re drawn together by common issues.